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.
About This Recipe
Pav refers to a special India bread which is like a soft dinner roll and bhaji refers to the vegetable curry.
Popular snacks from the street of Mumbai, this Street Style Pav Bhaji has become a favorite in almost all parts of the country.
A mish-mash of vegetables cooked with spicy masala makes it 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.
This dish was invented in the 1850s as an option to provide quick, filling meals to factory and mill workers which were economical as well.
Gradually, it has become a mass favorite and served on the streets on carts as well as in the posh hotels.
Pav Bhaji 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.
One serving of bhaji has approx 215 Kcal and one serving of pav has approximately 100 Kcal.
This dish is,
- Simple to make
- Loaded with vegetables
- Apt for your weekend meals
- Better than the restaurant ones
To make this recipe, you need very basic ingredients.
Vegetables – For making bhaji, we need vegetables such as Cauliflower, Cabbage, Potato, Green Capsicum, Carrot, and Green Peas.
Apart from that, you will need a chopped onion, green chilies, and tomatoes. Adjust the number of chilies according to your taste.
Ginger Garlic Paste – Ginger and Garlic paste adds a nice flavor in this recipe. You can use either fresh or canned.
Pav Bhaji Masala & Red Chilli Powder – A spicy Masala Mix and Red Chilli Powder are added to this onion tomato masala. You can either use homemade masala or buy it.
Butter – For the best taste, use Butter to make it. You can also use vegetable oil to make the same.
Lemon and Coriander Leaves – Finally, you will need lemon juice and fresh coriander to add more tangy taste and freshness to the Bhaji.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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. You can also use Carrots, Bottle Gourd, Cauliflower, etc.
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 many 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.
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
Black 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.
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 chili and tomato and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the chopped veggies, red chili 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.
If you want to make your Pav Bhaji bright red, you can add in Kashmiri red chili paste to it. Soak the Chillies for an hour and then grind to make a paste. Add in the Bhaji along with Masala powder.
As they are Kashmiri Red Chillies, it won’t make it much spicy but give it a nice color.
You do not have to do anything different. Just serve the Bhaji with lots of butter in the Fondue Bowl and cut the Pav into small square pieces, to make it bite-sized. Just take a bite-sized piece with the fork, dip into the hot Bhaji and enjoy.
No, it won’t! You can double or triple the recipe easily with the same cooking time if you are making it for a big crowd.
Hariyali – In this version, spinach, coriander leaves, and mint leaves are ground to make a puree, and then it is added it in the veggies. It gives the Bhaji a hint of green color.
Cheese – You can sprinkle lots of grated cheese on the Bhaji, while serving.
Kala – Here, Bhaji is made using Goda Masala or Kala Masala instead of regular masala powder, giving it a distinct taste.
Kolhapuri Bhaji – Use of Kolhapuri masala or spicy Kanda Lahsun Masala is used in the Bhaji.
Beetroot – Add in beetroot puree for a night hint of pink in your Bhaji.
Mushrooms – Finley chopped Mushrooms are also added in the Bhaji along with other veggies.
Jain – 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.
Bhaji lasts for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, when stored in an air tight container. Reheat in a pan or in the microwave, before serving.
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. It also tastes great with Tawa Paratha.
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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.