Peas Pulav

peas pulavPeas pulav is an elegant, delicious one-pot meal, fragrant and gorgeous. It tastes as good as it looks – pristine white perfectly long rice grains specked with fresh green peas and ever so lightly caramelized onions. Scrumptious! Pulav is relatively simple, the coconut milk is the only point that stops me from calling it a somberi recipe. Other than the coconut milk extraction there is no major prep work involved. You could just as easily make this for a weekday lunch. Perfect for lunch boxes too. To me, Pulav or even biryani is any day quicker than sambar. And while we are on Sambar, people tell me how often do you make sambar at home (Jaya TV Jackpot question)?

Once a week minimum to 2 or even 3 times a week in my case. Once a week is fine. But anything more and I get cranky. In churning meal after meal every day for so many years I think women (I didn’t say any particular group, please make your own assumptions, imagine as desired) get into this mind-numbingly boring programmed menu routine. Friday means Sambar, Ammavasai also Sambar, other festivals – Sambar. Sambar comes with its own baggage. Sambar has to be had with potato thokku (spicy Potato side dish) – compulsory. Hero’s mother has to be Saranya. Formula Menus – formula meals.

One day when we didn’t make Sambar and didn’t make Kozhambu either (another formula: Milagu kozhambu + Cabbage kootu = Aala vidu da vegetarian Saturday), I made Peas pulav! I served Peas pulav with crisp deep fried cauliflower (coming soon). Pulav is also a kid-pleasing rice dish that is sure to tempt even the picky eaters. So go ahead and break the Sambar routine.
Preparation time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 4-5


Basmati Rice or any long grain rice – 1 – 1/2 cups
Green Peas – 3/4 cup
Coconut milk – extracted from 1 small coconut (approximately 1 – 1/2 cups)
Double beans – a handful (optional, I added because I like them)
Onion – 1 large sliced fine
Green chillies – 1-2 slit lengthwise
Garlic – 4-5 pods sliced roughly
Fennel seeds (sombu) – 1 tsp
Cloves – 3
Cardamom – 1
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
Star anise – 1 small piece
Kalpaasi (sea weed) – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Bay leaf – 1
Water – as required
Salt to taste
Oil – 2 tbsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Sugar – a pinch
Coriander leaves – a handful chopped for garnish

1.      Rinse basmati rice in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. Soak the rinsed rice in water for half an hour to 1 hour.
2.      In a pressure cooker, add oil and 2 tbsp ghee and when hot, add fennel seeds. When fragrant add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, bay leaf and kalpaasi and stir around till fragrant.
3.      Tip in the sliced onions, slit green chillies and garlic and sauté till the onions are translucent and garlic are starting to brown.
4.      Add the green peas along with a pinch of sugar and salt and stir around. I added double beans also because I had hem and I like them. You can omit double beans. If you are making a vegetable pulav, you can add the vegetables instead and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
5.      Drain the water and tip in the rice.
6.      Add the coconut milk. Stir gently to mix everything. Taste, add salt and adjust seasoning. Stir gently. Level the rice with a ladle. Do the index finger test. Use your index finger to check if the liquid above the rice is just about the first line of your index finger. If not, add water.
7.      Close and pressure cook on low for 10-12 minutes.
8.      Open, drizzle 1 tbsp ghee along sides, drop in the chopped coriander leaves and fluff up the rice with a fork. Serve hot with raita or hot gravy.

1.      You could substitute any mix of vegetables for the green peas to make a vegetable pulav. Make sure they are chopped fine.

2.      You could use water instead of coconut milk, but coconut milk gives it a beautifully mellow, ever so slightly sweet taste that I really like.