Pea Pilaf…an easy spiced rice recipe

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I know Indian food is considered a delicacy to many and  eating at an Indian restaurant here in the U.S. does turn out to be expensive. But with a few essential ingredients in your pantry, you can bring Indian food off your stove and onto your family’s table.

As a child, for birthdays, my Mama would ask if I wanted something specific whipped up for my big day. My answer was always the same…

Pea Pilaf.

There’s just something about a bowl of pea pilaf that makes my heart sing!

This recipe is my quick-fix way of making a pea pilaf and honestly, the flavor in this dish rides on 5 essential ingredients (excluding the peas ofcourse)…

1. Basmati rice  2. Cardamoms  3. Cloves  4. Cinnamon  and  5. Bay leaves.

All set?

Then lets get a-cooking!


5 from 3 votes
Pea Pilaf
Course: Rice
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 3 -4
Author: Marina J
  • 2 cups cleaned Basmati Rice
  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/2 small green chilli chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala can be bought at any Indian store/most grocery stores-optional
  • 3 whole cardamoms
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 1 " cinnamon bark
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp Olive/coconut oil or butter for saute
  1. In a spice grinder (or coffee grinder) grind the whole spices- cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves.
  2. Take a large pan (if you're cooking your rice in the pan, get one large enough to hold the rice in) and add in the ground spices. Saute this till you get the aromatic fragrance of the spices.
  3. Throw in the chopped onions and chilis. Saute till the onions turn golden brown.
  4. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for 3-4 mins.
  5. Now add in salt to taste, garam masala (optional) and saute for an additional minute before taking the pan off the stove.
  6. Cool the mixture for a few minutes before spooning this out into a blender with the fresh cilantro leaves.
  7. Blend this mixture to a puree (add a little water to the mixture if you find the mixture isn't pureed well)
  8. Now put your saute pan back onto the stove and add a little oil/butter to it.
  9. Take your Basmati Rice and fry the same lightly, on a low-medium temperature, for 2-3 minutes. (Don't brown the rice)
  10. Add to the rice, the pureed cilantro blend and mix well.
  11. If you're cooking your rice in a rice cooker, take the ingredients from the pan and put it into the cooker. Add to this the water (3 3/4 cups) and the peas.{ If you're continuing to cook the rice in the pan, add the water and the peas to the mix}
  12. Taste the water to see if the salt seasoning is sufficient. If not add as much salt as is required.
  13. Now leave the rice alone to cook.
  14. Once the cooker buzzes letting you know the rice is done (or once the water has absorbed into the rice in the pan), set this aside for about 10 minutes to allow the pilaf to marry in the flavors.further.
  15. And voila, there you have it...pea pilaf!


This rice pairs well with any curry…especially a heartening bowl of butter chicken.


Is there an Indian dish you’ve eaten and wished you could re-create in your kitchen?


  1. Oh we love Indian foods and make some lovely curries which will marry up nicely with this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I have to be honest, I’ve never had Indian food. But I think this would be a healthy meal for my son. He loves rice and we’re always trying to get him to eat more vegetables.

  3. Ooh, I love how easy this looks! I LOVE basmati rice, so I’m going to have to try this! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. I have had Indian food once and I don’t mind paying for good food. Not sure though I liked it enough to go back, but you never know….We pay good money for food when we go out, b/c we don’t do it very often anymore!!

  5. This looks absolutely delicious! I love Indian food and this looks like a great idea for a dinner!

  6. I swear, sometimes I think I have lived a sheltered life…I have NEVER had Indian food before! I will have to ease my way in.

  7. I’ve never really eaten Indian food but I’m anxious to try! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  8. Thanks for sharing, the pilaf looks so good! I’d love to get my butter chicken to turn out like our favorite Indian restaurant’s recipe does. And their rice pudding too, while I’m at it 🙂

  9. I am always looking for new side dishes, and this recipe looks great. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. That sure looks good. However…since I never even heard of some of the things in that recipe…I’m kinda scared to try it.

    I’m not a great cook and recipes with more than a few ingredients intimidate me.

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