Beyond Curry: Basmati Rice and Pea Pilaf (Peas Pulao)
Almost every meal I remember fondly has had rice playing a significant role in it. Like most Indians, I have it every day. Sometimes three times a day. And in all this time, never once have I ever tired of it. The countless rice recipes in Indian cuisine and the various side-dishes that rice plays a perfect canvas to probably have something to do with it.
Families usually buy rice by the sack full. A few hundred pounds to last the year. And a lot of care is taken to source the perfectly aged grain. The older it is, the better. The last few weeks have seen the cool winds recede and the heat making itself comfortable. Summer is here. Which means only one thing: The last harvest of fresh peas needs to find a way to my table before I have to settle for the frozen ones through the rest of the year.
With plenty of rice at hand, I thought there's no better way to say farewell to these emerald morsels than with Mutter Pulao (rice cooked with peas). The subtle, fragrant spices coat the rice, and the peas add a wonderful sweet burst to the dish.
It's a recipe full of nostalgia for me, because we'd eat it often as children. My brother and I would hastily pick out the succulent peas as soon as the pulao was served and each of us would vie for the bigger haul, when no one was looking.
All sibling rivalry would be forgotten as soon as we started eating, of course. It's one of those dishes that make you too happy to snitch.
So tonight, Peas Pulao it is. Yet another meal to reminisce.
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About the author: Denise Dsilva Sankhe is a writer & creative director by profession. But that's only when she isn't eating her way across India. She recreates this delicious cuisine in her Mumbai home, which she shares with her newly-married husband, who has long since given up his determination to have salads for dinner.