This tasty Peas pulao is a quick and easy pulao – made entirely in a stove-top pressure cooker with details of making in a pan also listed in the recipe. The recipe is also vegan and gluten-free. Peas pulao is also called Matar Pulao, where ‘matar’ is the Hindi word for peas.
About this recipe
The shining star in my peas pulao recipe is green peas. Besides whole spices and onions, we do not add any other aromatics or herbs. So there is no overpowering of spices and herbs that mask the presence of green peas in this recipe.
What you get as a result is a lovely aromatic peas pulao having subtle sweet tones of the green peas and of course the caramelized onions.
For best results, I suggest adding fresh and tender green peas. Though frozen peas also work well, the best taste and flavor comes from adding fresh peas. Having said that you can make this matar pulao with either fresh or frozen green peas.
I learned this peas pulao recipe from my mother-in-law. Usually, matar pulao is often made in many Punjabi homes. I also make it regularly as it gets done quickly and can be paired with any raita or a simple curry or dal.
Unless I run out of fresh peas, I always prefer to use them for making this matar pulao or for other green pea recipes. As a variation, I also add potatoes or carrots in this pulao.
For making any pulao it is best to use aged basmati rice as they give a perfect texture. You get separate grains of rice which are good to look at and eat. Ideally, when making pulao, the rice grains should be separate, fluffy, and not mushy.
I usually cook peas pulao in a pressure cooker, but you can make it in a pan or in the Instant Pot. If cooking in a pan, then the water quantity should be increased a bit. I have mentioned the details below.
How to make Peas Pulao
Preparation and Sautéing Onions
1. Wash 1 cup heaped basmati rice till the water runs clear. Soak rice for 30 minutes. Later drain all the water and set aside.
2. Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil or ghee in a 2-litre pressure cooker. Add the following spices: 1-inch cinnamon, 1 black cardamom, 1 or 2 green cardamoms, 2 to 3 cloves, 1 to 2 single strands of mace, 1 medium tej patta, and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds.
Fry until the spices release their aroma and become fragrant. Take care not to burn the spices while frying.
3. Then add ½ cup thinly sliced onions.
4. Mix and sauté until the onions get golden or caramelized. Do not burn the onions as this will lead to a bitter taste in the matar pulao.
5. Add ¾ cup of green peas. You can use fresh or frozen green peas.
6. Mix well and sauté for a minute.
7. Now add the drained rice and stir gently.
8. Sauté for a minute coating rice grains with the fat (ghee or oil) that you have used.
9. Add 1.75 cups water.
10. Season with salt. Mix well and check the taste. The water should be slightly salty.
Cooking Peas Pulao
11. Cover and pressure cook for 2 whistles on a medium to high flame or for 10 to 12 minutes. For an al dente texture pressure cook for 1 whistle.
12. Let the pressure settle down on its own and then open the lid of the cooker. Gently fluff the rice and serve matar pulao hot.
Serve peas pulao with any raita. It can be tomato-onion raita or boondi raita. You can also serve matar pulao with fresh curd (yogurt), sliced onion rings, Indian onion-tomato salad (kachumber), fried or roasted papad, and pickle. A simple kadhi or kadhi with pakora also pairs great with this matar pulao.
Cooking peas pulao in a pan
For cooking peas pulao in a pot or pan, fry the spices, sauté the onions, add the green peas and rice. Then add 2 to 2.5 cups water depending on the quality of rice. Cover the pot tightly with a lid and cook until all the water has been absorbed and the rice grains are tender and fluffy.
Keep a watch on the rice while they are cooking. If all the water has been absorbed and rice grains are undercooked, add some tablespoons of water. Cover and simmer for a few minutes.
Instant Pot Method
In a 6 quart IP, sauté the spices, onions in the steel insert pot. Add the peas, rice, 1.5 cups water, and salt.
Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Wait for 10 minutes after the pressure cooking is finished and the beep sound is heard. Release any extra pressure after 10 minutes.
Keep a note of the 10 minutes time and do not allow to exceed it. The rice grains can get overcooked at the bottom of the pot and become mushy.
- Type of rice: Use aged basmati rice. Sella basmati rice which is parboiled basmati rice also gives great results. For sella basmati rice, soak for 1 hour prior to cooking. I suggest cooking parboiled basmati rice in a pan and not in a pressure cooker. Add 2 to 2.25 cups water. You can even use any other fragrant non-sticky variety of rice.
- Rice to water proportion: While cooking in a pressure cooker, 1.5 to 1.75 cups of water works perfectly for 1 cup of basmati rice. But depending on the quality of rice you can add less or more water – from 1.5 cups to 2 cups.
- Spiciness: This peas pulao recipe is not spicy. To make a spicy matar pulao, you can add some green chilies and 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste.
- Whole spices: Try to add all the whole spices mentioned in the recipe. If at all you want to skip any spice for lack of availability, then you can skip black cardamom and mace. Though the faint smoky flavor from the black cardamom will be missing, the peas pulao would still be good.
- Color: The color of matar pulao here is faintly brown due to the caramelization of the onions. I strongly recommend caramelizing the onions as it gives lovely sweet undertones to the dish. But, if you fancy a white-colored pulao, then sauté onions until translucent but the taste profile will change. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice which will keep rice white in color.
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Peas Pulao | Matar Pulao
- 1 cup basmati rice (heaped), 200 grams
- ¾ cup green peas (matar) – preferably fresh or frozen
- ½ cup thinly sliced onions
- 2 to 3 tablespoons oil or ghee (clarified butter)
- 1.75 cups water for pressure cooking
- salt as required
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 1 black cardamom – optional
- 1 or 2 green cardamom
- 2 to 3 cloves
- 1 or 2 mace strands – thin strands
- 1 medium-sized tej patta (indian bay leaf)
- Wash the basmati rice until the water runs clear of the starch.
- Soak rice for 30 minutes.
- Drain all the water and set aside.
Making peas pulao
- Heat oil or ghee in a 2-litre pressure cooker.
- Add the cumin seeds along with all the whole spices. Fry until the spices splutter, release their aroma and become fragrant taking care not to burn them
- Then add the sliced onions. Stir and saute till the onions are golden or caramelized. Do not burn the onions as this will lead to a bitter taste in the matar pulao.
- Add the green peas and saute for a minute.
- Now add the drained rice and mix gently
- Saute for a minute seeing that the fat (oil or ghee) coats the rice grains. Add water and salt as required. Mix well. Check the taste of water and it should be slightly salty.
- Cover and pressure cook for 2 whistles on a medium-high to high heat. Let the pressure settle down on its own and then open the lid of the cooker.
- Gently fluff rice and serve peas pulao hot with onion-tomato raita or any raita of your choice or a side vegetable salad or pickle.
Cooking peas pulao in a panFollow the recipe until you add water and salt. You will have to add 2 to 2.5 cups of water. Cover the pan or pot tightly with a lid and simmer until all of the water is absorbed and the rice grains are cooked through. Do keep a check on the rice when they are cooking. If the water has been all absorbed and rice grains have not yet cooked completely, add a few tablespoons of water. Cover and cook rice for a few minutes.
Instant Pot MethodIn the steel insert pot of a 6 quart IP, fry the whole spices and saute onions until they caramelize. Add the green peas, rice, 1.5 cups water, and salt. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Wait for 10 minutes after the pressure cooking is completed and the beep sound is heard. Release any extra pressure after 10 minutes. Keep a note of the 10 minutes time and do not allow to exceed it. The rice grains may get overdone and become mushy.
Nutrition Info Approximate values
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