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 water and once it starts to come to a slight boil, lower the heat and stir in the rice and peas. Season with salt.
Let the rice cook on low heat, covered, till all the water evaporates and the rice is cooked through. Serve warm.