Pav Bhaji is a popular snack from Maharashtra, especially Mumbai, which is a mish-mash of a variety of vegetables and spices served with a special bread called pav. This dish can be had for lunch, evening snack, or dinner. I have a little secret that I got from a street vendor to make the best bhaji and you would definitely want to know it too. Here is how to make it at home.
I am a sucker for Indian street food and no trip to Mumbai is complete without hogging on a plate of delicious Pav Bhaji, Kutchi Dabeli, or Vada Pav.
Juhu Beach Chowpatty is the place to go if you are looking to eat yummy roadside food which is not only delicious but is super easy on the pocket too.
When in Delhi, my fav place to go for clean and hygienic Indian Food is Haldiram.
But the best food from the long list of Indian Menu at the restaurants or streets can be made at home and this homemade food tastes much better because we use the best of ingredients, can be sure about the hygiene and it’s much economical to make it at home.
So let’s make this Restaurant Style Pavbhaji recipe at home. Also do check my collection of other snacks and appetizer recipes here.
What is Pav Bhaji?
Pav refers to a special India bread which is like a soft dinner roll and bhaji refers to the vegetable curry.
Popular snack from the street of Mumbai, this dish has become a favorite in almost all parts of the country.
A mish-mash of vegetables cooked with spicy masala makes Bombay Pav Bhaji a unique dish in many ways.
Served with Buttered Pav ( Soft Bread ) and lemon and onions on the sides, it’s more or less a meal in itself.
It is actually made on a huge tawa (Skillet) which is used in most of the street shops of Mumbai. It just tastes excellent with warm, fluffy pav.
How was it invented?
This dish was invented in the 1850’s as an option to provide quick, filling meals to factory and mill workers which was economical as well.
Gradually, it has become a mass favorite and served on the streets on carts as well as in the posh hotels.
Pro Tip by Neha
Do not use too many potatoes in your bhaji. The combination of vegetables that I have used in this recipe makes the best tasting bhaji.
You have to make it once to believe it.
Add some grated panner in your bhaji at the end and make it cheese Pav Bhaji.
You can also add some grated processed cheese and make it really cheesy.
You can increase or decrease the number of chillies in the recipe to suit your taste.
I used Pav Bhaji masala from the Everest brand which is my favorite but you can use whichever masala you want.
The vegetables must be cooked until they are nicely softened. Otherwise, you will have chunks of veggies in your bhaji.
Use a potato masher to mash the bhaji. No other equipment works as well as this simple masher.
Add 1/4 beetroot in your bhaji to give it a lovely red hue.
The roadside vendors use dried green peas soaked in water to make the bhaji and that gives it a very distinct taste. You can try using them too.
Bhaji made in butter tastes the best and authentic. So do not replace it with oil.
Which vegetables can be used to make the bhaji?
The choice of vegetables used to make bhaji defines its taste.
Mostly Potato, peas, beans and capsicum are used to make bhaji but I have learned this secret technique to use cabbage in my bhaji from a street vendor in Mumbai.
Cabbage doesn’t have a very profound taste and takes up the taste of the masalas added to it.
Moreover, it increases the quantity of bhaji and is economical to use as well.
That is the reason, street vendors use a lot of cabbage to make the bhaji.
It’s cheap to use and takes up the taste of the masala making the bhaji delicious.
But again as I said, there are no rules to make bhaji.
Add whichever vegetable you feel like eating and experiment with various flavors.
Try to not use too much of carrots as they tend to make the bhaji sweeter.
The measurements that I have given below works fine for me, so maybe you can give it a try too.
To make this recipe, you need very basic ingredients. I have already talked about the veggies that you can use to make the bhaji.
Apart from that, you will need chopped onion, green chillies, and tomatoes. Adjust the amount of chillies according to your taste.
Ginger and garlic paste adds a nice flavor in this recipe. You can use either fresh or canned.
Pav Bhaji masala and red chilli powder are added to this onion tomato masala. You can either use homemade masala or buy it.
Finally, you will need lemon juice and fresh coriander.
Which Pav Bhaji Masala is the best?
The best pav Bhaji Masala is the one made at home, but if you wish to buy readymade masala, I have felt that Everest is the best.
It gives a perfect taste to the bhaji and is not overly spicy.
Here is how to make homemade masala Recipe
- Coriander seeds – 4 tbsp
- Cumin Seeds – 2 tbsp
- Fennel Seeds – 1 tbsp
- Cinnamon – 2 inch
- Cloves – 8-10
- Black cardamom – 2
- Bay Leaf – 2
- Blach Peppercorn – 2 tsp
- Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder – 2 tbsp
- Dry Mango Powder – 2 tsp
- Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, black cardamom, bay leaf and black peppercorn until they are fragrant and nicely browned.
- Remove the pan from heat and transfer them in a blender along with Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder and dry mango powder.
- Grind to make a smooth powder.
Jain Friendly Recipe
To make Jain bhaji, skip adding onion, ginger, and garlic in the recipe.
Use the vegetables that are Jain friendly and you can make a delicious Jain Pav Bhai at home.
You can replace potatoes with raw banana.
Can it be frozen?
Like any other curry, Bhaji can be frozen quite well. Transfer it in a freezer-safe container and freeze for 3-4 months.
Thaw on counter for 2-3 hours and then microwave until hot.
You can also give it a fresh tadka to make it taste absolutely fresh.
Serve chopped onion, chopped coriander, lemon wedges, and butter with Pavbhaji.
Do not forget to slightly toast the Pav with butter on a hot tava just before serving.
Once the bhaji is ready, you can serve this dish. To serve cut the pav into half horizontally.
Heat a griddle and put a blob of butter on it. Keep the pav pieces on the hot griddle and toast from both sides until browned.
You can sprinkle a bit of pav bhaji masala over the pav.
Keep the buttered toasted pav on a serving plate. Keep bhaji on the side. Top the bhaji with another tsp of butter.
Keep some finely chopped onion, lemon wedges, and chopped coriander on the side and serve.
If pav is not, you can also serve bhaji with buttered toast or burger buns.
How to make it in Instant Pot (Electric Pressure Cooker)?
You can pressure cook the vegetables in an instant pot instead of a regular pressure cooker.
To do it, press the SAUTE setting of Instant Pot.
Add butter and once the butter melts, add onion and ginger-garlic paste and cook until onion turns translucent.
Add green chilli and tomato and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the chopped veggies, red chilli powder, pav bhaji masala, salt, and 1/2 cup water.
Close the lid of the Instant Pot and press PRESSURE COOK.
Set the timer to 10 minutes. Once the timer goes off, let the steam escape on its own.
Open the lid of the pot and mash the veggies.
Add lemon juice and fresh coriander.
Press SAUTE and cook the bhaji for 8-10 minutes. Serve hot.
One serving of bhaji has approx 215 Kcal and one serving of pav has approximately 100 Kcal.
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Step By Step Recipe
Wash the vegetables and add them in a pressure cooker along with water and pressure cook until done.
Heat butter in a pan.
Add onion, ginger paste and garlic paste and fry till onion turns translucent and the raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone.
Add green chillies and tomatoes and ½ cup of water and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Now add red chilli powder and Pav bhaji masala and cook for a minute.
Add the cooked vegetables in the pan and mix well.
Mash the bhaji using a potato masher till it is all mushy and mixed very well.
Add paneer, lemon juice, salt, and coriander and mix well.
Pav Bhaji Recipe
- 1 and 1/2 cup Cauliflower (Cut into small pieces)
- 1 cup Cabbage (Chopped)
- 1 and 1/2 cup Capsicum (Chopped)
- 1 and 1/2 cup Carrot (Chopped)
- 1 cup Peas
- 1 cup Potato (Peeled and chopped)
- 6 tbsp Butter
- 1 and 1/2 cup Onion (Chopped)
- 2 tsp Ginger Paste
- 2 tsp Garlic Paste
- 2 cups Tomato (Chopped)
- 2 tsp Green Chilli (Chopped)
- 2 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- 5 tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala
- 1/2 cup Paneer (Grated)
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp Fresh Coriander (Chopped)
- Wash the vegetables and add them in a pressure cooker.
- Add a cup of water and pressure cook for 1 whistle on high heat.
- Simmer the heat and cook for another whistle.
- Remove the pressure cooker from heat and let the pressure release and keep aside.
- Heat butter in a pan.
- Add onion, ginger paste and garlic paste and fry till onion turns translucent and the raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone.
- Add green chillies and tomatoes and ½ cup of water and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Now add red chilli powder and Pav bhaji masala and cook for a minute.
- Add the cooked vegetables in the pan and mix well.
- Mash the Pav Bhaji using a potato masher till it is all mushy and mixed very well.
- Keep adding little water if the Pav Bhaji thickens and cook for 10-12 minutes on medium low heat.
- Add paneer, lemon juice, salt and coriander and mix well.
- Garnish with fresh coriander and dollop of butter.
- Serve hot with a dollop of butter, chopped onions and slightly toasted and buttered Pav.