Tawa pulao is a popular Mumbai street food made with cooked rice, vegetables, pav bhaji masala powder. It is a variety of Indian pulaos or pilaf that is spicy, flavorful, wholesome and hearty. Vegetarian and gluten free recipe.
Today I am sharing a super easy to make variety rice recipe that you can make in under 20 minutes with cooked rice. If you have leftover rice and chopped vegetables, this tava pulao recipe comes together in even less time.
Cooked basmati rice or any cooked white rice, vegetables, spice powders like turmeric powder, red chilli powder & pav bhaji masala powder are all you need for this simple Mumbai tawa pulao recipe.
This pulao is very delicious, flavorful, spicy and perfect hearty dinner for monsoons. We like it super spicy but you can always reduce the spice powders to make it milder.
Read on to know more about street style tawa pulao recipe, how to make it with step by step photos and possible variations.
About This Recipe
Tawa pulao is a popular Indian street food from Mumbai city of India. It is variety of pulao served by street vendors who also make and sell pav bhaji. This pilaf is delicious mix of cooked rice, assorted vegetables, herbs and spices all seasoned with a unique spice blend called pav bhaji masala powder.
Tawa or tava means a large flat skillet used in Indian cooking for making dosa, rotis and also for toasting pav or bread. Street vendors make this pilaf in the same tawa used for making pav bhaji and hence the name is tava pulao. It is a flat concave shaped pan.
In street side shops this dish is made in a very high heat using a heavy cast iron huge tawa which lends a unique wonderful flavor and taste. At home you can make it as close as possible by using a cast iron pan or tawa.
To make tawa pulao recipe you can use vegetables like carrot, capsicum, green peas, cauliflower, beans, potatoes. Basically you can all the vegetables you use in pav bhaji recipe.
Only special ingredient you need to make tawa pulao is pav bhaji masala powder. It is a dry spice blend made of various whole spices. You can make it at home or use store bought pav bhaji masala powders from MDH, Everest brand etc to make this yummy pulao.
Here is a further breakdown of ingredients to make this recipe.
Ingredients & Substitutes
Unlike regular pulao recipes, you will need cooked and cooled rice for this tawa pulao. We will not cook the rice along with vegetables but quickly toss the cooked rice with sautéed vegetables. Ideally we will use basmati rice for this recipe but you can use any cooked white rice.
Just make sure the rice grains is non sticky with grains separate and cold. If you cook the rice freshly, spread it on a plate and cool for 30 minutes before adding to the vegetables.
We will use chopped carrots, capsicum or bell pepper, onion, beans, green peas for making tawa pulao recipe. We will also add tomatoes for that mild tangy taste and flavor.
Pav Bhaji Masala Powder-
A special spice blend made of various unique Indian spices typically used for making pav bhaji. You can use homemade or store bought powder.
Red Chilli Powder
I like to make this pulao spicy so I use 1 teaspoon full spicy red chili powder. For a milder pulao you can just use 1/2 teaspoon. For a milder pulao with vibrant color go for Kashmiri red chilli powder. You can also use paprika.
A pinch for flavor and taste. We will not use any other spice powders like garam masala powder or coriander powder for this recipe.
Ginger Garlic Paste
Use freshly minced ginger and garlic or store bought ginger garlic paste. If using store bought paste
We will also need few more regular ingredients used in Indian cooking like cumin seeds, green chilies, lemon juice, chopped cilantro or coriander leaves, salt and water.
How To Make Tawa Pulao Recipe
Pick, soak and rinse 1 cup basmati rice thoroughly. You can use any long grain rice or regular white rice too. Add water according to the type of rice used.
Cook rice in open pot or pressure cooker or instant pot. The rice should be non sticky, al dente and grains separate.
Open pot- add 2.5 cups water for 1 cup rice, pinch salt, few drops of oil, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes.
Instant pot or pressure cooker- 1.5 cups water for 1 cup rice, pinch of salt, few drops of oil. cook for 5 minutes with pressure valve sealed and natural pressure release.
Once the rice is cooked, spread it on a plate, add few drops of oil and fluff up. Let cool thoroughly. If you have leftover rice you can directly use it.
In the meantime also chop
1 medium carrot
1 large potato
1/2 cup green peas
1/4 cup chopped beans
1/2 cup cauliflower florets
1 large tomato
1/2 large bell pepper
1 large onion
Steam all the vegetables except onion, tomatoes and bell peppers until they turn slightly soft. Do not cook them thoroughly.
Making Tawa Pulao
Heat a thick tawa or pan with 2 tablespoons butter. Once the butter is melted temper with cumin seeds. Add crushed ginger garlic or add ginger garlic paste and saute for few seconds. Once the raw smell of ginger garlic goes off add chopped onions and saute for 2 minutes.
Next add chopped tomatoes and capsicum. Saute for a minute. Add 2-3 teaspoons pav bhaji masala powder, 2 teaspoons red chilli powder, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder.
Cook till the mixture turns mushy and butter releases from sides.
Now add the steamed vegetables or boiled vegetables and saute in high flame for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste. Mix well and cook in medium heat
It will take 2-3 minutes for veggies to cook. Then add cooked rice and mix gently without breaking the rice grains.
Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Remove from flame. Add lemon juice and mix well. Serve tava pulao hot or you can cool it down and pack in lunch box too.
Instant Pot Tawa Pulao
To make this recipe in instant pot you have to use raw rice and vegetables. Pick, rinse and soak 1 cup rice. Drain and spread on a plate for 10 minutes. Just chop the vegetables and do not steam them.
Place the steel insert inside your instant pot and switch it on. Press saute and once it displays hot, add butter. As the butter melts cumin seeds, ginger garlic and chopped onions. Saute till the onions turn soft.
Add chopped tomatoes and bell peppers. Add spice powder and saute will the tomatoes turn mushy. Now add the chopped vegetables, drained rice and 1/2 teaspoon more butter. Saute well to coat the butter to rice grains. Add 2 cups water and salt to taste.
Close the instant pot, cancel saute and press pressure cooker or manual mode. Set timer to 5 minutes and pressure valve in seal position. Once the IP beeps, let pressure release for 5 minutes naturally. Gently release the residual pressure and open the IP. Fluff the pulao up and serve tava pulao immedietly.
This also goes well with chips, papad when packing in lunch.
Rice– Rice has to be completely cold before adding the sautéed vegetables. If you have leftover rice you can add it directly. If using freshly steamed rice make sure to cool it for 30 minutes before adding to the vegetables.
Butter– Using butter lends a wonderful authentic flavor to this dish. If you want to make this dish vegan just use oil instead of butter.
Spice level– As mentioned above we like to make this rice super spicy but you can easily reduce the spice level by reducing the spice powders. Use 1 tsp pav bhaji masala powder and 1 tsp red chili powder for milder rice.
More Rice Recipes
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Tawa pulao recipe | How to make tawa pulao recipes | Easy pulao recipes
1 CUP = 250 ml
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1.5 cups vegetables cubed and steamed
- 1 large tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 big onion finely chopped
- 1 small green capsicum finely chopped
- A small piece of ginger and 3 garlic cloves crushed OR 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon chili powder adjust
- 2 tablespoons pav bhaji masala powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Rinse and soak basmati rice for 30 minutes. Drain and pressure cook such that the grainsare separate.
- Cool thoroughly. The rice should be cold and non sticky when ready to use.
- Heat a thick tawa or pan with 2 tablespoons butter. Once the butter is melted temper with cumin seeds.
- Next add crushed ginger garlic and saute for few seconds.
- Now add chopped onions and saute for 2 minutes.
- Then add chopped tomatoes and capsicum. saute for a minute
- Also add the spice powders and cook till the mixture turns mushy.
- Now add the steamed vegetables and saute in high flame for 5 minutes. Season with salt. Mix well.
- Then add the cooked rice, lemon juice and mix well.
- Finally garnish with cilantro leaves and serve tawa pulao hot.
2. Use vegetables of choice