Spicy and full of veggies, Mumbai’s Tawa Pulao is a popular street food from India. It’s a simple dish which can be ready in minutes. Works perfectly for those days when you want something quick and easy for lunch or dinner!
Today I am sharing with you the recipe of Mumbai’s popular street food – Tawa Pulao. For those who don’t know here’s the literal translation. Tawa refers to a flat concave shaped pan commonly used in Indian cooking. We use it all the time to make roti, paratha etc. And pulao as you would have guessed is pilaf. Any spiced rice dish with vegetables/meat is refereed to as pulao. So this pulao is made on a tawa and hence called tawa pulao. It’s spicy, loaded with veggies and really delicious! If you have been to Mumbai, chances are you must have eaten this dish. It might not be as popular as pav bhaji or vada pav but it’s still very popular there! I am not from Mumbai but whenever I go there, I make sure that I eat a big plate of tawa pulao.
Now I didn’t use a tawa to make this at home. In Mumbai, the street vendors have really huge tawa on which they make this pulao however at home, I used my wok to make this. It tastes delicious either way!
This recipe has a long story associated with it. Few months back my friend Connie from Spring & Flours (make sure to check out her awesome blog!) asked me to post a recipe for Tawa Pulao. I have always loved this dish and when she asked me to post the recipe, I was like yeah let’s make it right away and I actually did make it right away! I cooked, clicked and then I realized that I didn’t like the rice that I used in that recipe. The taste and everything was good but the texture of rice didn’t make me happy. And so I decided not to post it. And then I got busy with the move/travelling/family visits and somehow never ended up making it again. Not until last week when I made it again for a friend!
I wanted to make a quick lunch and tawa pulao was the first thing that came to my mind. But I have to confess that the recipe was again not going to make it to the blog, but it somehow did! That’s because I had only 10 minutes to click the pictures before my friend came. So I think I clicked these pictures in 2 minutes flat with whatever random I could think of at that time. I really wanted to put this recipe on my blog this time and so here it is!
There are 2 important things to get the authentic tawa pulao taste
1. Use butter in the recipe. Yes you can use oil but butter adds so much flavor and it’s what mostly street food vendors in Mumbai use to make this dish.
2. Use pav bhaji masala. This masala is a mix of a number of spices and you can easily find it any Indian grocery stores. Pav bhaji masala is what gives tawa pulao it’s authentic taste so do use it!
You can use any rice to make tawa pulao. I used basmati rice because that’s what I normally use for all my pulao. You need to have cooked rice ready to go in this recipe.
Melt butter in a pan on medium heat. I used salted butter here as it’s most common in India, you can very well use unsalted butter too. Once the butter is melted and hot, add cumin seeds and let them sizzle. At this point add ginger garlic paste.
Also add the sliced green chili and cook the ginger garlic paste till there’s no raw smell. This may take 2-3 minutes. It’s important to cook ginger garlic paste till the raw smell goes away else it effects the final taste of the dish.
Add finely chopped onion next and cook till they start turning light brown in color.
Add chopped tomato and mix till well combined. Cook it for a minute or so.
Add salt, pav bhaji masala and mix. Also add the carrot and green peas. I used frozen carrots and peas.
Cook the tawa masala for 4-5 minutes till tomatoes are all mushy and done and oil starts oozing out of the mixture.
Add cooked rice to the tawa masala and mix till all the rice is well coated with the masala.
Cook for a minute and then add chopped green pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes. You want the peppers to remain crunchy.
Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice, mix and garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.
Tawa pulao tastes best with some raita on the side. My favorite is boondi raita, yum!!
* You can add other veggies in the pulao too like potatoes, beans and spring onions.
* To make the dish vegan, skip the butter and use oil.
- 3 cups cooked rice [i used basmati]
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
- 1-2 green chili, sliced in half
- 1 red onion, medium, finely chopped
- ¼ cup green peas
- ¼ cup carrot
- 1 to mato, medium, chopped
- ½ cup chopped green pepper
- 2 teaspoons pav bhaji masala
- juice of half lemon [ a large lemon]
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- salt, to taste
- Melt butter in a pan on medium heat. Once the butter is melted and hot, add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
- At this point add ginger garlic paste, sliced green chili and cook the ginger garlic paste till there's no raw smell. This may take 2-3 minutes.
- Add finely chopped onion next and cook till they start turning light brown in color.
- Add chopped tomato and mix till well combined. Cook it for a minute or so.
- Add salt, pav bhaji masala and mix. Also add the carrot and green peas. I used frozen carrots and peas.
- Cook the tawa masala for 4-5 minutes till tomatoes are all mushy and done and oil starts oozing out of the mixture.
- Add cooked rice to the tawa masala and mix till all the rice is well coated with the masala.
- Cook for a minute and then add chopped green pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes. You want the peppers to remain crunchy.
- Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice, mix and garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.