A popular street food of Mumbai, tawa pulao, is a delicious combination that was created by chance.
When it’s time for lunch and you’re too hungry, what do you do? Order in? Well, that can work for a few days but you would need your dal, roti, chawal after a point kyunki dil toh desi haina. A couple of my friends living in Bombay or Mumbai, as you would like to call it, do not have time to cook as they are rushing for work. Upon returning home at night, they don’t have much energy left to cook. In such scenarios, they find kneading the dough for chapatti to be a dreaded task. Rice comes to their rescue at such times. They have expressed and it is a fact that cooking rice is much simpler. And who wouldn’t want an easy way out right?
The streets of Mumbai throng with pedestrians, gathered around food stalls at Juhu Chowpatty and Marine drive, to hog on the chatpati delicacies that are on offer. Late in the night too, you would find one odd person standing and relishing a plate of pav bhaji to their heart’s content. But what about the street food vendor himself? Doesn’t he feel hungry by the time he wraps up his kiosk to head home? Luckily, this one vendor did feel hungry that night and what we have because of that is the tawa pulao.
Although there are no clear-cut evidences, it is believed that one night, a street food vendor got so hungry that he dunked a bowl of rice on his tawa which had some bhaji left. Upon tasting it, he liked it so much that he ended up adding peas and capsicum to the mix. Next day, when he asked a few customers to taste this dish, they loved it and the rest they say is history. We can’t say that we aren’t thankful for the day tawa pulao was born.
The fact that it was cooked on the same tawa (griddle) as the pav bhaji gave it its name. This method of preparation imparted the pulao with the flavours of the bhaji and this infusion is a popular street food in Mumbai today. Making tawa pulao is super easy. You need to start with some boiled, long-grain, basmati rice. Meanwhile the rice boils, prepare the pav bhaji masala with loads of spices. Flavour the rice with this masala and add your chopped carrots, capsicum, peas and other vegetables. Toss it all together on a tawa for a smoky flavour and serve hot with a bowl of raita.
Planning to try this for lunch? Here is a detailed recipe of Tawa Pulao.