Pilau Rice with Peas

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Brick Lane Cookbook

Brick Lane Cookbook

By Dina Begum

Published 2018

  • About

This pilau rice is the perfect partner to a curry and only needs about half an hour of cooking time. It’s a lovely dish, mildly spiced and fragrant from whole spices, dotted with bright green peas and just as good cold as it is hot. I’ve used the absorption cooking method which simply uses twice the volume of water to rice.


  • 350 g basmati rice
  • 3 cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small stick cinnamon
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 160 g frozen peas


Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, then soak for 20 minutes in cold water. Drain the rice and set aside. Crush the ginger with a mortar and pestle. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf and cumin seeds. Stir for 30 seconds to toast the spices, then add the ginger and onion. Add the salt and the turmeric, then sauté for five minutes or so until light golden.

Tip in the rice, stir and gently cook for a couple of minutes, then add 800 ml hot water. Bring to the boil on high heat for eight to ten minutes or until small holes appear on the surface of the rice and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Turn the heat to low, scatter the frozen peas over the rice and then cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes until the pan is letting out steam steadily.

Rest off the heat for at least five minutes and then take the lid off and gently fluff up the rice and mix in the peas with a wooden spoon.