Mumbai Street-Style Tawa Pulao recipe & Homemade Pav Bhaji Masala Powder recipe | Easy method of Tawa Pulav with fresh Pav Bhaji Masala

Tawa Pulao is a very popular food in the street sides of Mumbai. The quick tossing of precooked Rice with precooked veggies and the flavourful Pav Bhaji Masala powder over a big Tawa would make the hot & spicy Tawa Pulao.

To make this super-spicy recipe more easy, tasty and flavourful, I cut down the time taken for the recipe by skipping the precooking of veggies, and by cooking the rice perfectly in the pressure cooker. Furthermore, I make a small batch of freshly ground Pav Bhaji Masala to lift the taste profile of the Tawa Pulao.

Having said that, the taste of Mumbai Street-Style Tawa Pulao not only lies in the preparation process but also in the serving mechanism. Adding a few magical ingredients to the serving plate would make the Tawa Pulao tastes out of the world.

Each and every step should be followed correctly to achieve the best-tasting Tawa Pulao which outstands the taste of the Tawa Pulao made by Street Vendors. Though any branded Pav Bhaji Masala powder could be used to make this recipe, I highly suggest making a fresh batch of homemade Pav Bhaji Masala Powder to make the taste reach the next higher level.

Know the Tricks for the best-ever Tawa Pulao:

  • Dry roast the ingredients very well over a low flame until the ingredients turn very crisp and aromatic. Slowly roasting the ingredients allow better seeping out of flavours which in turn would pave the way for the betterment of taste in Tawa Pulao.
  • Always remember to add turmeric powder while cooking rice for Tawa Pulao. This gives an inviting bright colour to the Tawa Pulao.
  • Fluff up the rice while it is hot to get rid of the lumps formed while cooling down. Also, the rice has to be cooled completely before adding to the Tawa to prevent the breaking of rice.
  • Chop or slice the veggies very finely to get them cooked while sauteing over the Tawa.

The name Tawa Pulao is just because it is prepared over a large Tawa. While preparing the recipe at home, the same can be done in a wok without any loss of taste. The highlight of the Tawa Pulao is the inviting vivid colour lend by the spicy red chillies overwhelmed with turmeric powder.

How to achieve bright colour in Tawa Pulao? 

  • In the recipe posted here, I add very little red chilli powder as the Pav Bhaji Masala I prepared has got some heat from the red chillies.
  • If you want a bright red colour, soak some dried Kashmiri red chillies in hot water, grind them to a paste, and add it to the Tawa Pulao according to your taste.
  • If you are very much bothered about the colour, I highly recommend picking Kashmiri red chillies that give the bright red colour with less spiciness.

3 Elements that you should not skip:

Sliced Onions - while serving, sprinkle some sliced onions over the serving plate.

Dash of Lemon juice - a few drops of lemon juice from the freshly cut lemon would gonna lend some magical taste to Tawa Pulav.

Coriander leaves - a few freshly chopped coriander leaves sprinkled all over the Pulao is the mandatory thing that you should not skip while serving.

The three magical elements altogether with the Tawa Pulao would surely play a rhythm in the taste buds. So, the perfectly cooked rice along with the freshly prepared Pav Bhaji masala and the freshly sliced veggies is the best thing to offer to the family as the recipe is health-loaded with loads of veggies and flavours.

What vegetables to use?

  • Most commonly carrots, peas, beans, capsicum, and boiled potatoes are used in Tawa Pulav.
  • In the recipe shared, I add carrots, beans, peas, capsicum, broccoli, cabbage and potato. You could add beetroots, cauliflower, and baby spinach to your Tawa Pulao recipe. Feel free to load your Tawa Pulao with more veggies to make it more healthy.

Precooked Veggies or Raw Veggies?

  • The usual procedure is to precook the veggies, and then add them to the Tawa at the time of making Tawa Pulao.
  • Sometimes, the raw veggies are sauteed to which the cubed boiled potatoes are added.
  • My preference is to slice or chop the raw veggies very fine and saute them for a while. Despite adding boiled potatoes, I add thinly sliced raw potatoes while sauteing. Trust me, the end result of sauteing the veggies would be seen in the taste of Tawa Pulav that cuts down the time of precooking the veggies as well.
  • The raw veggies can be sauteed for a while to remain crunchy or sauteed for a long time to get cooked fully. Either way, the Tawa Pulao tastes great.

So, go with Raw veggies but make sure you cut them finely to enjoy the best-tasting Tawa Pulao recipe.

Red chilli powder or Red chilli paste?

  • As per my experience, both yields the same taste but shows off difference in the colour.
  • Adding red chilli paste instead of red chilli powder would make the recipe very bright red without any need to add any artificial food colouring.
  • But, I cut down the time taken to soak the Kashmiri red chillies by adding the Kashmiri red chilli powder. The Tawa Pulao would show off bright yellowish-orange colour instead of bright red colour lending no change in taste.

Furthermore, we get 3 tablespoons of homemade Pav Bhaji masala which is enough for making Tawa Pulao with 2 cups (500ml) of rice. If you make less quantity of Tawa Pulao, the remaining Pav Bhaji masala powder could be stored in the air-tight container for later use.

Serving Suggestion:

Serve the Tawa Pulav with onion & coriander topping along with a dash of lemon juice squeezed throughout. Side the Tawa Pulao with any Raita of your choice.

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⏲ Preparation Time: 30 minutes
⏲ Cooking Time: 15 minutes
🍴  Servings: 2 to 3

Mumbai Street-Style Tawa Pulao recipe & Homemade Pav Bhaji Masala recipe

The hot and spicy Tawa Pulao prepared with fresh veggies, freshly ground Pav Bhaji Masala, and cooked rice.
What do you need?[1 cup = 250 ml]
For Pav Bhaji Masala Powder: 
  • Coriander seeds - 1.5 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Black peppercorns - 1/4 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick - 2-inch piece
  • Bay leaf - 1 
  • Cardamom pods/ Elachi - 3
  • Cloves/ Lavanga - 4
  • Star Anise - 1
  • Dried red chillies - 3
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Dry ginger powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Dry Mango Powder - 1/2 tsp
For Pressure Cooking Rice:
  • Basmati Rice - 1 cup
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Crystal salt - 3/4 tbsp
For Tawa Pulao:
  • Butter - 1 tbsp
  • Cooking Oil - 2 tbsp (I use cold-pressed groundnut oil)
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Onion - 1 (big-sized)(sliced)
  • Tomatoes - 2 (medium-sized)
  • Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
  • Carrot - 1/2 cup (thinly sliced)
  • Beans - 1/2 cup (finely chopped)
  • Fresh green peas - 1/2 cup
  • Broccoli - 1/2 cup
  • Capsicum - 1/2 cup (thinly sliced)
  • Cabbage - 1/2 cup (shredded)
  • Potato - 1/2 cup (thinly sliced)
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Homemade Pav Bhaji Masala - 1.5 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cooked Rice
  • Coriander leaves - a few (chopped)(for topping)
  • Lemon juice - a few drops (for topping)
Steps Involved:
  • Dry roast all the ingredients listed under "for Pav Bhaji Masala Powder" excluding the powder ingredients over a low flame until aromatic.
  • Grind the roasted ingredients along with turmeric powder, dry ginger powder, and dry mango powder to get the flavourful Pav Bhaji Masala powder.
  • Soak a cup of washed Basmati rice for 20 minutes, and cook it with 2 cups of water along with salt & turmeric powder.
  • In a large Tawa or wok, add butter + oil.
  • Add cumin seeds to the shimmering butter & oil.
  • Add sliced onions and saute until translucent.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and saute until the raw smell goes off.
  • Now, add the chopped tomatoes and saute till mushy.
  • Add all the veggies, season with salt, and saute over a high flame for about 5 minutes.
  • Add Pav Bhaji masala powder, red chilli powder, and give a quick mix.
  • Add the cooked rice and gently mix until fully coated.
  • Top with coriander leaves, sliced onions and a dash of lemon juice.
  • Serve hot and enjoy with Onion Raita.

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For comforting the easy understandability of the recipe, the step by step, detailed procedure, along with the picture is shown below:

Step-by-Step Procedure with Pictures

How to Make?

For Pav Bhaji Masala Powder:

  • In a pan, take 1.5 tablespoons of coriander seeds.

  • Add 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds.

  • Also, add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds.

  • Add 1/4 tsp of black peppercorn.

  • Add 2 pieces of cinnamon sticks each with 1-inch length.

  • Add one bay leaf to the same pan.

  • Add a piece of star anise, 3 cardamom pods and 4 cloves as well.

  • Add 3 dried red chillies now.

  • Over a low flame, dry roast all the ingredients until they are crisp and aromatic.

  • Once roasted, transfer them to a blender.

  • Add 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder to the blender.

  • Also, add 1/2 tsp of dry ginger powder.

  • Add 1/2 tsp of dry mango powder (Amchoor powder).

  • Blend all the ingredients to make a powder.

  • Now, the flavourful homemade Pav Bhaji Masala Powder is ready!

For Pressure Cooking Rice:

  • Wash and take a cup of Basmati rice.

  • Add enough water, and allow it to get soaked for 20 minutes.

  • Once soaked, transfer the soaked rice to the pressure cooker.

  • Add 2 cups of water.

  • Also, add 3/4 tablespoon of crystal salt.

  • Add 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder.

  • Close with a lid, and when the steam comes out, put on the whistle, and simmer for 5 minutes.

  • Let the cooker depressurize naturally. The rice should have been cooked well by this time.

  • Fluff up the rice gently, and allow it cool completely.

    For Tawa Pulao: 

    • In a large Tawa or wok, add a tablespoon of butter + 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. I use cold-pressed groundnut oil.

    • Add a teaspoon of cumin seeds to the shimmering butter +oil.

    • Add the sliced onions to the wok, and saute them until they turn translucent.

    • Add a tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste, and saute well until the raw smell goes off completely.

    • Add in the chopped tomatoes, and saute them until mushy.

    • Add the finely sliced or chopped veggies inside along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

    • Saute the veggies over a high flame for about 5 minutes. 

    • Now, add 1.5 tablespoons of prepared Pav Bhaji Masala powder.

    • Also, add 1/2 teaspoon of red chilli powder. I add Kashmiri red chilli powder here. If you want a bright colour, you can add Kashmiri red chilli paste at this time.

    • After adding the Masala powder, give a quick mix.

    • Now, add the cooked Rice to the wok.

    • Mix gently until the rice has fully coated with the masala.

    • Garnish with coriander leaves.

    • While serving, top the Tawa Pulao with some sliced onions, a dash of lemon juice, and a lavish sprinkle of freshly chopped coriander leaves.

    • Pair the hot Tawa Pulao with Raita, and enjoy!


    • Slowly dry roast the ingredients over a low flame to get the super flavourful Pav Bhaji Masala powder.
    • Always use freshly ground Pav Bhaji Masala powder to get the right flavour in Tawa Pulao.
    • Use a wide and large wok to make the mixing job easier.
    • Rice should be cooked perfectly and mixed gently to avoid breakage in the rice grains. 
    • Use Kashmiri red chillies to get the bright red colour.

     Hot & Spicy! Tasty Treat!


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