Mumbai Tawa Pulao

If you’ve lived in Calcutta or have grown up in a typical Bengali household in Calcutta, you’ll know that Bongs simply MUST HAVE rice for lunch, preferably with dal, ‘bhaja’, ‘maaaach’… Our friends often find it scandalous that we don’t conform to this rule and sometimes have a light lunch.. When we lived in Mumbai, this was a common routine..especially when I was in college.. I’d often just order in a dosa or we’d have dhokla…or sometimes we’d just have a sandwich. Dad would be at work, and with just me and mom in the house, we usually skipped making elaborate lunches. That was reserved for dinner, when all three of us would sit down together and enjoy a family meal..

Lunch recipes would be fuss-free and most of the time I’d whip something up with leftovers..

Born out of those, and my love of Mumbai street-food was the spicy Tawa Pulao…a one-pot meal cooked with leftover rice, steamed or blanched veggies and eaten with raita, dahi, or just plain ghee and papad..

This is how it’s done!



  • Pre-Cooked Rice: 1 and 1/2 cups, cooled… or you can use leftover, any rice will do..
  • Chopped into cubed the following:
  • Cauliflower – 1 cup
  • Potatoes – 1 cup
  • Capsicum – 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Tomatoes – 2
  • Peas – 1 cup
  • (You can add carrots too)
  • Blanch the veggies, except tomato, or just boil all except capsicum and tomatoes and keep.
  • Onions – 2 chopped fine
  • Garlic – 2 tbsp, chopped fine
  • Green chilies – as much as you like
  • Turmeric – for colour
  • Red chili powder – 1 tbsp
  • PAV BHAJI MASALA – 2 tbsp (This is a MUST for the recipe)
  • Oil, any – 2 tbsp


  • Temper the oil with whole cumin seeds, and wait until they sputter.
  • Add the garlic and brown lightly, then add the onions.
  • Fry a bit and add the tomatoes..
  • Then add the chopped/blanched/steamed veggies and add all the masalas, and salt.
  • Cook for a few minutes, and cover for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove cover, check to see how the veggies are coming along.
  • Add the rice, mix well..
  • Add salt for the rice, or you can pre-cook rice with salt too..
  • Mix everything together, and before serving, you may add a dash of lime, and a sprinkling of chopped coriander..



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