Mumbai Street Style Veg Tawa Pulao

Note: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Make this flavorful and iconic Mumbai street-style veg tawa pulao recipe in under 30 minutes. It is the perfect way to repurpose leftover rice!

a blue plate filled with this tawa pulao recipe

What is Tawa Pulao?

Tawa Pulao is popular street food in Mumbai that consists of rice and vegetables sautéed together with pav bhaji masala, herbs, and spices.

As the name suggests, tawa pulao is made on a tawa or tava, which is a flat, concave pan used in Indian cooking.

If you’re in Mumbai, you’d probably see street vendors using huge-scale tawa to make dishes like pav bhaji, masala pav, tawa paneer masala, and — of course — tawa pulao. But for home cooks, this recipe can be made in a frying pan or even in a wok.

In the simplest of terms, this Mumbai street-style tawa pulao recipe is like an Indian fried rice recipe. It’s vegetarian, super flavorful, and a great main course or side dish!

tawa pulao cooked in a woke
Veg Tawa Pulao

Key ingredients

To make this Mumbai street-style tawa pulao at home, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Cooked Basmati rice (leftovers work too!) – You can also use brown rice for a healthier twist
  • Ghee – here’s an easy recipe if you want make ghee at home.
  • Cumin seeds
  • A medium-sized onion (finely sliced; sweet yellow or white onions work best)
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • A green chili (finely chopped)
  • Shredded cabbage (green cabbage is best for this tawa pulao recipe)
  • Beans (chopped)
  • Bell pepper (sliced)
  • Green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • Tomatoes (chopped)
  • Kashmiri chili powder
  • Pav bhaji masala – if you don’t have it, you can use garam masala or biryani masala as a substitute.
  • Turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • Lime juice
  • A blob of butter – street food wouldn’t be the same without it!
  • Cilantro or coriander leaves (for garnish)

Equipment

You’ll need one of my favorite kitchen appliances to make the Basmati rice for this homemade tawa pulao recipe — the Instant Pot! In its truest sense, this device is a very fancy rice cooker, so I love using it for recipes like this to get fast and perfect rice every time.

You’ll also need a wok to ensure the tawa pulao ingredients cook at a high enough temperature, similar to the tavas you’d see the street vendors use in Mumbai.

Step by step instructions

First, rinse the dry rice thoroughly using a strainer until the water runs clear to remove any excess starch. Then, cook the Basmati rice in your Instant Pot. Make sure to wait 10 minutes before releasing pressure after the cooking cycle has completed. Follow the detailed directions in this recipe post – Instant Pot Basmati rice.

Next, prepare the tawa pulao in your wok as follows:

Recipe notes & tips

  • Buy store-bought veggies to reduce prep time.
  • Substitute pav bhaji masala with the same amount of either garam masala or biryani masala, if needed.
  • Leftover rice works best in this street-style tawa pulao recipe. Similar to fried rice, the dryer the better so that they hold shape! Using leftover rice also speeds up the cooking process.
  • If you want to amp up the veggies in this tawa rice recipe, use cauliflower rice instead of rice!
  • Increase the heat in this recipe by adding more diced green chiles, cayenne pepper, or red chili flakes.

Serving suggestions

Serve this homemade tawa pulao with some cool, creamy homemade yogurt, or raita. You also can’t go wrong plating it with a slice of lemon or mango pickle.

Storage, freezing, and reheating tips

  • Store leftover tawa pulao in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze the cooled leftovers from this tawa pulao recipe in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to one month.
  • Reheat chilled or frozen leftovers in the microwave or in a skillet on the stovetop with a little oil or ghee until warmed through.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between biryani and pulao?


There are a few key differences –
– In Biryani, the meat and rice are cooked separately then layered alternately with the rice generally, being the first and the last layer in the pot, which is then sealed and cooked on a slow fire. The layering might be different for different biryanis, but it is almost always there. Pulao, on the other hand, is a single-pot meal where the meat and rice are cooked together with no layering.  
– Biryanis are more aromatic as essences are added to them, these essences vary from screw pine, rose, jasmine to saffron. Pulaos are not scented. 
– Biryanis uses spices more abundantly and has more complex flavors than pulao, which are more subtle in their use of spices.   
– Generally, Basmati rice is used to make biryani, while pulao has no such requirements. 
– Biryani is a meal in itself, but pulao is a part of a full meal. 

Which is the best rice for pulao? 

Basmati rice! Just make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove excess starches. You want the individual grains of rice to fall apart from one another and not lump together.

Can I add meat to this tawa pulao recipe?

While this is a traditional vegetarian dish, feel free to add meat if you want it to be more filling. Ground meat like chicken or turkey works great, as would cubed chicken breasts or thighs. You could also use plant-based proteins like tofu.

How do I make this tawa pulao recipe with leftover pav bhaji?

Heat about 2 cups of pav bhaji in a wok. Add cooked rice and mix well. Top it with butter and stir. Finish the dish with lime juice and garnish with cilantro!

More easy rice dishes to try



Got a new Instant Pot? Check out the links below to make the most of your pressure cooker -  
a blue plate filled with this tua pulao recipe

Veg Tawa Pulao

5 from 1 vote
Mumbai's iconic street-style tawa pulao consists of of rice and vegetables sautéed together with pav bhaji masala, herbs, and spices.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 -8 servings
Diet : Nut-free, Vegetarian
Course : Main Course
Method: Instant Pot, Stovetop
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups cooked Basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely sliced
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon pav bhaji masala
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup beans, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced bell pepper
  • ½ cup green peas
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro / coriander leaves for garnishing

Instructions
 

  • Add a tablespoon of ghee to a wok placed over medium-heat.
  • Add cumin seeds to hot ghee. Once it starts sizzling, add chopped onions along with green chilies and ginger-garlic paste.
  • Fry the onions till they turn soft and translucent (approximately 5 minutes).
  • Add turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they soften.
  • Add the remaining spices – chili powder and pav bhaji masala. Let the spices cook for a minute or two.
  • Add the veggies – cabbage, beans, bell pepper, and green peas. Fry for another 5 minutes or so till slightly softened.
  • Add the cooked rice and fold in gently. Let cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the flavors to meld in.
  • Turn off the heat. Top with a tablespoon of ghee or butter, cilantro leaves, and lime juice. Mix well.
  • Serve with a side of yogurt or raita.

Notes

How to make Basmati rice

  1. Rinse the rice using a strainer till the water runs clear.
  2. Soak the rice in twice the amount of water for 30 minutes. You can skip this step if you are in a rush.
  3. Add water to the inner pot of an Instant Pot.
  4. Drain the rice and add it to the inner pot. Mix well.
  5. Close the lid and set the steam valve to sealing.
  6. Pressure cook for 3 minutes under high pressure.
  7. When the cooking cycle is complete, wait for 10 minutes before releasing pressure.
  8. Open the lid and let the steam escape. Wait for a minute or two and then fluff the rice gently with a fork.

Recipe notes & tips

  • Buy store-bought veggies to reduce prep time.
  • Substitute pav bhaji masala with the same amount of either garam masala or biryani masala, if needed.
  • Leftover rice works best in this street-style tawa pulao recipe. Similar to fried rice, the dryer the better so that they hold shape! Using leftover rice also speeds up the cooking process.
  • If you want to amp up the veggies in this tawa rice recipe, use cauliflower rice instead of rice!
  • Increase the heat in this recipe by adding more diced green chiles, cayenne pepper, or red chili flakes.

Serving suggestions

Serve this homemade tawa pulao with some cool, creamy homemade yogurt, or raita. You also can’t go wrong plating it with a slice of lemon or mango pickle.

Storage, freezing, and reheating tips

  • Store leftover tawa pulao in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze the cooled leftovers from this tawa pulao recipe in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to one month.
  • Reheat chilled or frozen leftovers in the microwave or in a skillet on the stovetop with a little oil or ghee until warmed through.

Pantry EssentialsGetting the right tools for your kitchen makes cooking more enjoyable and less frustrating. Here’s a list of kitchen essentials I own and recommend.

Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 221kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 5gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 506mgPotassium: 295mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 597IUVitamin C: 39mgCalcium: 47mgIron: 2mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

Did you make this recipe?Take a photo and tag @simmertoslimmer on Instagram for a shoutout!
Keyword : easy, Mumbai Street food

Get dinner on the table faster!

Learn my meal planning + prepping secrets to make fresh Indian food without spending hours in the kitchen.

An overhead shot of Gujarathi kadhi along with rice, rotis and a side of lemon

FREE EMAIL COURSE

Simmer to Slimmer Logo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating