This Mumbai-style tawa pulao is a flavorful and wholesome rice which can serve as a one-pot meal on busy weeknights!
Flavorful tawa pulao is a popular dish from street food of Mumbai and after trying this I admit it deserves all the love and attention it gets. For those who do not know about Tawa Pulao, let me decode the name for you – ‘Tawa’ means griddle and ‘Pulao’ means ‘flavored rice’. So basically, tawa pulao is a rice preparation particularly made on a flat griddle on high heat. Tawa pulao generally contains a variety of veggies and full of immense flavor which comes from a special spice mix. I will come to that in a bit!
I like tawa pulao because it is a meal in itself. It can be an ideal lunch on the go or a perfect dinner for a busy weeknight. My personal preference to relish this tawa pulao is on its own without any side or accompaniment; but you can jazz it up with some tangy pickle too! This tawa pulao is very different from any other regular pulao you have had till date; so don’t miss this as I am sure you are gonna like it!
Now let me come to that special spice mix which is used to make such wonderful tawa pulao. This special spice used in tawa pulao is nothing but ‘Pav Bhaji’ masala! If you are not an Indian, chances are that you have already started to get mad at me for making things more complicated for you! Have you? Ok, let me decode this ‘pav bhaji masala’ too for you which is a pretty simply combination of different whole spices and then ground to a fine powder. Sounds easy?
‘Pav Bhaji’ is another popular snack, again from street food of Mumbai, which is basically a butter-toasted dinner roll or ‘pav’ served with curried mixed vegetables i.e. bhaji which is made using this ‘Pav Bhaji’ masala. This spice mix is generally available in the grocery stores but I always prefer to make mine at home and I have shared the process below. The shelf-life of this spice powder is quite long when refrigerated; which is good for me as I generally make it in larger quantity to keep it handy. So, without any further delay, let’s get cooking!
- Butter – 2 tbsp
- Onions – 2, medium, sliced
- Ginger-garlic paste – 1 & ½ tbsp
- Green bell pepper – 1, big, diced into squares
- Tomatoes – 4, medium to large, finely chopped
- Coriander leaves – 1 cup, chopped
- Pav bhaji masala – 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Green chillies – 2, finely chopped (optional)
- Water – 1 to 2 tbsp
- Boiled green peas – 1 cup
- Boiled potatoes – 2, diced
- Boiled rice – 4 cups
- Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp
- Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
- Dry red chillies - 4
- Turmeric powder – ½ tbsp
- Dry raw mango powder – 1 tbsp
- Green cardamom – 2, seeds removed
- Cloves – 6
- Cinnamon stick – 1 inch piece
- Star anise – 2
- Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
- Dry ginger – 2 inch piece
- Asafetida – ¼ tsp
- Heat a flat pan or griddle on medium heat.
- Gently roast the cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, dry red chilies, cloves and cinnamon till they turn slightly darker and begin to release their aroma. Remove from fire immediately and cool.
- Grind all the ingredients together in a dry spice/coffee grinder, till a fine powder is formed.
- Store the spice powder in an air-tight container for upto 4 to 6 weeks.
- Melt butter in a hot griddle and add the sliced onions. Let the onions fry till it’s translucent but not too brown.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté on medium heat. Add diced green bell pepper to it and fry them a bit till little soft.
- Now tip in the chopped tomatoes, half of the fresh coriander leaves, green chilies, pav bhaji masala and salt. Mix everything well and cook it till the tomatoes are absolutely soft.
- Splash a little amount of water and again mix everything well. Add green peas, potatoes and keep stirring.
- Now add rice and remaining coriander leaves to the mixture and mix everything well. Check and adjust the seasoning if required.
- Serve tawa pulao hot.