My Mom’s Pea Pulao

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My Mom’s Pea Pulao is one of the most favorite recipes in our house. All you need is some whole spices, some peas and rice. The secret ingredient in my mom’s recipe is cilantro or I should say more the timing of it when cilantro is added to the whole spices after tadka or tempering.**

My mom always made the pulao with white basmati rice. Sometimes I like to use brown basmati rice. The brown basmati rice needs to be soaked for at least half hour or preferably overnight. Soaking takes the phytic acid out of the grains. Throw the soaking water before using the rice.

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Heat up some ghee, add mustard seeds and cumin.

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Then rest of the whole spices…

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Add chopped cilantro

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Stir and cook for 8-10 seconds – it adds a subtle and unique aroma to the pulao.

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Add peas and stir them to coat ghee.

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Lastly add red pepper flakes and stir for a few more seconds.

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Add soaked, drained rice and combine with the spices and peas, keep stirring for about 2 minutes to properly coat with ghee.

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Add water/stock, salt and maple syrup, cover and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

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Fluff with a fork when done.

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My Mom’s Pea Pulao

Prep Time: 10-30 minutes      Cooking Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 cup basmati rice (white or brown), soaked for 10 – 30 minutes, then drained. Soak longer if using brown rice.
  • 1 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock (use 2 cups for brown rice)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp ghee (or grape seed oil)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or any other healthy sweetener of choice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


Spices for tadka or tempering**

  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorn
  • 5-6 cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or powder



1. Start with tadka or tempering.** Heat up ghee or grape seed oil in a heavy bottomed pot.

2. Add mustard seeds, cover and wait for it to start popping, about 4-5 seconds. Add cumin and wait for couple of seconds.

3. Add rest of the whole spices and stir them for about 10 seconds until you can smell nice aroma.

4. Here is my mom’s secret for making it a yummy dish – add chopped cilantro. Stir and cook for 8-10 seconds. This step adds a unique and subtle aroma to the pulao.

5. Lastly add the red pepper flakes and stir for a few more seconds.

6. Now add soaked and drained rice. Stir it for about 2 minutes to combine with spices and coat with ghee/oil.

7. Add water/stock, salt and maple syrup. Stir them to combine.

8. Cover and bring it to a boil.

9. Reduce heat to the minimum and cook for 10 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked (or 40 minutes in case of brown rice).

10. Fluff with a fork.

11. Serve with raita (yogurt dish) or with your favorite curry.

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** “Tadka” or Tempering is a cooking method in which cooking oil is heated till very hot and whole spices are added to it and fried. This oil and spice mix is then added as a final touch or in the beginning of cooking. Tadka or tempering extracts the essence, aroma and flavor of spices and herbs.

Note on Tadka/tempering: Do not use olive oil for tempering because tempering requires the fat to be heated till very hot. Use coconut oil, ghee or grape seed oil for tempering.


  1. Tried your Rice Pulao Receipe with the flavours you mentioned specially it tasted so well with the added maple syrup !! Thank you so much for sharing this awesome receipe !!


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