Bhopali Pilaf with Peas and Carrots

This is from A Taste of India by Madhur Jaffrey, but she in turn acknowledges Naheed Anees for this particular variation of a common dish in the area.

The photo: honestly. Close your eyes. Imagine a bowl of cooked rice with bits of orange and green in it. Isn’t that enough?


Basmati rice: 450 ml in a measuring cup
1.5″ cube of ginger peeled and chopped
6-8 large cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
4 tblsp ghee (or oil)
4 cloves*
3 green cardamom pods*
1″ stick of cinnamon*
2 bay leaves*
1/4 teasp black cumin seeds*
1/2″ piece of whole mace*
medium onion peeled, cut lengthwise in half and then cut into very fine half-rings
2 small carrots peeled and chopped into about pea-sized pieces
1 cup of peas, fresh or defrosted
salt to taste


Wash the rice and then soak it for half an hour. Drain for half an hour.

Put the ginger, garlic and 1 tblsp water in a blender, turn to paste.

Heat the oil in a heavy pan over a med-high heat. When very hot put in the whole spices (I have marked them). Stir once, put in onion slices and fry until they are reddish-brown. This takes quite a while and can’t be made quicker. Add the ginger-garlic and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the carrots and peas, stir to thoroughly mix. Add the rice and salt. Making sure the rice doesn’t burn – lower the heat as necessary – stir for 2-3 minutes. Next add 600ml water and bring to the boil. Cover, turn heat to very low and cook for 25 minutes.

The perfume of even such a small amount of black cumin makes a big impact on this dish.

I use chicken stock instead of water and salt if I have it to hand.

This is a lovely rice accompaniment, but good enough to eat almost on its own, for example with yoghurt and tomato. I’ll add that recipe soon.


2 thoughts on “Bhopali Pilaf with Peas and Carrots

    • Hi Naheed. Well, not a typo, but this: she says ‘drain thoroughly’. In other rice recipes of hers I use where the rice is to be fried before liquid is added, she specifies thirty minutes, so for my own reference I’ve turned ‘drain thoroughly’ into an amount of time. I hope that is a sensible thing to do!


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