Carrot and green pea pilau


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

Central Indian food is an amalgamation of recipes from the neighbouring states. This recipe, Gajjar-Mattar Ke Pulao, though cooked elsewhere, is richer than others, perhaps as a result of the influence of a Royal household. Because of this it is more suitable as a main course than as an accompaniment.


  • 225 g/8 oz/generous 1 cup basmati rice
  • a good pinch of saffron threads, pounded
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp hot milk
  • 2.5 cm/1 in piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 175 ml/6fl oz/¾ cup full-fat (whole) milk
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 5 ml/1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10 ml/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 5 ml/1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 50 g/2 oz/4 tsp ghee or unsalted butter
  • 10 ml/2 tsp ginger purée
  • 1 fresh green chilli, chopped (deseeded if preferred)
  • 175 g/6 oz carrots, cut into batons
  • 115 g/4 oz frozen garden peas
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp seedless raisins
  • 15ml/1 tbsp slivered almonds
  • raita, to serve


  1. Wash the rice until the water runs clear, then soak for 20–30 minutes. Drain well.

  2. Soak the saffron in the hot milk and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

  3. Put the rice in a heavy pan and add the steeped saffron with its soaking milk, along with the cinnamon stick and star anise.

  4. Add the milk and pour in 300ml/½ pint/ cups water and half the salt. Bring it to the boil, reduce the heat to very low, cover and cook for 7–8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it stand, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, heat a small, heavy pan over a medium heat, then add the cumin, coriander and peppercorns and dry-roast for about 1 minute, until they release their aroma, stirring constantly.

  6. Remove from the pan and leave to cool, then crush them to a fine powder with a mortar and pestle. Set aside.

  7. Heat half the ghee or butter in a frying pan over a low heat and add the ginger and green chilli. Cook for 1 minute, then add the carrots.

  8. Stir-fry the carrots over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes, then add 50ml/2fl oz/¼ cup water. Cover and cook over a low heat until the carrots are almost tender.

  9. Add the peas, the remaining salt and the ground spices, then cover and cook for 5–6 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  10. Fluff up the rice with a fork and add the cooked vegetables. Using a fork or a flat wooden spoon, stir them around gently to mix the vegetables without breaking them up, then cover the pan.

  11. Melt the remaining ghee or butter over a low heat and add the cloves, cardamom, raisins and almonds. Stir and cook until the cardamom pods and the raisins swell up and the nuts are a light brown colour.

  12. Transfer the pilau to a serving dish and sprinkle the spiced butter evenly on top. Garnish with the cardamom, raisins and almonds. Serve with a raita.


  • Replace the carrot batons with thick strips of pumpkin.

  • Garnish with fried onions instead of cardamom, raisins and almonds.

Per portion Energy 422kcal/1772kJ; Protein 8g; Carbohydrate 63g, of which sugars 12g; Fat 17g, of which saturates 10g; Cholesterol 42mg; Calcium 104mg; Fibre 5.2; Sodium 534mg.