green pea pulao

This simple green pea pulao, matar pulao, features rice simmered in stock with bursts of flavour from the green peas.

My grandmother recorded this recipe as coming from Rajasthan, but it is common throughout India, particularly where there was a Mughal influence.

Given its simplicity, it is an ideal accompaniment to many of the meat or poultry recipes in this book. It is not much harder to prepare than a simple rice dish and adds no more cooking time.

For this recipe, we suggest using sella rice, a parboiled basmati rice. It is readily available from Indian grocers.

You could well replace the peas with almost any single vegetable of choice, provided you consider the size, texture, and density of the vegetable. Carrot, diced into pea-sized pieces, works well. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, do not. If you want to mix vegetables then you are heading down the path of a vegetable pulao, a more complex dish.

This is a simple family dish. Easily prepared and suitable for most meals.

the recipe

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  • wide pan with lid



  • Wash the sella rice in several changes of water to remove excess starch. Cover the rice with luke-warm water and soak for 30 minutes.
  • Heat a pan over medium-low heat. Add the oil, and when hot, add the cloves, black peppercorns, cassia, cardamom pods and the bay leaf. Fry for about one minute, until the spices start to sizzle.
  • Add the onion, sprinkle with the salt and fry, stirring frequently, for ten minutes or until the onion is turning golden brown.
  • Increase the heat to medium, then add the tomatoes and turmeric to the pan. Mix well and fry, stirring frequently, for five minutes. You want the tomatoes to soften and to see the oil separating from the masala.
  • Drain the rice and add to the masala. Mix well, and fry, stirring continuously, for two minutes. The grains of rice will start to look translucent and will be well coated with the masala and oil.
  • Add the greens peas and mix well.
  • Add the stock and very gently mix. Bring to the boil, mix again, then reduce the heat to very low. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, or until all the stock has been absorbed into the rice.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and gently fluff the pulao with a fork. Cover the pan with a tea towel and replace the lid. Stand for another five minutes

to serve

  • Transfer to serving dish by inverting the pot and serve.


  • Sella rice is parboiled rice, available from Indian grocers. If unavailable basmati rice can be substituted. Note that you may need to reduce the rice cooking time.
  • 400g of uncooked rice is approximately two cups.
  • The whole spices are not meant to be eaten.
  • Gingelly oil is Indian sesame oil. It is very different from the Asian sesame oil, being much less intense in flavour. Substitute with vegetable oil if unobtainable

private notes

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Serving: 250 g | Calories: 479 kcal | Carbohydrates: 88 g | Protein: 10 g | Fat: 10 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g | Trans Fat: 0.03 g | Sodium: 1345 mg | Potassium: 530 mg | Fiber: 7 g | Sugar: 5 g | Vitamin A: 1057 IU | Vitamin C: 18 mg | Calcium: 64 mg | Iron: 3 mg

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