Tawa Pulao

A flavorful and wholesome rice which can serve as a one-pot meal on busy nights!
TawaPilao1-0765Does the name of this recipe sound a little odd to you? It did to me when I heard it for the first time! 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. It uses a variety of vegies 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 is to relish this dish on its own without any side or accompaniment; but you can jazz it up with some tangy pickle too!
TawaPilao3-08181Now let me come to that special spice mix which I mentioned above. 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 curse me for making things more complicated for you! Have you?
Ok, let me decode this too which is a pretty simply combination of different whole spices and then grind to a powder. ‘Pav Bhaji’ is a popular snack which is basically a bread bun (pav) served with curried mixed vegetables (bhaji) in which this ‘Pav Bhaji’ masala is used.
This spice mix is generally available in the grocery stores but I always prefer to make mine at home and I have shared my special home-made version with you below. The shelf-life of this spice powder is quite long; which is good for me as I generally make this in larger quantity to keep it handy.

So without any further delay, let’s get cooking!


Tawa Pulao
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 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

  • Pav Bhaji Masala
  • 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
  1. Melt butter in a hot griddle and add the sliced onions. Let the onions fry till it’s translucent but not too brown.
  2. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté on medium heat. Add diced green bell pepper to it and fry them a bit till little soft.
  3. 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.
  4. Splash a little amount of water and again mix everything well. Add green peas, potatoes and keep stirring.
  5. Now add rice and remaining coriander leaves to the mixture and mix everything well. Check and adjust the seasoning if required.
  6. Serve tawa pulao hot.
  7. Pav Bhaji Masala
  8. Heat a flat pan or griddle on medium heat.
  9. 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.
  10. Grind all the ingredients together in a dry spice/coffee grinder, till a fine powder is formed.
  11. Store the spice powder in an air-tight container for upto 4 to 6 weeks.


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