Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is India’s great melting pot. Since time immemorial, Mumbai has been home to people from all across India and indeed, the world. Mumbai has also been home to every type of migrant worker. Anyone who wanted to make a living would come to Mumbai and would find some work. Many left their families behind to live in shared accommodation and shanty towns while they eked out a living in this great metropolis.
One thing common to most migrant workers was that they needed food and so all kinds of affordable fare became available in this city. It also gave rise to an entire range of dishes that are peculiar to Mumbai that are popularly called Mumbai Street Food.
A generic umbrella term that covers food available at small street-side stalls, Mumbai Street Food encompasses a wide range of dishes from the filling Vada-Pav to the fun ones like Pani Puri.
One of the most popular Mumbai Street Food items is Pav Bhaji. Literally meaning bread (Pav) and vegetable (Bhaji), Pav Bhaji consists of a spicy vegetable mix served up with a local bread called Pav. I guess, many people who did not like Pav or then craved rice mixed up rice with the Bhaji and thus was born Tava Pulao.
Tava Pulao is essentially Bhaji of Pav Bhaji mixed with rice. It is called Tava Pulao because it is made on the same Tava or griddle that Pav Bhaji is made on. Whatever its origins, Tava Pulao is now a popular dish in India and has moved from being street food to a listed item on many a restaurant menu.
I love Tava Pulao because it combines two of my favourite foods; rice and Pav Bhaji!
The simplest way to make Tava Pulao is to mix leftover bhaji of Pav Bhaji with some rice! However, if the urge strikes and you have no Bhaji, here is the recipe for Tava Pulao.
Time: 60 Minutes
- Basmati or Any Long Grained Rice – 1 Cup
- Tomato – 1 Large
- Capsicum – 1 Large
- Onion – 1 Large
- Potato – 1 Large
- Peas – 1/2 Cup
- Kashmiri Red Chilli – 3
- Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
- Pav Bhaji Masala – 1 tsp
- Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Salt to Taste
- Soak the kashmiri red chillies in 1/2 cup water for 10 minutes.
- Drain the water and grind the red chillies into a fine paste.
- Pressure cook the basmati rice with 2.5 cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Let the pressure cooker cool and speard the rice in a large plate or on a cotton cloth so that the moisture dries out.
- Chop the tomato into fine pieces.
- Chop the onion to 1/4″ pieces.
- Chop the capsicum into 1/4″ pieces.
- Peel and cut the potato pieces into 1/2″ cubes.
- In a large wok or kadai, heat the oil.
- Add the potato pieces and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the onion pieces and stir fry till transparent.
- Add the capsicum pieces and stir fry for 5 minutes.
- Add the peas.
- Add the kashmiri chilly paste, ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, and pav bhaji masala.
- Stir fry for about 2 minutes.
- Add 1/4 cup water.
- Over medium heat, cook covered till the water evapourates and the potato pieces are cooked.
- Add the rice and salt, and mix well.
- Serve warm with papad, and Kakdi Raita or Boondi Raita.
- If you do not have Kashmiri Chillies, omit them. All they lend is the red color. You could try adding 2 or 3 tbsp of tomato puree and about 1/4 tsp turmeric to get some color.