Peas pulao also known as matar pulao is a tasty rice and green peas dish made with caramelized onions and aromatic spices. It can be prepared entirely in a stove-top pressure cooker or in a pan or in the Instant pot. I share all three ways to make this delish peas pulao.
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 for some seconds on low heat, until the spices splutter, release their aroma and become fragrant, taking care not to burn them
Then add the sliced onions. Stir and sauté until the onions are light golden or caramelized. Do not burn the onions as this will lead to a bitter taste in your matar pulao.
Add the green peas and saute for a minute.
Then add the drained rice and mix gently.
Sauté 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 or 6 to 7 minutes on a medium-high to high heat. Let the pressure settle down on its own and then open the lid of the cooker. If you like your rice more on the al dente side then only pressure cook for 1 whistle.
Gently fluff rice and serve peas pulao hot or warm.
Enjoy peas pulao on their own as a side or main dish, or serve with nearly any condiments or sides. The peas and rice pair perfectly with creamy and cool yogurt sauces and dips, like onion tomato raita, cucumber raita or boondi raita.
Matar pulao also goes well with fresh Curd (Yogurt) as such and a Kadhi Pakora, sliced onion rings, Indian onion-tomato salad (Kachumber), and/or mango or lemon pickle. You can even serve with a side of lemon wedges.
For an even heartier meal, peas pulao can be served with fried or roasted or masala papad, a simple Gujarati Kadhi, or Pakora.
Cooking peas pulao in a pan
Follow the recipe directions, until you add water and salt. You will have to add 2 to 2.25 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 Method
In the steel insert pot of a 6 quart IP, fry the whole spices and sauté onions until they caramelize. Add the green peas, rice, 1.5 cups of 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.
Type of rice: Aged basmati rice will give your pulao the best taste and texture. If you do not have basmati rice, include any non-sticky variety of long-grained or medium-grained rice.
Whole spices: Try to add all the whole spices mentioned in the recipe. If not readily available you can feel free to leave out the black cardamom and mace. The dish won't have quite the same smoky and earthy flavor but will still be quite delicious.
Herbs: Including herbs like coriander leaves (cilantro) or mint or equal combinations of both, also gives a good herby taste and flavor. Add about 3 tablespoons of either or 2 tablespoons each of both chopped coriander and mint leaves. For dried mint, add about 1 teaspoon of it.
Rice to water proportion: While cooking in a pressure cooker, 1½ to 1¾ cups of water works perfectly for every 1 cup of basmati rice. But depending on the quality of rice you can add less or more water - from 1½ cups to 2 cups.
Spiciness: This recipe is not spicy. To make a spicy matar pulao, you can add some green chilies and 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste.
Color: The color of matar pulao here is slightly brown due to the caramelization created when frying the onions. I strongly recommend caramelizing the onions as it gives lovely sweet undertones to the dish. But, if you'd like a white-colored pulao, then instead of caramelizing you can sauté the onions until translucent. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice which will help maintain the rice's white color.