Vatane Bhat- the truly scrumptious Pilaf from Maharashtra. A family recipe

  • Servings : 3-4
  • Prep Time : 10m
  • Cook Time : 15m
  • Ready In : 25m

When we were kids, my Mom used to make various kinds of pulaos and biryanis.

That was the era when lifesaving packets of frozen peas weren’t available and one only got vegetables when they were in season.

When beautiful green peas would start making their appearance in the market, this was one of the recipes that she always made.

Spicy and often served with raita, this recipe is uncomplicated and will be a hit at parties.

Another  must-have in your party food collection.


Main Ingredients

Rice, preferably Basmati- 1 cup

Green Peas- fresh or frozen- 3/4 cup

Onions, finely chopped

For the Paste:

Coriander, fresh- leaves and stalk- 1/2 cup

Mint leaves- fresh- 1/8 cup, a couple of sprigs (optional)

Green chillies- 1-2

Garlic, cloves- 3

Ginger- 1 inch

For the tempering:

Bay leaves- 2-3

Cinnamon- 1 inch


Cardamom- 3

Peppercorn- 8

Cumin seeds (Jeera)- 1 tsp

Asafoetida (hing)- 1 pinch

Ghee- 2 tsp Oil- 1 tsp ( optional)

Remaining Ingredients:

Hot water- 2 1/2 cups

Salt- to taste

Sugar- 1/2 tsp


1. Wash and rinse the rice till the water runs clear. Drain and leave aside for about 30 minutes. I would really really recommend using Basmati rice for making pulaos and biryanis.

Use any brand that you get, even the supermarket brand will do,  but I have one small request. Please do not substitute American Long grain rice for Basmati. Never ever.

2. Get the green peas out of the freezer and thaw them.

3. Make a paste of the ingredients for the green masala. Keep aside.

4. Get all the ingredients for the tempering together in one plate. Heat the ghee in a wok. My Mum preferred just ghee in this recipe, because of course, it makes a world of difference to the dish, but do add a tsp of oil to it, to prevent it from burning.

5. When the ghee is hot, add in the ingredients for the tempering, starting with the cinnamon, cardamom( slightly opened), peppercorns and bay leaves all thrown in together. You will find the spices to have slightly expanded in size. Now quickly add in the cumin seeds and the asafoetida. These are the ones that burn fastest and will completely sabotage your dish if so. So, they go in right at the end.

6. In 10 seconds, add in the onions. Saute until they are soft.

7. Add in the green paste and saute for 5 minutes.

8. Now, add in the drained rice. Fry gently. Ensure that the grains get completely covered in all that beautiful masala. Do take care not to break the grains of rice. I would recommend using a wooden spoon to stir, rather than a steel one, it is much kinder to the soaked rice grains, which are now quite brittle.

9.Now add in the peas. Fry with the rice for 2-3 minutes.

10. Add the hot water. Please ensure that you put hot water only, the reason being that the rice mixture is hot. If you add cold water at this stage, it will cause the rice to break and become sticky. What you do not want in a pulao or Biryani is for the rice to stick. That is the purpose of using Basmati rice- it is fragrant and the grains, do not stick to each other when cooked. But this is only achieved by this small trick.

11. Bring to the boil, then reduce the flame, cover with a lid and let cook for 14 – 15 minutes. Switch off the gas. Let sit for another 5 minutes, allowing all the remaining moisture if any, to dry up.

12. If making in the microwave, put in a large bowl, glass or plastic, and after adding in the hot water, cook for 12-15 minutes. Adjust the time according to your microwave.

Best served with raita.


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