Mumbai-special: Tasty Tomato Pilao

For many days, I was itching to try a new rice variation, other than your regular vegetable pilao, fried rice or the biryani ranges. I was scanning the internet for that perfect recipe all day and chanced upon this one about 10 minutes before I was supposed to kick-start dinner.

When I read the recipe, I was intrigued by the use of ‘pav-bhaji’ masala in a rice dish. I realised that this dish has all the ingredients of pav-bhaji (it is a popular street-food of India. Look up the recipe on my blog) and ought to have the same flavors. It’s just that this is so much more quicker to make. Apparently, you get this too on those signature pav-bhaji stalls in Mumbai.

I already had leftover boiled rice in my refrigerator from the afternoon and thus, it took me merely 15-20 minutes to get this dish ready. I had a quick taste and knew I had lucked out on a winner recipe. It. turned. out. to. be. SO. GOOD!! The flavors were mind-blowing. Even ‘the husband’ who is your regular “I-just-want-a-simple-home-cooked-meal-everyday” kinda guy who is not too keen on experiments, loved it instantly.

I can’t recommend this recipe highly enough! Pleasseee give it a go and enjoy!


2 large tomatoes, chopped

2-3 cups cooked long grained basmati rice

1 green chilly, chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 capsicum, chopped

5-6 cauliflower florets, cut into smaller pieces

1 cup steamed peas

1 tbsn ginger garlic paste

2-3 tbsn tomato ketchup

1.5 tbsn pav bhaji masala

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp kashmiri red chilli masala

2-3 tbsn oil+ 1tsp butter

1/4 cup water

Salt to taste

Fresh coriander leaves, washed and chopped, to garnish


-In a large, deep pan, heat the oil and the butter together. Keep the heat on medium-high.

-Once hot, add the cumin seeds. They should crackle immediately.

-Add the green chilly and fry a few seconds.

-Add the chopped onions and fry just till they turn a little pink. Do not brown them!

-Add the ginger garlic paste and fry a few seconds, till the raw aroma goes away.

-Throw in your chopped capsicum and cauliflower florets. Mix everything well together. Add your 1/4 cup of water and covering the pan, cook till the water evaporates and the veggies are almost cooked.

-Once the veggies are soft, make a well in the middle of the mixture and add the chopped tomatoes. Also sprinkle your salt on the tomatoes as this speeds u their cooking time dramatically. Cover the tomatoes with the veggies and cook around 4-5 minutes, covered.

-Once the tomatoes get soft, mix everything together well.

-Add your steamed peas and fry for 1-2 minutes.

-Add the tomato ketchup and fry for a few seconds. You can increase the quantity of the ketchup according to your taste but do not skip it. It is an essential element of the recipe.

-Add the red chilly powder and pav-bhaji masala. Mix well and fry a few seconds.

-Finally, throw in your boiled rice and chopped coriander leaves. Gently fold everything together so that the rice grains do not break. Cook for 2-3 minutes so that the rice gets heated through and blended well with the tempering.

-Switch off the heat and let the rice rest, covered for 5-6 minutes.

-Serve hot with natural yogurt or as it is! Enjoy!


-If you do not want to use raw veggies, you can steam the cauliflower and capsicum with the peas and skipping the step 6, you can add them together after your tomatoes get cooked. You can also add steamed carrot. I did not use it as it takes more time than other veggies to get cooked when used raw.























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