Peas and lemon pulao – Peela pulao.

lemon and peas pulao. peela pulao, indian vegetarian dinner .
Like any other household, we have opposite poles in ours too.  Onion haters and onion lovers,  pilaf hoggers and lemon rice diggers!! When it gets crazy busy it is also the time, you don’t want to make a lot of dishes.  Just want to make a quick version of an Indian vegetarian dinner,  one pot that satisfies all. With these in mind began my kitchen trials. One of the best experiments which seem to please all the palates of the house and the guests is a mix-up of two classic but very different recipes. The baby of the North Indian mutter pulao and the South Indian Lemon rice is this Peas and lemon pulao. This peela pulao seemed to satisfy both parties in my house and was raved at a recent get-together. 

Why is this pulao so good?

I have a few good reasons why this pulao hits the yummy notes quickly. Pulao is that Indian dish that is mildly spiced and adapts quickly to a variety of vegetables. It also pairs really well with any combination of sauces gravies or salads that you put together. Lemon rice on the other hand is one favourite of the South Indians. There is no escape from the heartwarming yellow colour and the refreshing lemon flavour. So, combining these two makes it a perfect match. 

If you are looking from a health perspective, it is a good balance of fibre with the peas along with the rice. It also is not heavily oily or spicy. Hence easy to pair with other curries and raithas. If from a time perspective, frozen peas cook real fast and leftover rice can me your mid-week dinner far easier than you imagined. 

Check out the ingredients and the cooking steps in this recipe card. Also, use the link on the recipe card to pin it to your favourite board. 

rice with lemon and peas

Peas and lemon rice

The gluten free baby of Mattar pulao and elumachai saadam.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine diabetic friendly, Fusion, gluten free, Indian, Kids choice, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 4 people
Calories 870 kcal


  • 3 cups rice cooked, basmathi


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 small star anise
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger root grated
  • 2 tbsp Onion sliced
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
  • salt to taste.

To stir in

  • 1 tbsp dry mint
  • 2-3 tbsp Lemon juice
  • salt to taste


  • Fluff the cooked rice and set aside to cool in a mixing bowl.
  • Set a large frying pan on medium heat. Add in the cumin seeds and mustard seeds to sizzle.
  • Followed by the whole spices, onion slices, ginger, chillies, curry leaves and saute gently till the onions turn translucent.
  • Add in the peanuts and saute for a minute.
  • Add the frozen peas, salt and saute for 3-4 minutes. ( dont add a lot of salt as the rice is cooked with salt already).
  • Remove from heat and add the turmeric powder
  • Add this mixture to the mixing bowl with the rice.
  • Add in the lemon juice, salt and mix gently without mashing the rice.
  • Sprinkle crushed dry mint.
  • Serve warm with the curries and papads in the suggestions below.




Serving: 200gCalories: 870kcalCarbohydrates: 157gProtein: 23gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gSodium: 487mgPotassium: 234mgFiber: 12gSugar: 4g
Keyword Indian vegetarian dinner, rice salad recipes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Planning an Indian vegetarian dinner with this pulao. 

This recipe has actually reached a number of people along with the lemongrass and peas sundal. It has become one of the most asked for lunch box recipes too as it is wholesome as it is. If you are planning a gathering with an Indian vegetarian dinner here are a few visually stimulating ideas. 

Option 1 – pair this lemon pulao with whole baked cauliflower, crispy leeks pakora and curried avocado.

Option 2 – Pair this peela pulao with Vegetable vindaloo, cooling cucumber raita and sago fryums.

Option 3 – Pile up this peas lemon pulao on the serving dish with sheek kebabs on top. On the side serve khatti meethi imli ki chutney and spicy hari chutney.

Finish up the dinner with a sweet potato kheer and kaju katli. Don’t forget the mukhwas at the end to help through the digestion.

Trying to make a quick vegetable raitha? check this video to help you out.


Frequently asked questions about this pulao.

This is one of the most travelled recipes on this blog. Significantly it is also one that gets a few different questions about it. Here is a couple of FAQ’s that may be helpful.

What rice do I use in this lemon and peas Pulao?

I have chosen basmati rice for this pulao. I love the long-grain brown basmathi to make this as I like the fragrance of it. I have made this recipe with, Sonamasoori, Keerakashala and Govindbhog rice as well. If you ask me to pick one, I will still pick the basmati to make it. 

Is the peela pulao good with other grains?

This is a fusion recipe so you can play around with it a lot. We have tested this recipe with barnyard millet, proso millet, quinoa, buckwheat, broken farro and vermicelli. Personally, I liked the quinoa and the proso millet better than the others.

What type of peas to use in this lemon pulao?

This is one of my quick go-to recipes. So. I choose the comfort of frozen peas. You could make it with fresh peas when in season. Blanch the peas before you add to this recipe so it is cooked through. If using dried peas, soak 1/3 cup of peas in excess of water ( say 3- 5 cups) for about 5 hours. Drain and cook these peas with more water till it is cooked through but retains a bite. Add this in the place of frozen peas.

Hope you like the recipe and will let us know in the comments or by emailing us. Join us as we proceed through this exciting food journey by subscribing. Tag us @mildlyindian or #mildlyindian when you make this peas and lemon pulao. Let us know what your family and friends think about it. See you at the next post. 
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Poonam Bachhav
6 years ago

Most of the time evenmy left over rice is used in a similar manner in stir fries….makes life easy and a falvorful lunch is ready ????

Kristen Wood
2 years ago

My family loved this!! We can’t wait to make it again. 🙂

2 years ago
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My mother-in-law makes a delicious lemon rice, but I have never tried making it myself. Your recipe has inspired me to give it a try! Thanks for sharing!

2 years ago
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Such a delicious rice dish! Love the lemony flavor and the peas. Thanks for the amazing recipe!

2 years ago

This recipe has so much that I love in it. The flavors all blend together so well. Thanks for the great recipe.

Megan Ellam
2 years ago

This is my kind of food! Thanks for sharing such a delicious reicpe.

Uma Raghupathi
2 years ago
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Yes, I agree that this pairs really well with any combination of sauces gravies or salads. I love this puloa.

Mayuri Patel
2 years ago
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Hubby and I are planning to enjoy our dinner at the park tomorrow and was thinking what to make that is filling and delicious. It is going to be this super tempting peas and lemon pulao as it will taste good even if it is a bit cold.

hem lata srivastava
hem lata srivastava
2 years ago
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This is my type of food.
When I’m alone and have to cook for myself then I usually I make peas pulao but never had added lemon in my pulao. Next I will surely try your version.

Amrita Roy
Amrita Roy
2 years ago
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Love the concept of two varieties of rice in one and tried this recipe last week. It came out perfect and everyone praised it.

3 months ago
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Love this North South fusion lemon green peas rice!! With peanuts and green peas, this is a nice variation to both traditional lemon rice and peas pulao.

2 months ago
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oh I am so digging this, Seema. truly a match of the South and North and a dish for my munchkin’s lunchbox too – win win win !!

2 months ago
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I am making this peas lemon rice I am making extra rice. will make some tonight for dinner. Perfect onepot meal.

Priya Srinivasan
2 months ago
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I love quick to make meals like this seema. Love how you have paired lemon flavor into this delish matar pulao. I made this for our lunch today, it came together very quick and we enjoyed it with a simple boondi raita and some chips. Delish share, another fab recipe added to my list of easy to make meals.

Priya Vj
2 months ago
Rating :

I make peas lemon rice the traditional tambrahm way .tomoro I am planning to make the same with your method of adding whole garam masala in Tadka and give it a briyani/pulao feel 🙂

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