Mumbai Vegetable Masala Pulao / Tava Pulao

Mumbai vegetable masala pulao / Tava pulao is a popular street side dish which you can see being prepared fresh by the hawkers all over Mumbai during the busy lunch hours. This time, I took my rice for a mumbai spin and gave it a good old spice kick … boy ! I hit a jackpot of flavors with this one and my family went gaga for it ! Presenting my version of Tava Pulao a.k.a Mumbai Vegetable Masala Pulao.

Tava pulao simply means a rice pilaf dish prepared directly on a skillet making it essentially a stir fried rice dish but with an serious kick of strong aromatic spices and loads of vegetables and butter. A dish born out of the necessity of having a budget friendly, vegetarian, spicy, rice meal, this dish probably was an experiment gone right at a Pav bhaji stall many years ago. Today, it is a famous dish and can be seen in the menus of many popular high end eateries throughout India. If you have some leftover rice in your fridge in need of a makeover, this dish is for you 🙂

I have a really funny story linked with this recipe. So, last weekend we were to attend a potluck party. I was in charge of getting an Indian rice pulao dish. We must have decided upon the menu a couple of weeks back but my mommy brain just refused to retain that information. All I remembered was – rice ! So, I prepared some plain rice and conveniently forgot about the “pulao’ part of it.


Move forward to the day of the potluck and all of my girlfriends discussing last minute preps and suddenly one mentions – Prachi, what pulao are you getting? With a fully confused head, I asked for clarity only to realize my mistake. We were to meet in less than 1 hour and here I was standing with just a container of plain rice! I had to make some quick decisions and that rice had to magically transform into a pilaf.

Frantically, I just took out all the vegetables I could fish out of my fridge and started churning my brain. Just then, I remembered this dish my Maharashtrian friend once made for me and it had taken me by a storm. I kept asking her what masalas she had put in it because it was familiar but not a usual rice dish masala and she made me do several guesses before she revealed the secret ! The Pav Bhaji Masala … yum ! I could have never come up with this combination but then she told me she saw a road side Pav Bhaji hawker prepare it once.

If you are anything like me, you must be itching to get in your kitchen and make this dish quickly..right? So, lets not wait any longer and get to the recipe

Mumbai Vegetable Masala Pulao / Tava Pulao

Mumbai Vegetable Masala Pulao / Tava Pulao

  • Servings: 4-6
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  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups of vegetables of your choice (potatoes, carrots, beans, cauliflower, peas)
  • 1/2 cup fried paneer cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Tempering spices (pinch of asafoetida, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, 2 -3 green chilies)
  • 1 small onion – finely chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper – finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Pav Bhaji Masala
  • Juice of half a lime/lemon
  • Coriander-chopped, for garnishing


  • Start with a wok and add melt butter in it. Add the tempering spices and fry for a minute or till the raw smell of the ginger/garlic goes away.
  • Add in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pav bhaji masala. Cook the tomatoes for 5-7 minutes.
  • Add in the chopped vegetables and combine well. Simmer the flame and cover the wok with a lid. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes or till the vegetables are cooked.
  • Add in the cooked rice. Adjust the salt to taste and add in the sugar and lime juice. Mix well and let it cook on simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Garnish with coriander and serve hot.

This looks like a lot of work and there are a tonn of veggies in there but feel free to put whatever you like really ! If you have your spices/masalas right, you are free to go any route with your veggie game. The first time I made this, it was just with peas and carrots 🙂 Many bloggers would suggest that make your own spice blend to keep it authentic but I just skipped it for this recipe to keep it “simple and under 20 minutes” and it taste great ! So, try out this recipe this weekend and see yourself getting hooked to it 🙂 Cheers

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