Gluten Free/ Indian/ Rice & Grains/ Vegan/ Vegetables/ Vegetarian

Pea Pulav 

When I was six months pregnant my then husband and I traveled to the Detroit area to hand-deliver a product to a customer that had become a friend.  We had never met him or his wife but had several business transactions over several years. When we all met face to face, it was kindred spirits meeting, hitting it off immediately.
 Staying with them was wonderful.  Gita is an excellent cook and taught me how to make several Indian dishes while I was there.  I even got the opportunity to share some of my own cooking with her.  The only downside for me was they are vegetarians.  My gastric bypass surgery has made it so I am dependent on animal protein and become weak and ill without it.  Being pregnant made it even more crucial for to have meat protein.  My daughter took all my food.After the end of the second full day of being with them, which consisted of six meals with no animal protein, I was feeling the loss.  It was late in the evening when I had no choice but to leave in search of some kind of protein.  I did not want to run to the grocery store, buy meat, and cook it in their home.  I felt that would be utterly disrespectful, so I found myself at a Subway of all places.  I laugh now, but it was all we could find open at 10 pm in the suburbs.Before this point, vegetarian food was abstract.  Even before my surgery, I ate meat with every meal.  It was rare for me not to.  I am a carnivore and have no shame in that.  This experience with Gita and Ravi opened my eyes to the depth of flavor and variety to vegetarian cooking and eating.  While I can never be a vegetarian, my respect for the cuisine has grown immensely. Besides gaining a respect of a vegetarian diet, I was able to overcome my fear of Indian cooking.  Yes, the spice list is usually a mile long, but the food itself is rather quick and easy to cook.Pea Paluv is a dish that Gita taught me to make.  Her directions were vague where spice amounts were concerned.  I made some adaptations for easier cooking like using already ground spices.  When I have the time and want to be fancy, I will toast my own cumin and grind it in my mortar and pestle.  I hope I have been true and faithful to what she taught me years ago.  Thanks Gita.

Pea Pulav 

Author: Michelle De La Cerda


  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 1 can (2 cups) vegetable broth (chicken is just fine too, it just won’t be vegan)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 jalapeno; finely diced (seeded and deveined for less heat)
  • 2 onions; sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic; minced/grated
  • 1 tsp ground cumin +/-
  • ½ tsp garam masala +/-
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a medium size sauté pan, heat some olive oil and add the sliced onions and caramelize the on medium-low heat. 
  2. It will take roughly 45 minutes for them to cook.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. 
  4. Once the oil is hot, add minced garlic and the chili. 
  5. Cook for just a minute and add the peas. 
  6. Cook the peas for about two minutes and add the rice. 
  7. Keep stirring until the rice turns opaque (lighter white), about 5 minutes.
  8. Then add the turmeric, cumin, salt, pepper and garam malasa. 
  9. Stir well, allowing the spices to incorporate into the rice. 
  10. Add the two cups of water and two cups of broth to the pan. 
  11. Let it cook, the rice will increase in size. 
  12. Let it cook on a high simmer (medium-low heat) for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  13. Taste for salt and pepper. 
  14. Gently fold in the onions and serve.
pp collage

Thank you for sharing!

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  • Reply
    Katie @ Pearls + Girls
    July 11, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I adore peas, this looks delicious, Michelle!

    • Reply
      July 12, 2014 at 1:34 am

      I’m right there with you Katie, I love them too!

  • Reply
    Healing Tomato
    August 17, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    I love this recipe. Pea pulav is a staple around my home, especially for Sunday Brunch. I followed your recipe this time and it was perfect!

    • Reply
      August 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      I really can’t take credit for this recipe. It belongs to my friend Gita. She’s a wonderful who was willing to share with me. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Reply
    Robyn @ simply fresh dinners
    October 8, 2014 at 6:58 am

    I have never heard of Pea Pulav let alone make it but I love discovering new, healthy dishes and I will definitely try it. The spices look fantastic and I love peas so it must be perfectly delish!

    • Reply
      October 18, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Thank you Robyn, It’s a simple Indian dish. Full of flavor and such a pretty color.

  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    March 12, 2015 at 2:11 am

    I consider myself curry’s biggest fan (I may have been friends with someone in high school purely because they had a legit tandoor oven in their backyard!). This looks so good, I’d love it by itself or with some extra curry!

    • Reply
      March 12, 2015 at 11:24 am

      No judgement for being a friend based on having a legit tandoor oven…I might have done the same.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2015 at 6:18 am

    The turmeric really makes the peas pop in this dish–it looks terrific. I have started to can my own stock with my new toy pressure canner, and I’ll need to remember to have pints and quarts for uses such as this.

    • Reply
      March 12, 2015 at 11:26 am

      I want a new toy, er pressure canner too!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    What a great mix of spices!

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