Tawa Pulao – Mumbai Street Style

Since time innumerable (for me since the last 15 yrs of my life in Mumbai) I have relished this street style Indian Pulao..Everywhere and anywhere across the roads and especially at specific street joints,this ideally is just a combo of varied ingredients used for separate dishes mixed together with steamed rice thus inventing a new form of a rice dish.But the resultant taste is way too delightful to satiate your cravings .At times  I would prefer this over any restaurant bought chicken biryanis also.An all- time, anytime favorite .A typical Mumbai street food recipe is how I would like to describe this as.

Mostly taken off as the cart vendor’s pulao,or in simpler terms as a “street food” it is often found in restaurants as well as a rice dish now..My first introduction to it was of course by way of the street vendors and especially at certain specific street joints like juhu beach/ food joints across commercial complexes where working professionals would have a quick and easy on the pocket kind of lunch on the go.In fact this is what I like best about Mumbai..Food and its availability..So easy and convenient.

And this is yet another variant of rice and veggies mixed. In one way you can term it as fried rice as well, however I guess, in India, we just have so many options of making rice with veggies and each region with its own spcices mixed, this one is just called “tawa pulao” coz it often seen being made in a wide tawa .Just a name i guess. In reality ,the cook mixes varied veggies in a piping hot tawa and adds rice to it with few dry spices and mostly its the Pav Bhaji masala that is what givies its unique taste. For years I tried relentlessly without success to figure out the recipe. For the unknown, Pav Bhaji Masala is a specific spice powder used for a very popular  Mumbai dish called Pav Bhaji or to put it simply ,a dish from Maharashtrian Cuisine…

I tried making this dish  at home with different mix of spices  yet could never master the taste until just the other day when i chanced upon this recipe from sanjeev kapoor”s site. Thats when I realized that the trick or the secret to the taste is the pav bhaji masala, nothing else.I tried making and it came out exactly the taste that i wanted.But my version is a little different then Sanjeev kapoor”s .I have used a  variety of veggies unlike the rustic real street style pulao, no ginger garlic paste, and a little more of other spice powders,  i was mighty impressed with the near perfection taste it attained, just like the ones that you would relish across the streets.

I have made a small video to explain the process as well.


Rice- 3 cups
Pav Bhaji Masala-2 1/2 tsp
Onions- 1
Tomatoes- 2 to 3
Coriander Powder-1 tsp
Chilli Powder- 1 tsp
Garam masala Powder(optional)
Salt as per taste
Green peas-1/2 cup boiled
Carrots-1/4th cup par boiled and diced
Beans- 1/4th cup par boiled and diced
Boiled potatoes- 1 large chopped
Capsicum- 1 small chopped
Oil- 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves- few for garnishing
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
lime juice- 1 tsp ( i havent used though)


  • Boil/steam the rice and keep aside. Ideally you will need rice which is cooked much earlier and is without any moisture.This will help get a great texture of the pulao.
  • Heat oil in  pan and add cumin seeds.Once they crackle add the onions and fry. Once translucent add the tomatoes
  • Keep frying till the tomatoes are mushy and add the carrots, beans, boiled green peas and boiled potatoes and add the red chilli powder
  • Add salt, pav bhaji masala, coriander powder and salt
  • Just cover for about  2 minutes until the veggies and spices are cooked evenly
  • Add capsicum, cover and keep for about 2 minutes
  • Remove the lid and add the rice. Mix it for about two minutes on high flame
  • Add coriander leaves, lime juice and serve

Absolutely tasty, yummy with a tangy spicy flavor, the pav bhaji masala gives it the desired taste that i so very find it irresistible. That gives a certain magical flavor to the long grains of rice.Its a pulao of a different kind.No ghee or whole spices required a in thee erstwhile pilaf/pulao yet this which is a blend of just different veggies and spices is enough to make u salivate.A rustic, robust taste achieved out out of just a mix of vegges and spices, it manages to score a perfect 10 in my parameter of taste and flavour and can really beat even few of the rice recipes that you find in restaurants. Most importantly , its so easy that you can just cook this up in about 10 mins or even lesser just like the carts on the streets.Tangy, tasty, spicy, and absolutely delicious ,simply scrumptious. For rice lovers, this is worth a try. For that complete meal might,you want to relish with a bowl of Raita, pickle and some green salads esp onions and cucumber slices smeared in lime and black pepper.. That according to me is divine happiness for the soul, what say???

Also read:

Sheerer Pulao

Puffed rice pulau/poha pulao/sheerer pulao

Saufiya Chicken Pulao /Easy biryani Recipe

Saufiya Chicken Pulao

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