Mumbai's famous Tawa Pulao recipe | Learn how to make Tawa Pulao loaded with vegetables and flavours.
Tawa Pulao is one of the best way to use leftover rice. It is a crowd pleaser and even kids love it. You can make it for weekday dinner, parties or potlucks. You can make it less spicy and pack for your kids lunch box.
- What is Tawa Pulao
- Mumbai's Street Food
- Ingredients to make Tawa Pulao
- How to make Tawa Pulao
- Serving Suggestions
- More recipes with of Fried rice and Pulao form the blog
- Recipe Card for Tawa Pulao
- Mumbai's Tawa Pulao
What is Tawa Pulao
Tawa Pulao is spicy rice loaded with veggies and flavors. It is a popular street food from Mumbai and also served in fine dine-ins and restaurants.
It is steamed rice cooked with vegetables in butter with special spice mix, Pav Bhaji. Sine the street food vendors make it on big griddles or tawa, it is known as Tawa Pulao.
Mumbai's Street Food
I had my first taste of this spicy treat years back when I was a teenager and visited Mumbai for the first time at Mumbai's famous, Juhu Beach. There you can find endless stalls serving various food items like Bhel Puri, Pav Bhaji, Vada Pav and Tawa Pulao along with other Chaat(snack) items or fast food items.
We had heard so much about Pav Bhaji and Vada Pav that we were eager to taste these and we relished too but what came as surprise to us was this Tawa Pulao, a spicy treat full of flavors. The overcrowded beach, the noise of the waves and the spicy treat of Pav Bhaji and Tawa Pulao is my first memory of Mumbai and of course Kala Khatta who can forget that!! After the spicy treat, we had something similar to Ice-Cone known as Kala Khatta Gola.. a sweet and tangy shaved ice cone!!
Years later when we lived in Mumbai there I learned to make Pav Bhaji, Tawa Pulao the street style from one of the neighbouring vendor who sold one of the Pav Bhaji and Tawa Pulao in that area.
Related: Instant Pot Pav Bhaji Recipe
Ingredients to make Tawa Pulao
Rice- To make Tawa Pulao long grain Basmati rice is used. Like any fried rice recipe, it is better to use leftover or a day old rice. The rice should be dry and without any moisture. You can use fresh steamed rice also, but cool it completely and refrigerate it for 1-2 hrs, so that the extra moisture dries up.
Pav Bhaji /Masala/Spice mix- It is a special spice blend/mix of spices that gives a characteristic taste to Pav Bhaji and Tawa Pulao. You can buy from store or make it at home. My prefered brands for Pav Bhaji Masala are Badshah, Everest and MDH.
Butter- It is one of the main taste enhancer for Tawa Pulao and Pav Bhaji. You can skip adding it if you are a vegan or on a fat control diet.
Garlic Chilli Chutney- The street food vendors use a special garlic chilli chutney in the recipe. This chutney is made with garlic and whole dry red chillies(kashmiri/byadgi chillies) and is also used in various other chaat and street food preparations. Kashmiri chilli variety is not very spicy and add a bright red color to the dishes. It is optional and you may skip it if you don't want to use it.
Vegetables- You can use any vegetables of your choice. I prefer adding bell peppers, peas, carrot, corn kernels, cabbage and potatoes. I also like to add some finely chopped/grated beetroot. It adds a nice color to pulao.
You can also add chopped green beans, cauliflower, broccoli etc. In the recipe here, I have not added potatoes but you can add one boiled and cubed potato.
Others- Onion, Tomatoes, Ginger Garlic paste, Tomato Sauce(store bought), Cumin seeds, Salt, Oil , chopped fresh Coriander.
How to make Tawa Pulao
At home most of us don't have big griddle/tawa. You can make it in a broad pan or even in kadhai.
You can steam vegetables like carrots, peas, beans or keep in hot water for sometime.
- Heat oil and butter in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When seeds crackle, add chopped onions.
- Saute onions for a minute and then add ginger garlic paste. You can add some chopped green chillies also.
- Add chopped tomatoes, capsicum and cook for 1-2 mins. Add tomato sauce, garlic chilli paste. Mix nicely.
- Add pav bhaji masala, salt and mix. You may also 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder.
- Now add the chopped vegetables. Add about 1/4 cup water and cook till the veggies are cooked and have a slight crunch. It will take about 3-4 mins. If you are adding cabbage, add it at last so that it has some crunch.
- Now add rice and mix it with light hands. Do not overmix it. and make it mushy.
- Add chopped coriander leaves and serve hot. Squeeze some lime juice and add a dollop of butter before serving to enhance the taste!!
Make Garlic Chilli chutney(optional)
Make Garlic Chilli chutney if you want to use it in the recipe. Soak 4-5 dry red chillies in lukewarm water for about 10 mins. De-seed chillies before soaking, it makes chutney less spicy. Then grind soaked chillies and garlic to smooth paste. Use 1-2 tbsp in the recipe or as required. Refrigerate the rest and use it in your cooking or check here for the details in Garlic Chilli Chutney for Chaats(link to be updated).
Tawa Pulao makes a filling meal when served with raita, Papad and any salad like Kachumber.
More recipes with of Fried rice and Pulao form the blog
Vegetable Fried Rice(Chinese Style), Rajasthani Kabuli Pulao, Burnt Garlic and Mushroom Fried Rice, Palak Paneer Fried Rice, Instant Pot Mexican Rice, Tomato Rice with Basil, Lemon Rice, Mix. Vegetable Pulao, Broccoli and Mushroom Pulao, Instant Black Beans Pulao, Hara Choliya Pulao and many more..
To make Pulao, vegetables or meat are cooked along with along with rice in spices. It is cooked in pressure cooker or in a pan with lid. To make Tawa pulao, we cook rice separately and then vegetables are cooked in onion tomato masala along with vegetables on a griddle/tawa.
Skip dairy butter and use vegan butter. Use flavourless oil avoid mustard oil or peanut oil.
Recipe Card for Tawa Pulao
Mumbai's Tawa Pulao
- Broad Pan or Kadhai or Griddle/Tawa
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Chopping Board
- 2 Cups Cooked(Steamed Rice)
- 1 Onion Finely chopped
- 2-3 no. Tomatoes chopped
- 1 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
- 1 Carrot Finely chopped
- ½ Capsicum Finely Chopped
- ½ Cup Peas
- ¼ Cup Sweet Corn
- ½ Cup Cabbage
- 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1-2 tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala
- 1-2 tbsp Tomato Sauce not Tomato Ketchup
- 1-2 tbsp Garlic Chilli Paste/Chutney
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Oil
For Garlic Chilli Chutney/Paste
- 4-5 Whole Dry Kashmiri Lal Mirch(Red Chillies)
- 7-8 Garlic Cloves
- In a wide pan/kadhai/tawa heat, heat oil and 1-2 tbsp butter.2-3 tbsp Butter, 1 tsp Oil
- Add cumin seeds, when the seeds crackle add chopped onion saute for a min. then add ginger-garlic paste.1 Onion, 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds, 1 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
- Saute for 2-3 mins. till onions start turning pink.
- Now add chopped tomatoes and capsicum. Cook till romatoes start to soften.2-3 no. Tomatoes, ½ Capsicum
- Also, add tomato sauce and garlic chilli chutney/paste.1-2 tbsp Tomato Sauce, 1-2 tbsp Garlic Chilli Paste/Chutney
- Now add steamed vegetables or add and cook vegetables for 3-4 mins. Add about ¼ cup water to cook vegetables.1 Carrot, ½ Cup Peas, ¼ Cup Sweet Corn
- Vegetables should not be very mushy, there should be some crunch when you taste a bite.
- If adding cabbage add it in the last so that it remains a bit crunchy and not leave water.½ Cup Cabbage
- Now add Pav Bhaji Masala, salt and mix well.1-2 tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala, Salt to taste
- Add cooked rice, mix well but gently.2 Cups Cooked(Steamed Rice)
- Serve hot with an extra dollop of butter,
- Squeeze lime/lemon juice and serve with raita or salad of your choice.
To make Garlic Chilli Chutney
- Soak de-seeed dry chillies in lukewarm water for about 10-20 mins.4-5 Whole Dry Kashmiri Lal Mirch(Red Chillies)
- When the chillies are soft grind to smooth paste with garlic cloves.7-8 Garlic Cloves
- Take about 1-2 tbsp for the recipe and refrigerate the rest in a glass jar with airtight lid.
- Stays good for about 2-3 days.
- You can french beans, cauliflower or boiled potatoes. I have used frozen peas and corn, so I kept these in warm water for a while and then added directly.
- If are making steamed rice for pulao, keep cooked the rice in the refrigerator once it completely cools down, this will prevent sticking of rice grains. Don't overcook the rice, take off from the flame when it is just done. The grains should not be very soft but little grainy when pressed between index finger and thumb.
- Butter adds on to the flavor of Tawa Pulao, you can avoid it if following a low-fat diet or are vegan.
- Tawa Pulao is gluten-free and can be consumed by those who have gluten allergies.
- Garlic Chilli paste is optional but adds more flavour and taste to pulao.
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