Peas Pulao/Pilaf Rice
Matar Pulao or Tahri
This is a quick and tasty rice dish to make, following in my mother's footsteps. I go to it, when I don't feel like cooking, though it is equally good as part of a more elaborate meal. Keep it simple, adding the deep fried onions as a garnish if you must. If you are making for special meals, it is worth adding the whole spices marked with an *. This pulao can be eaten on its own as a full meal, served with natural yoghurt, Sweet Mango Chutney, pickles of choice and papars (popodoms) or served as part of any Indian meal. Serves 4
500 gm. Basmati or any good quality rice
100 gm. shelled peas or a mix of peas, chopped carrots, beans etc. You can use frozen ones. Other vegetables can be cauliflower, chopped potatoes.
1 tbsp. oil or ghee
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1-2 tsp. grated ginger root
2 whole large brown cardamoms *
2 bay leaves *
1 small stick of cinnamon *
4 cloves *
5-6 peppercorns (whole black peppers *
2 medium sized onions, thinly sliced (optional)
1 litre water (double the amount of rice in volume)
Salt to taste
*All these whole spices make Garam Masala, when ground together. If you do not have the whole spices, use ground garam masala instead, but add it later at step 11).
Optional: either 3/4 tsp. turmeric or a cup of strong black tea, to replace 1 cup of measured water. Both of these give a nice colour to this dish, although plain white also looks great.
Wash and drain rice in a sieve. There is no need to soak.
If using fresh peas, put them in boiling water and simmer for two minutes. Drain and keep aside. Frozen ones can be added as they are.
Boil water for cooking the rice.
Heat oil or ghee in a pan, which has a tight fitting lid.
Add cumin seeds/all spices marked * and ginger. Let the cumin seeds crackle/splutter.
Add sliced onions, if using these, and fry until nicely browned. Remove half the onions and keep aside for garnish later on.
Add peas (and turmeric, if using). Stir-fry on high heat for a minute or so.
Add rice and stir in gently for a 1/2 a minute, to coat each rice grain with oil.
Add salt and turmeric, if using turmeric.
Add boiling water. I tend not to measure water and use just enough to cover the rice and 1/2 inch above the rice. You can use 1 litre of water for 500 gm. rice. If using black tea, add it as part of the measured water here.
Let the rice come to a brisk boil for 10 seconds. Add ground Garam Masala here if you have not used whole spices marked*.
Lower heat to minimum, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Try not to peek in every few minutes. You can cook rice in a rice cooker too, instructions are same. If cooking in a pressure cooker, bring to full pressure and turn it off after about 1 minute. Allow to cool, before releasing pressure.
Serve hot, garnished with fried onions, along with pickles, yoghurt and papars (popodoms)