Matar Chawal – Rice With Green Peas Pulao

Matar Chawal, which means green pea rice is an essential sundry in Pakistani cuisines. This simple rice dish is packed with piquant flavour from whole spices with some delicate sweetness of green peas.

Matar Chawal the Pakistani rice dish with green peas on a round dish.

Matar Chawal

Comfortingly delicious is what this Matar Chawal is about. A humble, healthy rice dish that you can make in no time.

Matar Chawal, which means green pea rice, is essential in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. This simple rice dish is packed with piquant flavor from whole spices with some delicate sweetness of green peas.

It’s the homely dish that most households make now and again. And mine is included.

This rice dish is a simplified form of pulao/ pilau rice. 

That means it uses a few similar whole spices and the same cooking method. But it doesn’t take as much time or as ingredients to make. 

Matar Chawal the Pakistani rice dish with green peas.

Humble Ingredients for Flavoursome Rice Dish

I call it humble ingredients, as rice and green peas are the most essential for the dish. Yet, both are relatively easy and readily available for most people.

When it comes to green peas, you can either use the fresh peas from the pods or frozen peas. Undoubtedly, the fresh ones will give a superior taste and flavor. However, you can also put the frozen peas with equally delicious Matar Chawal. 

Now, as for spices, the dish will only need six of them. Brown/ yellow onion, whole cumin seeds, whole black peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon quill and black cardamom seeds.

You will also need a little bit of cooking oil. You can choose any neutral oil that you prefer. I usually use rapeseed, sunflower, or light olive oil. 

And for the salt, I have been using Himalayan salt these days. I find its level of saltiness is a little more intense than the table salt, but not that much. So feel free to use whichever salt you like and adjust to your taste. 

Easy Way to Make Matar Chawal

As mentioned above, you make this rice dish with green peas the same way you cook pilau rice, such as chicken pilau rice or vegetable pilau rice.  

In short, there are three steps you have to go through.

Firstly, you fry the onion until it becomes soft and translucent. Then you add in the whole spices and fry for a few minutes until they release the aroma. After that, you put in the rice and let it fry for a minute or two as you keep stirring it.

photo collage of frying the chopped onion and whole spices.

Let me pause here.

Some people prefer the color of finished rice to be slightly brown, just like pilau rice. If you are one of them, you must fry the onions until golden brown. The darker the onion, the browner your matar pulao will be. If you prefer that, add the boiling water and let it simmer for a few minutes before adding the rice and the peas.

However, if you’re not bothered about the rice color, add the rice to the fried spice and fry for a minute before adding the boiling water. Let it simmer for a few minutes before you put the rice in.

Then add the frozen peas to cook with the rice until all the liquid evaporates. If you use fresh green peas, add them towards the end just before all the water evaporates, as we know that fresh peas do not cook for long.

photo collage of boiling rice with green peas.

Lastly, once all the water has gone, put the pan lid on (lined with a kitchen towel or tea towel) and turn the heat to the lowest. Leave the rice to cook until the steam comes out between the lid. It takes approximately 3-5 minutes to steam the rice.

photo collage of Matar Chawal.

Top Tips for Best Tasting Green Peas Pulao Rice

  • Soak the rice for at least 20 minutes before cooking. The rice will look ready when the grains turn white, opaque, and slightly longer.
  • Use a colander or a large sieve to drain the rice so there won’t be much water left in it.
  • Make sure you fry the onion until it is fully cooked and becomes soft so it gives a better aroma. 
  • Boil the water/ stock before you add the rice. 

Storing Matter

Technically, you can always freeze your food and keep it for about two months. It applies to this matar chawal as well. 

If you want to keep and freeze your rice with green peas, ensure it is completely cooled down and at temperature before putting it in a tight-lidded food container. And store it in your freezer. 

When you need it, keep it in the fridge overnight to thaw. Once the rice has thawed it should be eaten within a few days.

As for storing in the refrigerator/ fridge, this rice will be fine for about 5 days. Provided it is kept in a tight-lid food container. 

The best way to reheat the rice is by steaming it before serving it. But you can always use the microwave if you prefer. 

Pakistani Matar Chawal the rice with green peas in a round white dish with green flower pattern.

Recipes That Go Well With Matar Pulao

Thank you for checking this Matar Chawal recipe. I hope you are now intrigued to try it out. When you do, I would appreciate it if you could share your thoughts in the comments below.

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest to sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Before you go, don’t forget to check my other recipes that will go well with this rice dish.

Thank you and all the best.

Matar Chawal the Pakistani rice dish with green peas on a round dish.
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4.50 from 4 votes

Matar Chawal – Green Peas Pulao Rice in Pakistani Style

Matar Chawal, which means green pea rice is an essential sundry in Pakistani cuisines. This simple rice dish is packed with piquant flavour from whole spices with some delicate sweetness of green peas.
Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Pakistani
Servings: 4


  • Mixing bowls.
  • Cooking pan with lid.
  • Colander
  • Kitchen knife
  • Chopping board


  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice.
  • ½ small brown onion finely chopped.
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds.
  • 2 black cardamom seeds.
  • 1- inch cinnamon stick/ quill.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns.
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt see the note.
  • ½ cup green peas fresh or frozen.
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil.
  • 2 ¼ cups hot boiling water from the kettle.


  • Wash and rinse the rice several times. Then soak with plenty of water. Set aside
  • Heat the oil in a cooking pan, then place the chopped onion in. Fry until the onion turns soft and translucent. 
  • Add the whole spices in and cook further for a few minutes until it all release aroma.
  • Drain the rice using a colander or a large sieve. Then carefully add it in the spices. Toss around and stir fry for a few minutes. 
  • Carefully pour in the hot boiling water to the rice. Give it a good stir to make sure there is no grain sticking on the bottom of the pan.
  • Then add the frozen peas.
  • Cook at medium-high heat. You can put the lid on to quicken the process until the water reboils. Once it reaches the boiling point again, take the cover off. And stir the rice every now and again. So the rice will not get stuck on the sides or bottom of the pan.
  • Leave it to cook until all the liquid evaporates. Then turn the heat to low. Line the lid with a tea towel or a kitchen towel and put it back on the pan. Cook further at low heat until steam comes out. 
  • When it starts, let it steams for a few minutes before you turn the heat off. Leave the lid on until all the steam has gone before you open the lid and serve the rice.


  • I use Himalayan pink salt these days for health reasons. If you don’t have it, you can always use any salt you prefer. And you can put it according to your taste, although ½ teaspoon is enough for this recipe. Do adjust to your liking if you need to. 
  • If you use fresh green peas, add them before the water evaporates completely as they cook quite quickly.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 199mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g


Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

Author: Devy Dar

Title: Food Writer, Recipe Developer, and Digital Content Creator.


Devy Dar founded So Yummy Recipes and Drizzling Flavor to share her love of food after exploring various cultures and cuisines for more than two decades. Her mission is to help others easily recreate traditional and non-traditional food with readily available ingredients. Her works have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Al Jazeera, MSN, Yahoo, Bon Appetit, and more. 

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  1. Hi Devy. A question – the recipe says 2 cardamom seeds, but the photograph shows a whole pod. Should I be deseeding the pod? I only ask because black and brown cardamoms pack quite a punch in terms of flavour. I love green cardamoms though and often use more than suggested. Many thanks.

    1. Hi Susan, for Matar Chawal we don’t use green cardamom. Only black cardamoms. And you don’t have to deseed them. Apologies for late response.

  2. Dana Wong says:

    4 stars
    Recipe looks tasty and easy, but I have reviewed directions several times and it doesn’t say when to add the peas. I think if I put them in with the rice they would get mushy and overcooked. Any hints?

    1. Thank you so much for pointing this out. I have amended both the post and the recipe card. Apologies for the confusion. I hope you’d still try the recipe out :-). All the best.

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