Matar pulao (peas pulao) recipe

Matar Pulao (Peas Pulao) Recipe

Matar pulao (peas pulao) is a simple but comforting dish. It goes great with kebab, raita, salad and chatni for a complete meal. Making matar pulao however requires that fine knowledge of water proportion that is not always as simple as “andaza“.

When I first moved to Canada some 11 years ago my knowledge of South Asian cooking was limited to a few basic lessons in Islamabad, after my nikkah, when my mother panicked for my survival in Canada. I also had a couple of cook books with me but minimal practical experience. My mother had always assured me though that cooking can be done whenever the need arises.

I had been in Canada for just 12 days when Jaffar told me that our landlord (who was also a Pakistani) was visiting the city and we should take him out for dinner. I replied with the confidence that either beginners, experts or fools have that let’s invite him over for dinner at our place.

Like complete rookies, I decided to cook on the morning of the dinner. I made chicken karahi and decided to pair it with chickpea pulao. I now wince at that terrible combination. For water estimate I used the rule of inserting the forefinger in the pot and that half of it should be visible.

Things went terribly bad. The rice turned into a gooey mess. I called Jaffar and told him about my feat. He assured me that he will grab some biryani on the way back from our local desi restaurant in Edmonton.

That moment felt like a “now or never” moment to me though and I told Jaffar I will try again. The second time the rice turned out perfect! The confidence and high I felt in that moment has helped me many a times in times of culinary challenges: be it roasting a whole turkey or baking a double layered cake for the first time.

I want to tell all nervous cooks though that there is a better way to estimate water for rice than “andaza“. Use double the quantity of water as the rice. Make sure you use the same cup for measurement!

Matar Pulao (Peas Pulao) Recipe:

Let’s now talk about this simple and delicious matar pulao (peas pulao) recipe.


Rice              3 cups

Onion             1 (finely chopped)

Peas              1 cup

Salt              1 teaspoon

Coriander powder  1 tablespoon

Whole cumin       1 teaspoon

Kalongi seeds     1 teaspoon

Whole cloves      6

Black cardamom    3

Oil              2 tablespoon

Lemon juice      1 tablespoon

How to:

  • Soak the rice in the water at least 1 hour before.
  • Heat the oil in the pot and add the kalongi seeds and whole cumin.
  • When they crackle add the onions and brown them.
  • Now add black cardamom, cloves, coriander powder and salt and fry everything.
  • Add the peas and fry it a bit more.
  • Now add the rice and mix everything well.
  • Add 6 cups of water for the 3 cups of rice. Let it cook at medium heat.
  • When you see the water boil, add one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. This helps the rice not stick together.
  • In the end when the rice are almost done, cover the pot for 5 minutes on low flame.

The matar pulao goes great with shami kebab, (or potato cutlets), raita and chatni.

Do share if you try this recipe and especially how your experience has been with water andaza (estimation) for rice.