Spring Pea Pilaf
20 Min

Spring Pea Pilaf

There is a short season in Houston when fresh green peas are in season — and now is the time. Thought to have originated in the Himalayan Mountains of northwest India, the environmentally friendly humble green pea is low in calories yet filled with vast amounts of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients, which in turn provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. And best of all, they are delicious, especially when paired with the tender sugar snap peas. A pea pilaf is as common in India as mashed potatoes in the United States. We eat it with a simple dal for dinner or on its own with plain yogurt. It’s best made with white basmati rice, an unpolished aged long grain rice native to the Himalayan foothills of India.

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Cook Time

20 Minutes



Step 1
Rinse the rice in cold tap water 2 to 3 times. Soak in water for an hour and up to 4 hours and drain.
Step 2
Heat olive oil in a stockpot and pop the cumin seeds. Immediately add the onion and turn the heat down to medium to let the onion soften and slightly caramelize for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 3
Add rice, 1 1/2 cups water, salt, cinnamon and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then put a lid on the stockpot and turn the heat down. Cook for another 5 to 6 minutes until rice is almost done and add serrano chile, green peas, sugar snap peas, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 4
Turn the heat off and let the pilaf rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff the rice and garnish with mint and pistachios.
1 cup white long-grain basmati rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup fine diced white onion
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cinnamon stick
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon minced serrano chile
1 cup fresh green peas
1 cup sugar snap peas, cut diagonally
1/4 cup chopped mint
1 tablespoon crushed pistachios

Notes & Variations

  • True basmati rice with a depth of flavor and complexity comes from India — there are plenty of imposter brands, so beware.
  • Substitute frozen green peas for fresh peas.
20 Min

You know those dishes you wish you could eat for every meal?

This is one of them. A dal is simply a generic word for any split lentils, peas, or beans cooked with spices and seasonings. Try these out to pair with your Spring Pea Pilaf!