When rice forms a major part of a cuisine then there are infinite recipes using rice. Contrast this with cuisines in which it isn’t so important. When growing up, rice was used mainly for rice pudding and an even rarer rice salad. Apart from that it was unusual to have rice with a meal. I guess my mother bought rice only when she wanted to make a pudding – whereas I keep the pantry stocked with 6 – 8 different types of rice. Sticky rice, black and/or red rice, basmati, short grain rice, risotto rice and pongal rice are fairly standard pantry items.
These days I love rice cooked with spices and a vegetable or with lentils. It forms a great addition to any meal, especially Indian meals. It is also a great way to use up any vegetables sitting at the bottom of the fridge on a Friday night – prior to doing the next week’s shopping.
Peas Pulao or Matar Pulao is a popular dish which was made especially during the cooler months in northern parts of India. It can be made in a pressure cooker or rice cooker as well. This is the second version of peas and rice – the spicing is very different in each one.
Matar Pulao | Rice Pulao with Peas
1 cup basmati rice
1 up shelled peas (frozen are Ok to use)
1 Tblspn ghee
1 piece cinnamon
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
0.5 tspn ajwain seeds or cumin seeds
sea salt to taste
approx 2 – 2.5 cup hot water (depends on the rice you are using)
Rice the rice and soak for 30 – 60 mins. Drain.
Heat the ghee in a kadhai or saucepan add add the cloves, cinnamon, turmeric and ajwain seeds. Over a low heat saute them for a minute or two.
Add the drained rice, salt and peas. Mix well and fry gently for a few minutes while stirring continuously. Now add the hot water and mix well but quickly.
Cover tightly with a lid and place pan over the lowest heat possible or in a 180C oven for around 20 mins. Check the rice during the cooking and if dry but not yet cooked, add a few Tblspn water, and cover again. Continue to cook.
recipe notes and alternatives
I like to cook the rice for about 20 mins or a bit under, then turn the heat off and let it sit for 10 mins without removing the cover.
Spices that can also be added – black cardamom, green cardamom, mace, Indian bay leaf.
Onions can be added. Saute with the spices.
Mint or coriander leaves can be stirred through the cooked rice.
This same recipe can be made with 150g – 200g Cauliflower, 150g Potatoes,4 Tblspn Sultanas or 5 medium varhia instead of the peas. Varhia need to be fried before adding to the rice.