Why I love Vegetarian Pilafs / Pulao’s so much
I grew up eating rice almost everyday. If you’re gonna eat rice everyday, you need to come up with some variety. Matar Pulao, or Pea Pilaf, is a great example of how simple ingredients like peas and basmati can be so flavorful. The stock extracts all the delicious flavors from the perfect blend of whole spices. The tomatoes and onions give the rice a distinct savory flavor. In our region of Punjab pulaos are greatly appreciated, and this has to be one of my favorites. You don’t always need chicken stock and meats to add flavor to your rice.
How to treat your basmati rice
I use basmati for pulao’s / pilafs. If you follow a few steps they’ll turn out great every time. I have some tips in the recipe notes below. When you are using basmati, you always need to soak your rice before exposing it to high heat. The rice will not expand and it will break if it has not been soaked. Even if you have 10 minutes, that will help, but I recommend soaking the basmati for 30 minutes in lukewarm water. Another thing to keep in mind is that once the rice is cooked, don’t over mix. Carefully loosen the rice with a spatula or fork. The beauty of Basmati is in its long grain, and breaking it will do nothing to the flavor, but presentation is important.
Using whole spices in this pea pilaf
Whole spices add lots of flavor, but they can also be over powering if use in the wrong amounts. Cinnamon and black cardamom are strong so I use them sparingly. Black peppercorns add a subtle heat that hits slowly, but you can tell it’s there, so just 4-5 is a good amount for 2 cups of rice.
Basmati Pea Pilaf – Matar Pulao
- 2 cups basmati soaked for 30 minutes
- 2 cups peas
- 4-5 tbsp oil flavorless
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 1 tomato chopped
- 3 green chilli peppers
- 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
- 2 black cardamom
- 3 dried red chillies
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 5 peppercorns
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp kashmiri laal mirch or chili powder
- 4 cups water
- In a large pot heat your oil and add the sliced onions. Saute till they turn a light golden brown.
- Add the chopped tomato, the peas, all the whole spices and the green chillies. Saute for 4-5 minutes, until the tomato breaks down, then add the salt and laal mirch. Mix well, then add the water. Once the water comes to a boul let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Drain the soaked rice and add it to the pea stock. Let the stock simmer while the rice absorbs all the flavors. When most of the stock has been absorbed by the rice and you can see large bubbles forming, cover the pot with a lid, reduce the flame to the lowest setting and let the rice cook on dum for 10 minutes. Do not open the lid during this time.
- After 10 minutes, steam should start coming out of the lid. Turn off the flame and leave the rice covered for 5 minutes, then open the lid and carefully loosen the rice with a spatula or fork. Serve warm. Refridgerate leftovers in an airtight container.
Have you tried this delicious vegan and gluten free basmati pea pilaf recipe?
Have you tried this delicious pea pilaf? I love serving this as a side with Chicken Curry or my favorite Achari Chicken Handi. This is great served on it’s own with a bowl of yogurt as well. If you did, I’d love to hear how it turned out in the comments below!
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