Wash rice by rinsing in cold water. Then soak in cold water for about 30 minutes. Drain.
In a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onion is tender. Add garlic, and saute for about a minute. Add cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Saute for another minute and add the rice. Saute until rice is translucent and begins to brown. Add water, bay leaf and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, for about 10 minutes. Most of the water will evaporate and steam holes will show through rice.
Add peas, but do not stir. Cover tightly and let simmer for 5 minutes more. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, covered.
Prepare the raita: In a bowl whisk together the yogurt, cucumber, mint, cumin, chili powder and salt and pepper.
Uncover the pilaf, season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf, cloves and cinnamon stick. Turn pilaf out onto a serving platter and pour half of the raita over rice. Pass remaining raita.
Recipe Courtesy of Curtis Aikens