Tawa pulao recipe with video and step by step photos. Tawa pulao is a popular Mumbai street food of rice and vegetables sauteed together with pav bhaji masala and other spices-herbs. It is a popular and tasty rice recipe that you easily make with leftover rice.
Tawa pulao as the name suggests is made on Tawa/tava – a flat concave shaped pan used in Indian cooking for making chapatis, roasting as well as shallow frying.
The street side vendors use a huge Tawa and they make pav bhaji, masala pav, tawa paneer masala and tawa pulao on this huge tawa. For home cooks, this recipe can be made in a frying pan or even in a kadai (wok).
This tawa pulao recipe is quick to make if you have leftover rice. You also need to steam or cook the veggies beforehand. Usually, I make a not so spicy version, but you can spice the pulao as per your taste buds just by increasing the quantity of red chili powder.
You will need Pav bhaji masala to make this pulao. Usually, I buy pav bhaji masala and the Indian brands which I have used are MDH, everest and badshah. I find all of them alright.
Tawa pulao goes best with yogurt, raita or an onion-lemon salad. Also accompany a roasted papad and a lemon or mango pickle by the side.
How to make Tawa Pulao
1. Rinse 1 cup basmati rice a couple of times in water till it runs clear of starch.
Then add the rice in a pot or pan along with 4 cups of water. Also add salt to taste and 2 to 3 drops of oil.
Cook the rice till the grains are tender and softened. The rice grains should be separate yet completely cooked. You can also cook the rice until al dente, if you prefer.
2. Drain the rice in a colander. Please do read the recipe card details below on cooking the rice. Let the rice cool completely before you add it to the veggies.
3. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and saute ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds till they crackle on low heat.
4. Add chopped onions (1 medium onion – 50 grams) and saute the onions stirring often till translucent.
5. Add ginger garlic paste (½ inch ginger + 2-3 garlic), made into a paste in a mortar-pestle or 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste).
Saute for a few seconds or till their raw aroma goes away. The ginger-garlic paste has to be sauteed well. Otherwise, the raw aroma is felt even later and might not go well with some folks.
6. Add 2 large chopped tomatoes (150 grams tomatoes) and 1 medium chopped green bell pepper (capsicum).
7. Add 2 teaspoon pav bhaji masala powder, ¼ teaspoon red chili powder and ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder.
Remember to use a really good brand of pav bhaji masala as it is one of the key ingredient in the recipe. The flavor and taste profile of tava pulao largely depends on the kind of pav bhaji masala that you will use.
You can also choose to add homemade pav bhaji masala powder.
8. Stir and saute till you see the butter leaving the sides of the pan. About 6 to 7 minutes on a low heat. Even if the bell pepper has a slight crunch, they taste good.
The tomatoes will also become mushy and soften as you see in the photo below.
9. Add the chopped steamed cooked veggies – ½ cup peas, 1 small to medium chopped carrot, 1 medium potato and salt as required.
You can even add french beans, baby corn, broccoli and cauliflower.
Optionally you can skip adding these boiled or steamed vegetables.
10. Stir to mix. Then add the drained cooked rice.
11. Stir and mix gently and uniformly.
12. Garnish tawa pulao with chopped coriander leaves and drizzled with a few drops of lemon juice (½ teaspoon).
Serve tawa pulao hot or warm with onion-lemon salad or yogurt or onion tomato raita accompanied with roasted papad and pickle.
More tasty pulao varieties
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for cooking rice
- 1 cup basmati rice or long grained rice
- 4 cups of water for cooking the rice
- 2 to 3 drops of oil
- salt as required
other ingredients for tawa pulao
- 1 medium green bell pepper (capsicum) – chopped
- 2 large tomatoes or 150 grams tomatoes – chopped
- 1 medium onion or 50 grams onions- chopped
- ½ inch ginger + 2-3 garlic – made into a paste in a mortar-pestle or 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or add as required
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoon Pav Bhaji Masala or add as required
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoon Butter or oil or half-half of both
- 1 small to medium carrot – chopped
- 1 medium potato – chopped
- ½ cup green peas – fresh or frozen
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice or as required
- a few chopped coriander leaves (cilantro leaves) or parsley leaves
- salt as required
- Rinse the rice grains till the water runs clear of starch. Rinsing for a while, you will come to a stage when the water will become transparent during the rinse. If there is starch in the water, then the rice becomes sticky.
- Soak the rice in enough water for 20-30 minutes. Drain and then add the rice to a pot.
- Pour 4 cups of water in the rice. Add salt and few drops of oil.
- Stir. Cover and cook the rice till the rice grains are cooked well.
- The rice grains should be separate also cooked well.
- If the water begins to froth pushing the lid, then remove the lid or partly cover the pot with lid and cook the rice.
- Don’t cook the rice too much or make them mushy. This will spoil the texture of the pulao.
- In a strainer, add the cooked rice and let all the water drain away.
- Gently fluff the rice with a fork.
- Once all the steam has passed from the rice, cover the rice with a lid so that the rice grains on top don’t dry out.
- Let the rice cool and you can proceed with the rest of the recipe.
making tawa pulao
- Steam the carrot, potato and green peas till all of them are cooked well in a steamer, pan or pressure cooker.
- Peel and chop the carrot and potatoes. Keep aside.
- In a pan or kadai/wok melt the butter. Add the cumin and fry them till they get browned.
- Add the finely chopped onions and saute till translucent.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw aroma goes away.
- Then add the finely chopped tomatoes and bell pepper (capsicum).
- Stir and add all the spice powders – turmeric, red chili powder and pav bhaji masala.
- Stir again and saute the whole mixture till you see butter releasing from the sides.
- Add the chopped potato, carrot and peas. Sprinkle salt and stir.
- Add the cooked basmati rice and gently mix the veggies with the rice.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and sprinkle some lemon juice on the tava pulao.
- Serve tava pulao hot with onion tomato raita or cucumber raita or plain yogurt accompanied with papad and pickle.
- This recipe can also be made in a frying pan or even in a kadai (wok).
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Tawa Pulao Post from the blog archives, first published in May 2014 has been republished and updated on December 2022.