In a pan or kadai heat 2 tablespoons ghee.
Add the whole spices cinnamon stick, bay leaf (tej patta), cumin seeds, 2–3 whole cloves, 10-15 black peppercorns 1 mace flower, 1 star anise.
Fry the spices for a few seconds on low to medium-low heat, until they become aromatic. Keep the heat low while frying, be cautious not to burn the spices.
Now, add the sliced onions.
Cook the onions on slow heat till they are golden brown caramelized. Keeping the heat low is the key here. Otherwise, burnt onions can make the matar pulao bitter.
Now add the peas and saute it for another two minutes with the onions
In the end, add the soaked and drained basmati rice and gently stir. Do not over-stir or put too much pressure on the rice grains to prevent the breaking of grain.
Now add hot water and salt it according to your taste.
Add fresh mint leaves and lime juice.
Cover with a lid and keep the heat to low once the mixture comes to a boil.
Cook for 8-9 minutes on low heat.
Switch off the heat and allow the pot or kadai to stand without opening the lid for another 5-7 minutes.
Then take the cover off.
Add fried cashews and it is ready to serve.
Before serving, fluff the rice with a fork. Serve with coriander (cilantro) sprigs of mint leaves as garnish.