Tawa Pulao

The OH and I heart pulao. We can have it any day of the week, for lunch or dinner. The best thing about pulao are that there are so many different variations to it, you just cannot get bored even if you eat it twice a week! Plus, most of the times, it can be made in a pressure cooker, in a jiffy. Pulao is something I turn to when we feel like eating nutritious, veggie-loaded food, but don’t want to spend too much time cooking. It has come to signify special occasions, busy middle-of-the-week days, and lazy Sundays for us.

One of the types of pulao that I make often is tawa pulao, that gorgeous confection from the west of India. Vendors selling paav bhaji off street-side carts make this pulao out of leftover paav bhaji and rice on their tawas (whence the dish gets its name), and it is a flavour riot. I have never made tawa pulao using leftover paav bhaji, though (must try that out some time soon!), but I take the cheat’s way out. I use butter, paav bhaji masala, lemon, coriander, tomatoes and potatoes – all essential ingredients of paav bhaji – as well as rice that has been cooled down and fluffed up to make this pulao – and it turns out just as flavourful as the street vendor’s.



Here’s how I make the tawa pulao.

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 glass of rice (I use Sona Masoori rice, but you could use Basmati too)

2 tablespoons of salted butter (I use Amul)

Salt, to taste

4 tablespoons paav bhaji masala (I use Everest)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Red chilli powder, to taste

Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste

A small bunch of coriander leaves, finely chopped

A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled

5-6 medium-sized florets of cauliflower

1 medium-sized onion, chopped finely

1 small carrot, peeled and chopped length-wise

1 small capiscum, chopped finely

1/4 cup green peas

8-10 beans, strings removed and chopped into large pieces

1 medium-sized ripe tomato

1 small potato, peeled and cut into cubes


  1. Wash the rice thoroughly and pressure cook it with 2.5 glasses of water, for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally. When the rice has completely cooled down, fluff it up using a spoon, ensuring that there are no lumps. Keep aside.
  2. Boil the potato cubes using very little water. Give them 3 whistles in the pressure cooker. Once the pressure is released entirely, drain out all the water and keep the cooked potato cubes aside. The potatoes should be cooked, but not overly done.
  3. Sprinkle some water over the beans, cauliflower florets, carrot and green peas, and cook them in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles. The veggies should be cooked, but not overly so. Once the pressure has completely gone down, drain out the water. Keep the cooked veggies aside.
  4. Grind the ginger and garlic to a paste, using a mixer, with very little or no water. Keep aside.
  5. Heat the butter in a deep-bottomed pan and add the chopped onions.
  6. When the onions begin to turn translucent, add the ginger garlic paste. Saute for a few seconds.
  7. Add the tomatoes. Cook till they turn soft, but aren’t overly cooked.
  8. Now, add the chopped capsicum. Sprinkle a little water and cook on a high flame, till the capiscum are cooked, but not overly so.
  9. Now, add the cooked veggies, boiled potatoes, cooked rice, salt and red chilli powder to taste, and paav bhaji masala. Mix gently, but well. Let the pulao cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes. Stir gently, intermittently, to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  10. Add the lemon juice and chopped coriander. Mix well, but gently. Switch off the gas.
  11. Serve hot with raita of your choice.


  1. You could use leftover cooked rice to make this pulao too.
  2. Normally, I use 3.5 glasses of water per glass of rice. For this pulao, to ensure that the rice doesn’t turn out too sticky, I use just 2.5 glasses of water per glass of rice. You could increase or decrease the quantity of water you use to cook the rice, depending upon your taste preferences.
  3. You could even use a mix of butter and oil to cook the pulao, or just oil. That said, I would recommend using butter entirely. I restrict myself to using 2 tablespoons of butter, but you could use more if you want to.
  4. The quantity of lemon juice and paav bhaji masala suggested in this recipe is based on our taste preferences. Do increase or decrease the same to suit your taste buds.

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