Tawa Pulao Recipe

Tawa Pulao

Tawa Pulao

Tawa Pulao (Mumbai style) is made on a huge iron tawa. ‘Tawa’ in Hindi means a pan which is round (varies in diameter from 8 inches to a meter) and usually made of cast iron or aluminum. Tawa (depending on the size) is used to prepare all kinds of breads for example., chapati, paratha, dosa, and dishes like pav bhaji and tawa pulao to name a few.

Tawa pulao is the street food originating from Mumbai, India. Cooked rice with lots and lots of vegetables sautéed in butter and spices. This pulao is often served at most pav bhaji restaurants in Mumbai. Traditionally, this dish is cooked on the same tawa on which they cook pav bhaji. Using the same tawa while cooking the rice imbibes all the flavours of pav bhaji too.

My family is a huge fan of pav bhaji and tawa pulao, hence we have indulged in a big tawa for cooking pav bhaji and tawa pulao. You can make this dish in a pan at home and the taste and results will be same as made on the tawa. I would suggest just use a broad frying pan so that you can easily sauté the rice and vegetables without breaking the rice.

Tawa Pulao is usually served hot with masala papad. You also serve it with raita to cut down the heat from this rice.

Other Popular Maharashtrian Recipes you might want to try are Phodnicha Bhaat, Maharashtrian Misal Pav, Vegetable Kohlapuri, Usal Pav, Vegetable Frankie, Vada Pav, Kohlapuri Chicken, Sabudana Vada, Kesar Shrikhand and Prawn Koliwada to name a few.


1 cup basmati rice (long grain rice)
1 teaspoon oil(boiling)
1 teaspoon oil(tempering)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped green pepper/capsicum
1 finely chopped tomato
1 boiled potato (diced)
1 cup boiled peas
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon red chilli powder (lal mirch)
1 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder
2 teaspoons pav bhaji masala
salt to taste
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander



Wash the rice in running water at least 3 times. Soak the rice in double the amount of water for about an hour. In a pan boil 4-5 cups of water. Once the water is boiling add the soaked rice and 1 teaspoon of oil. Boil the rice on medium heat for around 6-7 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Drain the excess water and strain the rice. Leave the rice to cool down.


Heat oil in a tawa/pan and add cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds crackle, add the garlic paste and sauté for a minute.


Next add onions and pepper and stir it well for a minute.

Now add potatoes and peas and mix it gently for 1-2 minutes.



Add tomatoes and mix well.

Next add salt, red chilli powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, pav bhaji masala and juice of one  lime and mix it well. Finally add a teaspoon of butter.


Add rice and chopped coriander and mix gently.

Serve the rice garnished with a dollop of butter.

Tips & Variations

1. Choose the right type of rice. I would highly recommend choosing the best quality basmati rice or any long grain rice for this dish.
2. It is particularly important to prepare the rice well which means rinsing the rice at least three times till the water is clear. This helps to clear the excess starch and will make the rice non sticky.
3. I always recommend soaking the rice for an hour or if you are short of time then at least for 20 to 25 minutes because well soaked rice will expand and cook well and each strand of rice will be long and fluffy.
4. While tempering, do not let the cumin seeds go darker in colour as it will give a burnt flavour.
5. The rice needs exceptionally light hand while mixing at the end.
6. Let the rice cool down after boiling before you sauté it with the vegetables as that way rice will not break.
7. Although traditionally this recipe is made with basmati rice you can use any type of rice like long grain rice, brown rice, or Spanish rice.
8. If you are using ready cooked rice just follow the procedures on the packet and then follow from step 2.
9. If you do not have fresh peas, you can use frozen peas.
10. Kashmiri red chilli powder enhances the flavour and colour of the pulao.
11. You can use butter instead of oil. If you add butter in the pan, add a few drops of oil in butter to avoid burning.
12. You can use any other vegetables like carrots, beans, cauliflower too if you wish in this dish.
13. This dish is meant to be slightly spicy, but you can adjust the spices according to your taste.
14. If you have any left over plain rice then you can use that to make this dish too.

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