Pulaos are usually referred to rice dishes that are cooked in a flavorful broth with the addition of meat, vegetables or nuts and whole spices. A simple version of it, like this Matar Pulao recipe, is best served with a rich curry or a heavy lentil dish.
When hosting a dinner party, I usually make the pulao a couple of hours ahead of time since it keeps well and doing so also allows the flavors to penetrate deeper. Just heat it in a microwave right before serving and fluff out the rice with a fork to prevent breaking the grains.
What is the Best Rice to Use for Pulaos?
The answer is simple - Basmati, of course! Basmati rice is a flavorful long grain Indian rice that is readily available at most regular grocery stores. Basmati rice gives out a slightly sweet aroma while it cooks and when cooked properly, each grain remains separate from the other without blending in together. You can find them generally sold in large bags of 5-10 lbs each, but many regular grocery stores these days also sell it in smaller, more economical packing.
Can You Use Other Veggies instead of Peas?
You bet! You can change up this recipe seasonally, depending on what vegetables are stocked in stores at the given time. The flavour of the dish will change depending on what vegetables are added, but will be worth the effort every time.
This Matar Pulao recipe is a wonderful way to use up any leftover vegetables you may have in your fridge or freezer. During summer months, I love varying up the vegetables to include a variety of colors and textures. Whereas, during colder winter days, robust squashes and root vegetables dominate in flavor. Play it up with whatever vegetables you fancy, and the results will pleasantly surprise you each time.
Can You Freeze Leftover Pulao/Rice?
You can keep any leftovers of this Matar Pulao in the freezer to save for a later date. To do so, simply store the rice in a tightly sealed freezer friendly container once it has completely come to room temperature, and pop it into the freezer. When you are ready to serve, let it thaw over the counter for a couple of hours before and heat it in the microwave to warm completely through.
There's an unsaid rule when it comes to cooking rice, that's followed in many kitchens throughout Asia - when cooking rice, NEVER cook just enough! You always make sure there's plenty left over. And I completely agree - rice is just great to use as leftovers. It freezes perfectly, can easily be revamped into an amazingly tasty dish in a matter of minutes, and not to mention, tastes divine when simply warmed up and served alongside a fried egg and some Indian pickle!
What do I Serve with Matar Pulao?
I love serving simple, flavourful curries like this Homestyle Chicken Curry, Aloo Bhaji (Rustic Potato Curry), and Instant Pot Chole as an accompaniment to my Matar Pulao. Lentil dishes like Dal Makhani and Tadka Dal also go really well together.
When I decided to make dinner last night, I knew I would once again be cooking what else, but rice. So I settled for something that was simple and so delicious – this Matar Pulao recipe. Since I was in a pinch and had no time to cook something else with it, I served mine simply with a big bowl of mixed veggie Raita and some Papad.
Matar Pulao (Peas Pilaf)
- 2 tablespoon light cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3-4 cloves
- 3-4 green cardamom pods
- 1 medium-sized onion thinly sliced
- 1 medium-sized tomato roughly chopped
- 1 cup frozen green peas thawed and drained
- salt to taste
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups Basmati rice rinsed thoroughly and drained
- Heat oil in a deep pan on medium-low heat and add in cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom pods. Once they start to sizzle and become fragrant, add in onions, and fry for a few seconds till lightly browned. Be careful not to let it burn.
- Add in tomatoes and peas. Season with salt, and give it a good mix.
- Add in water and once it starts to come to a slight boil, lower the heat and stir in the rice.
- Let the rice cook on low heat, covered, till all the water evaporates and the rice is cooked through. Serve warm.
This post was originally published in July 2015 and has been recently updated.
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