Peas Pulao (Matar Pulao): Easy Rice Recipe

Peas Pulao (Matar Pulao): Easy Rice Recipe!

A Walk Down Memory Lane

My earliest memories of growing up in Delhi, India were eating my mom’s vegetable rice pilaf or Pea Pulao on a cold winter’s evening. The reason this vegetable rice recipe was made during the winter months is that peas were in season and they were at their freshest and sweetest. It is the ideal comfort food that I still turn to when I want something quick, and simple, without sacrificing flavor. Now I can make it all year-round with the help of frozen peas!

Peas Pulao (Matar Pulao): Easy Rice Recipe!

How to make Peas Pulao- an easy and delicious, one-pot, vegetable rice recipe. Make it using an Instant Pot or on your stovetop!

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Servings: 6


The Rice & Peas

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup basmati rice (washed)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Salt (to taste)

The Spices

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 green cardamom seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon


  • Instant Pot


Stove Top Method

  1.  Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil.

  2.  Once olive oil is hot, add in whole spices and sauté until aromatic (about 30 seconds).

  3. Add in sliced onions and sauté until onions turn light brown.

  4.  Add in green peas, basmati rice, water, and salt and mix well.

  5. Bring to a simmer turn the heat down to medium-low and place a tight-fitting lid on.

  6. Cook for 12 minutes with the lid on. 

  7. Remove from the stove and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes with the lid on.

  8.  Use a fork to fluff the rice. 

  9. Serve with Yellow Moong Dal Soup or Dal Makhani

Instant Pot Method

  1. On the instant pot, press the “Sauté” mode and add olive oil.

  2. Once olive oil is hot, add in whole spices and sauté until aromatic (about 30 seconds).

  3. Add in sliced onions and sauté until onions turn light brown.

  4. Add in green peas, basmati rice, water, and salt and mix well.

  5. Close the lid on the pot and turn the valve from “Venting” to the “Sealing” position, then press “Cancel”.

  6. Set the pot to “Manual/Pressure Cook” (high pressure) and set the timer to 6 minutes.

  7. Do a quick release and once the pressure is released, open the lid and gently fluff rice.

  8. Serve with Yellow Moong Dal Soup or Dal Makhani


Pro Tips

  1. You can store your leftover Pea Pulao or Vegetable Pulao in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, simply put a damp paper towel on the rice before reheating in the microwave or steam oven. The moister from the paper towel ensures that the rice stays soft and fluffy.

  2. Want to spruce up bland rice? Add butter or olive oil with some salt and pepper while hot. Replacing your cooking water with flavored broth is also a neat trick.

  3. Using the dried versions of these spices will still add tons of flavor to your dish.

  4. Making this dish in place of plain white rice will amplify any meal.

  5. Pea Pulao can be served with the traditional Yellow Moong Dal Soup, your favorite curries, or as a side dish at your next family get-together. The options are truly endless!

Leave a comment below and let me know how you served this!

What is a Pulao?

Depending on where you live, you may spell it, pilaf (US), pilau (UK), or pulao (India). The earliest documented recipe for rice pilaf goes way back to the 10th century in the Middle East. Believe it or not, it is so widely popular around the world; here are a few countries and regions that serve variations of this dish that you may be familiar with: India, Brazil, Bangladesh, the Caribbean, Central Asia, France, and Greece.


Pilaf or pulao is a rice dish that usually involves cooking in some type of broth or stock (vegetable, chicken, beef, fish, etc.), along with adding a variety of aromatic spices like cloves, red chiles, ginger, vegetables like peas, bell peppers, and tomatoes and other ingredients like shrimp, clams, and sausage. Just to clarify, pulao is not Biryani even though they use many of the same ingredients. The cooking process, textures, and tastes are where we see the differences. The most known version of Pulao is the Spanish version called paella.

Peas Pulao Matar Pulao Easy Rice Recipe

What is Peas Pulao?

In India, Pea Pulao or vegetable pulao is an extraordinarily popular dish that is made using basmati rice, fragrant spices, and green peas. The amazing thing about this versatile, vegetable rice pilaf dish is that you can eat it alone or customize it to satisfy any taste bud in your family. The possibilities truly are endless, which makes this the perfect vegetable rice main dish, side dish, or base for your next family meal, potluck, or picnic.

What is Matar Rice?

In Hindi, matar is known as green peas and pulao is known as rice pilaf. So, interpreted loosely to mean, ‘rice flavored peas,’ involves way more than rice and peas. What makes this traditional vegetable rice recipe so special is the combination of flavorful and fragrant spices like cloves, cardamom, cumin, and the contrasting texture of the onions and peas.

 What Can I Add to Rice to Give it Flavor?

Rice by itself is like vanilla ice cream, adding your favorite and imaginative toppings catapults it to a whole new level! Let’s get creative!

✔   Try replacing cooking water with flavored broth. This adds a rich flavor and aroma to the rice.

✔   Add slices of your favorite dried fruit such as mangos, apricots, cranberries, currants, raisins, or even figs. This adds a chewy texture with a hint of sweetness and it also looks beautiful as well.

✔   Add some crunch and texture with your favorite seeds like chia, pumpkin, sesame, flax, and sunflower. Seeds not only amplify the texture of your rice, but they also add tons of nutrition as well. I call this a “win-win!”

✔   Add toasted walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, or even hazelnuts. Toasting is an extra step you won’t regret, it brings out the natural oils from the nuts, intensifies the flavors, is very aromatic and a bonus is, that it’s also good for you.

Peas Pulao Matar Pulao Easy Rice Recipe

How Do You Spice Up Cooked White Rice?

There are tons of ways I add flavor to cooked white rice, I just go by what flavor I feel like eating at the moment or what the family requests are! Rice is a beautiful, blank canvas, so exercise your artistic ability and make it your masterpiece! The possibilities are truly endless.

✔   Try adding ghee or olive oil with some salt and black pepper while hot for a simple take.

✔   Want to go sweet, try adding sauces like honey, hoisin, or sweet soy sauce.

✔   Need to add some heat, try adding spices like chile flakes, dried paprika, fresh cilantro, lime juice, or curry powder.

✔   Who doesn’t love dessert? If you want to try something out of the box and transform your white rice into an after-dinner treat, try adding brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, currants, and coconut milk.

The Instant Pot and Cooking Rice

The Instant Pot has become so popular over the years and with good reason. For me, it replaces my rice cooker and saves me a lot of time in the kitchen when I am in a rush and want to get dinner on the table fast. If you have hectic days like me, going from place to place running errands around town or with kids, then you would love using the Instant Pot, I can throw the rice in there and when I return home, the rice is done…boom! It will help you make this Pea Pulao or vegetable rice pilaf dish a breeze.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet!








WATER- 1 1/4 CUP





WATER- 1 1/4 CUP



Health Benefits & Allergens

There are a multitude of health benefits to this vegetable rice dish if prepared as directed.  Here are a few you can gain by using the ingredients in this dish:

  • Olive Oil- Rich in monounsaturated fats, contains antioxidants, and an anti-inflammatory
  • Cumin- High in antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory, can help control blood sugar
  • Cardamon- Packed with antioxidants, may lower blood pressure, may help with digestive problems
  • Bay Leaf- A rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium
  • Cinnamon- Is loaded with antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, and may lower blood sugar level
  • Clove- High in antioxidants, may improve liver health, may promote bone health
  • Green peas- Rich in Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and good for digestion
  • It’s gluten-free
  • It’s vegan
  • It’s dairy-free

Leave a comment below and let me know how you served this!