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Express Recipes: How to make Mumbai style Tawa Pulao

There's one ingredient that makes Mumbai's Tawa Pulao very special.

Written by Ashima Goyal Siraj | Angola |
Updated: June 15, 2015 4:21:18 pm
Tawa Pulao (Source: Ashima Goyal Siraj) Tawa Pulao (Source: Ashima Goyal Siraj)

Tawa Pulao is a quintessential Mumbai street food. Even after 5 years of living in Mumbai and eating taw pulao from the corner pav bhaji stall almost every third day, I never came to know about the secret of what makes taw pulao so special. And I never made the connection as to why it is always always sold along with pav bhaji, sharing the same big taw as the bhaji. During my Mumbai trip last month, I finally discovered the secret — pav bhaji masala.

Today morning as I was thinking what to pack in the lunch box, I saw the box of leftover plain rice from last night’s dinner and decided to make some quick tawa pulao. My husband was delighted. He called me after lunch and said – “I was taken back to the streets of Bombay!”

The best compliment I could have got for it.

Tawa Pulao
Preparation Time: 5 mins | Cooking Time 15 mins| Serves 2

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1 cup basmati rice (or 3 cups of leftover boiled rice)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chillies, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut into strips
1 potato, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup boiled peas
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp pav bhaji masala
1/2 tsp chaat masala
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp ghee (clarified butter)

* I used leftover rice for the recipe. If you are starting from the scratch, wash the rice in running water until the water runs clear. In a deep pot, add 2 cups of boiling water, 1 tsp ghee and 1 tsp salt. Add the washed basmati rice and cook on medium heat until the water is all used and the rice is cooked through.

* Heat oil in a broad kadhai. Add asafoetida and cumin seeds.

* When the seeds start to crackle, add chopped green chillies, potatoes and carrots. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until the potatoes and carrots start to turn soft.
Add the chopped onions. Mix well and sauté for another minute.

* Add the tomatoes, salt, turmeric and pav bhaji masala powder. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes.


* Fluff the boiled rice and add them to the vegetables in the kadhai. Mix everything together so that the rice is well coated with the spices. Cook for a minute and then remove from heat.

* Sprinkle some chaat masala and pack into lunch boxes once it has cooled down a little or enjoy as a snack right then

Food is never just food. I believe it’s story telling, it’s conversation. It brings people together and it speaks a universal language! I love to play around in my kitchen. The thrill of being able to create something new and sharing it with others is what fuels my passion for cooking. The fact that dear husband is a foodie and an honest critique helps! I blog about my adventures in the kitchen at

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First published on: 12-06-2015 at 01:08:02 pm

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