Matar pulao translates to green pea pilaf. It’s a delicately spiced rice made often in Northern India. Fresh or frozen green peas are cooked in an aromatic onion and whole spice mixture that creates the most delicious final result. The aroma of matar pulao cooking reminds me of my mother, she’d serve this to us with a tangy homemade yogurt and some achar (mango pickle) often as an after school meal or weekend lunch. Try it with your favourite Indian curry, some naan and raita for the perfect dinner, or the way my mother served it to us, simple and so delicious.
If using fresh peas, boil until tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse the rice three times until the water runs clear. Soak the rice for 10 minutes.
In a large saucepan on medium high heat, add the oil. Once the oil is warm, add in the sliced onions and cook until golden. Add in the cumin, cloves, black cardamom, bay leave, cinnamon and peppercorns. Cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.
Add in the chili or cayenne if using, ginger and garlic. Saute for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add in the boiled or frozen peas, drained rice, salt and water. Mix and bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the water has evaporated and the rice grains are fluffy.