Bombay Tomato Pulao — Tawa Pulao

Who knew that you could add Pav Bhaji masala and ketchup to rice and make this one of a kind rice dish? Errrr…. Pulao to be precise, not me of course! If you already knew that please be so kind as to not to roll your eyes. Because there are some one track people like me who think that if the instruction on the package says to use it in Bhaji then you use it only in the Bhaji and nothing else. OK, all that changed when a friend of mine sent me this recipe link and asked me to try it. I tried it, loved it and I have made it many times since. 

Adding ketchup and paneer to this rice dish makes it a kid friendly dish. This is a one pot dish and especially helpful when I need to make something quick and filling.  This is also a great way to use left over rice. At times I add chopped potatoes, carrot, beans to this and make it more nutritious. Pair in some raita and pappad and this is a wholesome meal in itself. 

This pulao is a cool idea for taking to pot lucks, get together etc. 

Update: Based on the comments by fellow food bloggers, I understand that this is also called as Tava Pulao.

 bombay pulao paav bhaji masala rice

Recipe Source: Adapted from KahanaKhazana

Serves: 3-4


  • 1 cup rice (uncooked) [basmati is preferred]
  • 1 big onion 
  • 2 big tomatoes
  • ½ cup tomato ketchup ( if you like sweetness and tanginess then add more)
  • 1 big bell pepper/capsicum
  • 2 tsp pav bhaji masala ( I used Baadshah brand)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ -3/4 cup paneer cubes ( I added very little as I ran out of stock)
  • ½ cup peas
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Oil
  • Salt


  • Cook the rice separately either on stove top or pressure cooker using enough water. Make sure it cooks well without getting mushy.
  • Take a big plate and spread out the rice, add little oil and make sure there are no lumps.
  •  Take a big skillet, add oil on medium heat. Add cumin seeds, ginger paste, garlic paste and fry.
  •  Add the chopped onions and stir until it slightly cooks. Now add the chopped bell pepper and continue to stir. Add the chopped tomatoes, peas and stir in between.
  • After the tomatoes have cooked add the paneer cubes and tomato ketchup. Add the chilli powder, turmeric, paav bhaji masala.
  •  Add the rice, salt and mix thoroughly. Cover the lid and let it cook for a while. 
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Tastes delicious as is or with side of raita and some roasted pappad.  


Winner of the Back to the Roots- Gourmet Mushroom Kit Giveaway

 Finally I would like to end this post by announcing the Back to the Roots- Gourmet Mushroom Kit Giveaway. I used random number generator, and picked a random number based on the number of comments. I am thrilled to announce that the winner is Divya Vikram. Congratulations! I will contact you soon via email. Thank you to all who participated in this giveaway.

Indian Okra Fry/ Crispy Bhindi Fry Recipe

bhendi fry

In our house okra is one of our favorite vegetable. Thankfully we get this all the year around in our grocery stores and so there is no dearth of okra related recipes in our household. It regularly makes its way onto our table in the form of Okra raita, okra coconut curry, Spicy bhendi curry etc. But this simple and easy okra fry is our all time favorite. 

We like the okra in this fry to be crispy (not mushy) and so I do a trick while cooking this. I first cook the okra/bhindi/lady’s finger until it turns brown and crispy and then in the second step add the chopped onions and garlic. I know this is unlike the standard fry in which the onion is cooked first followed by the vegetable. But trust me on this, adding bhendi first gives it good room to turn brown and crispy and then by adding the onion later it retains the crispiness of the okra. 

bhendi masala

Also we like this sabji/fry with less of masala and hence I do not add too much masala to this. I do add kitchen king masala at times, but that is optional. 

Tips to get rid of stickiness in okra/bhindi:

  • Wash the bhindi and pat it dry before chopping. Dry it with clean cloth or with paper towel. If there is any moisture left, then it will make the okra sticky while cooking.
  • Also for most of my okra dishes I use a wide pan (not deep) and cook the okra on medium high heat and keep stirring in between. Add oil in between.
  • I also avoid covering it with lid (in the initial stages) and do not sprinkle water to cook.

On a final note, please do not forget to leave your comment on the Gourmet mushroom Giveaway. The last day for this is July 10th.

okra fry


  • 1 lb fresh okra/lady’s finger
  • 1 big onion (chopped)
  • 2-3 garlic pods (peeled and crushed)
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1 tsp kitchen king masala (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped coriander leaves (garnish)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • salt to taste


  • Wash the okra thoroughly and pat them dry. Make sure there is no moisture, otherwise okra will become sticky and slimy when cooking.
  • Cut the top and the tail of the okras and chop them into small round pieces.
  • Heat oil in a big wide skillet, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and let it splutter.
  • Increase the heat to medium high and add the chopped okra/bhendi and stir it in intervals. Depending on the quantity this will take quite a bit to cook and turn crispy and brown.
  • Add salt, chopped onion, chopped garlic and fry until it turns light brown or translucent.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, kitchen king masala. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the powder is well coated.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and stir well.
  • Serve hot with roti or yogurt rice /daal rice.

ladys finger fry

Vermicelli (Semiya) Upma/ Shavige Uppittu

vermicelli upma semiya upma
This will probably be my last post for the Light Lunches Event here @RedChillies an on-going event for the month of June. This event focuses on light lunches that are easy on the calories, yet rich in taste and delicious.

 Once such dish that fits the bill and one which I make often is this Vermicelli Upma (called as Shaivge upma in Kannada). Semiya is Indian vermicelli and is available in the Indian grocery stores. 

At our home it has transformed from a breakfast/tiffin/evening snack dish to a main course lunch/dinner dish owing to lack of time. The good thing is that this is a one dish meal and that means less work with cleaning and dish washing. This is also a crowd pleaser and can be put together in no time (if you have the semiya/shevai on hand). This is also a good one to make when you are looking for quick ideas when unexpected guests arrive.

 Growing up, as kids we preferred this upma over the regular Sooji upma. My mom would then sneak in as many veggies as possible to make this colorful and healthy. You can add the vegetables mentioned here or more to make it nutritious. This is a kid’s favorite dish as it looks more like noodles. You can reduce the amount of green chillies and sprinkle little bit of sugar before offering it to them.


  • There are two varieties of Vermicelli available (at least in the Bambino variety) the plain broken vermicelli and the roasted vermicelli.
  • Using the roasted vermicelli makes the upma process easier as it prevents the extra step of roasting. This is also non-sticky and avoids forming clumps.
  • But taste wise I like the plain vermicelli better and I like roasting the vermicelli myself. But the color of the vermicelli in this case will not be white.

shavige uppittu

How to prevent the vermicelli from sticking?

  • Roast the vermicelli in little oil slowly so that it is evenly browned. Keep aside. Also use the correct amount of water while cooking. This prevents the vermicelli from sticking.
  • If pre-cooking the vermicelli, then first boil the vermicelli in water as per package suggestion. After draining the hot water, add running cold water. After the cold water is drained add about a tsp of oil and toss it gently so that the oil sticks all around. This prevents from vermicelli sticking to each other.


Vermicelli Upma Recipe


  • 2 cups  vermicelli/ semiya/ shavige ( I use this Bambino variety)
  • ½ cup onion (finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup peas (shelled)
  • ¼ cup carrot (chopped finely)
  • ¼ cup potato (peeled and chopped finely)
  • 2-3 green chillies ( finely chopped )
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad daal
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Cilantro (for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup broken cashew (optional)
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • Salt


  • Please read the notes above before proceeding.
  • Heat 1 tsp of oil in pan over medium heat and add the vermicelli. Keep stirring the mixture until the vermicelli turns pale brown. Transfer to plate and keep aside.
  • In the same pan now heat 1 Tbsp oil. Add mustard seeds, urad dal and mix until the urad daal turns light brown in color.
  • Add the chopped onion and green chillies.  After the onion has cooked a little add the chopped carrots, potatoes and peas and keep stirring. (Since the vegetables are chopped finely, they will cook fast.)
  • Add salt and little bit more oil if necessary and stir continuously.
  • Add 3 cups of water to this and let it come to boil. At this point check for seasoning. It is better to have the correct taste at this time.
  • Add the roasted vermicelli to this, stir, turn the heat to medium and cover with a lid.
  • After 5 minutes stir again and now partially cover the pan until the water has all absorbed. Turn off the heat.
  • Lastly garnish with lemon juice, chopped cilantro and cashew pieces. Keep the lid covered for another 5-10 minutes. Stir again and serve hot.


semiya uppuma