Do you want to indulge in a gluten-free dish that’s not only hearty but also light and healthy? Matar pulao (or peas pulao) is a great meal you can savor for lunch or dinner. It features a delicious combination of peas, basmati rice (you can choose any rice variety), onions, and aromatic spices cooked entirely in a pan or pressure cooker.
In this blog, you will come across three ways to make matar pulao. But before we proceed, let’s gather some valuable information about peas pulao.
What actually is peas pulao?
Peas (‘matar’ in Hindi) are the main ingredient besides rice to make delicious pulao. You can add different Indian spices and ingredients to accompany green peas and rice.
Peas pulao or pilaf can be enjoyed with any classic Indian curry or raita.
While we have kept our version quite simple to make the earthy flavor of the peas remain untouched, you can also adapt the recipe as per your liking. For example, you can add sliced onions, chopped potatoes, carrots, or any other veggies of your choice.
Plus, you can use your own method to make it — either on the stovetop using a pan or in a pressure cooker.
Give this matar wale chawal or matar pulao a try and give yourself and your family a different taste!
Step-by-Step Guide for Peas Pulao
- First, let's prepare the rice (we’re taking basmati rice). Take 1 cup of basmati rice and rinse until the water runs clear. After that, soak the rice for about 20-30 minutes.
Now, drain the excess water and set it aside. Soaking is essential to make sure each rice grain is cooked evenly.
- Then, heat 3 tablespoons of oil/ghee in a pot or pressure cooker. Add these spices:
- 1 tej patta or bay leaf
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 tsp of cumin seeds
- 2 to 3 cloves
- 1-2 green cardamom (pod)
- 1 black cardamom (pod)
- 1-2 thin strands of mace (optional)
Fry these spices on low to medium heat for a few seconds until they become fragrant. Do not burn the spices during frying.
- Now, add half a cup of thinly sliced onions. (You can use white onions instead).
- Mix and sauté the onion until it gets brown or slightly caramelized. Don’t overcook the onions; otherwise, it will bring a bitter taste to matar pulao.
- Add 3/4 cup of fresh/frozen green peas or matar.
- Mix the peas well and sauté them for another minute.
- Now add the rice that we’ve kept aside after draining. Stir gently so that the rice grains do not break.
- Sauté for some time so that the rice can be well coated with oil/ghee.
- Add 1 and 3/4 cups of water to the cooker (increase the water ratio if you’re cooking it in a pot).
- Add salt and check the taste if it’s perfect. (Water should be slightly salty.)
- Close the lip of the pressure cooker. Cook the rice for two whistles on medium to high flame. It will take hardly 6 to 7 minutes. If you want your rice to look fluffier and less sticky, cook it for one whistle.
- Once it’s done, allow the pressure cooker to cool down on its own before you manually release the pressure. Once pressure is released, open the lid, and use a fork to fluff the rice. Garnish the peas pulao with mint or coriander leaves before serving.
You can enjoy peas pulao in its authentic flavor as a side dish or main dish. Or, you can serve it with any other side dish or classic Indian curry. Matar pulao also combines well with creamy yogurt, sauces, and dips like cucumber raita, onion-tomato raita, or boondi raita.
As far as savoring peas pulao with pickle is concerned, mango or lemon pickle is good. You can also enjoy it with an onion-tomato salad for a perfect combination.
Even Gujarati kadhi and pakoda accompany matar pulao easily.
We would not recommend storing peas pulao. Storing in the fridge or at room temperature makes the grains dry and lose their taste.
But if you have leftovers, store them in a container in your fridge (store just for a day). Before serving, warm the leftover peas pulao in an instant pot or pan. Add a few drops of water to avoid dryness.
Preparing peas pulao in a pan
If you don’t want to use a pressure cooker, you can follow these steps for making peas pulao in a pan or pot.
- Prepare the rice as said earlier. In the meantime, fry sliced onions and spices in a pan/pot of your choice. Use ghee or oil to fry these ingredients. Next, add peas, drained rice, and salt with two or two and a half cups of water.
- Cover the lid of the pot/pan tightly and cook the rice until water is absorbed. The process will take about 20 to 25 minutes. The rice grains will become fluffier once cooked. Be vigilant while cooking. In case the water is absorbed quickly, rice will remain undercooked. So, add water if necessary.
- Once done, use a fork to fluff the rice before serving it hot!
Preparing peas pulao in an instant pot
Just like cooking in a pressure cooker, preparing peas pulao in an instant pot is also easy. The process is the same. Use the sauté function to fry onion slices and spices.
Add peas, soaked rice, salt, and 1 ½ cups of water.
Stir, switch on the manual setting and pressure cook for five minutes on high mode. Wait for about ten minutes after cooking is done and the machine has made the 'beep' sound. After ten minutes, do a quick pressure release process. Don't wait longer; otherwise, your peas pulao will be overcooked.
Type of rice to use
Aged basmati rice gives your peas pulao texture and the best taste. If you don't have basmati rice, use any medium-grained or long-grained regular rice.
Make sure to add all the spices mentioned for the matar pulao recipe. If you don’t have any spices available, use just cloves and green cardamoms. The recipe will still be delicious.
Including fresh mint leaves or coriander leaves gives your peas pulao a good taste. Add 3 tablespoons of either coriander or mint leaves. If you want to add a combination of both, keep the quantity to two spoons only.
You can also use only the dried mint leaves in your matar pulao recipe (keep it 1 teaspoon, though).
While preparing matar pulao, the color turns slightly brown due to the caramelization of onions. Therefore, we suggest you let the onions caramelize for a sweet undertone to your recipe.
If you want the peas pulao to appear white, simply sauté the onions until translucent. Or, add a few drops of lemon juice to maintain the whiteness of the rice.
When you cook rice in a pressure cooker, add 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups of water for 1 cup of basmati rice. You can add less water or more water depending on the rice quality.
You can adjust the spiciness of matar pulao as per your taste. To make it extra spicy, you can add green chillies with 1 tsp of ginger-garlic paste.
Frequently asked questions
Which rice is best for pulao?
In India, basmati rice is popular for making pulao. You can use aged basmati rice or old basmati rice to give your pulao the best texture.
Sella basmati rice (parboiled basmati rice) is also great for making pulao.
If you use sella basmati rice, rinse and soak the rice for about 1 hour before cooking. Do not use a pressure cooker to make pulao using sella basmati rice. Instead, use a pan for great results.
You can use any non-sticky rice variety to make pulao.
How to use dried peas in matar pulao?
If you want to use dried peas, soak them in the water overnight. Later, drain the water and rinse the peas thoroughly.
Pressure cook the peas using 1 and 1/2 cups to 2 two cups of water. You can also use an instant pot for cooking the peas. Make sure the peas are soft but not pasty or mushy. Drain the excess water and use the peas as discussed earlier in the recipe.
Are matar rice and peas pulao the same?
Yes, matar rice and peas pulao are the same. It’s the same recipe having two different names.