Tawa palao is one of the most famous street foods in India. Tawa is a flat iron frying pan. This rice dish is called tawa palao because it is cooked on tawa. If a tawa is not available, a wok can be used instead. The best tawa palao is served in the streets of Mumbai. When I was studying in Panchgani, Maharastra, we visited Mumbai during holidays and weekends. One of our favourite pastimes during those visits was eating tawa palao. This dish is particularly tasty because of it’s spicy and somewhat tangy flavour.
Most of my tawa palao dishes are made from left over rice. Rice is a staple food here in India, so left over rice is easy to come by. Many people don’t like eating left over rice. But everyone seems to want to eat it if it is used to make fried rice or vegetarian tawa palao. There are many different ways of cooking Indian palao, depending on ingredients and different utensils that are used. Some of the most common palaos are pot palao, pressure cooked palao and tawa palao. Tawa palao has always been the most commonly cooked palao in my family.
When making tawa palao, different vegetables have to be used depending on which vegetables are in season. These vegetables include cauliflower, green peas, carrots, mushrooms, and green beans. I often add soya chunks to my palaos because soya chunks are rich in protein.
This dish goes well with cucumber and fresh yogurt raita (salad).
- 3 cups of cooked rice (Remember you can also use left over rice)
- 1 cup soya mini chunks (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes then rinsed in cold water and squeezed dry)
- ½ cup fresh green peas (you also can use frozen green peas if fresh green peas are not available)
- 2 medium size tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of any vegetable oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons of butter
- 1 green chilli, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of ginger and garlic paste (or finely chopped ginger and garlic if the paste is not available)
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder (Reduce the amount of red chilli powder, or even omit it altogether, if you don’t like strong spicy flavour)
- 1 ½ teaspoons of PAV BHAJI MASALA (a spice mixture made from cinnamon, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, black cardamoms, dry red chillies, fennel seeds, cloves, and mango powder) It is commonly available in Indian grocery shops.
- 1 teaspoon of Salt
- 1 serving spoon of chopped coriander leaves
- Heat the oil and butter on a tawa. Add cumin seeds and fry on a medium flame for a few seconds until the cumin seeds become slightly brown. Be very careful, because cumin seeds can burn quickly.
- Add sliced onions and fry until the onions become soft and light golden brown.
- Add ginger and garlic paste and mix well on a low flame.
- Add tomatoes, green chilli, spices and salt. Cook until the tomatoes are nice and soft. Then mash the mixture on a medium flame.
- Add green peas and mini soya chunks and mix well. Sprinkle a little water if the mixture becomes too dry. Cook the mixture for 7-8 minutes until the taste is evenly spread among all of the ingredients. Add rice into the mixture and mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the flame and add coriander leaves.
- Serve hot with lemon wedges along with yoghurt and cucumber raita (SALAD)
- For preparing raita, you will need 1 cup of fresh yogurt, ½ cup cucumbers that are cut in small cubes, 4-5 chopped mint leaves, 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves, 2/3 pinches of salt, 1 green chilli (remove the seeds and chop), 2-3 pinches of roasted cumin powder. Mix all the ingredients together.
This dish is an ideal brunch dish because it goes well with any kind of bread. I usually serve paneer burji with sliced bread or any kind of Indian bread. The best thing about this dish is that it is quick to prepareand very satisfying to eat.
This dish can also serve as a side dish in main meals. It is particularly tasty when spread on bread and eaten along with tea. Adding hot spices onto this dish is optional according to individual taste. It will still taste good without hot spices.
I recommend using fresh Indian cottage cheese because if the cheese is not fresh, the smell of stale cheese will spoil the dish.
Preparation time – 10minutes
Cooking time – 15 minutes
– Fresh Indian cottage cheese crumb – 1 ½ cups
– Tomato – 1 medium size, finely chopped
– Onion – 1 large size, chopped
– Ginger paste – ½ teaspoon
– Garlic paste – ½ teaspoon
– Green chilli – 2, chopped finely, slit and remove the seed if you don’t like your dish hot.
– Whole cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
– Coriander powder – ½ teaspoon
– Cumin powder – ½ teaspoon
– Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
– Red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon ( optional)
– Garam masala ( Indian mix spice powder) – ½ teaspoon (optional)
– Olive oil – 1 serving spoon (any kind of vegetable oil or butter can be used instead of olive oil)
– Salt – ½ teaspoon, you can reduce or increase the amount according to your taste
– Fresh coriander leaves – 1 serving spoon, finely chopped
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the whole cumin seeds. Fry the cumin seeds for a short time until they turn slightly brown. Add the chopped onion and chopped green chillies and fry until they become brown at the edges. Add ginger paste, garlic paste, chopped tomatoes and all of the spices. Fry the mixture and stir occasionally, until the tomatoes are no longer raw. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add Indian cottage cheese crumbs and salt. Mix well and fry for another 5 minutes. Turn off the flame and sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves onto the mixture. Serve hot.