Pav Bhaji | Street Food Recipes


Today’s recipe is a popular dish from one of the Indian metros, Mumbai. In fact, it’s not only famous street food in Mumbai but has spread it roots to all parts of India. A blend of Indian masala fried until the sweet aroma fills the entire kitchen, with a generous helping of butter and cooked mixed vegetables, it is one of the best tasting dishes.  Towards the evening, one can see a lot of pushcarts and roadside vendors making this famous pav bhaji on a huge flat iron. Based on the order, the bhaji (masala) is brought to the center of the flat iron along with fresh butter and cooked until you are mesmerized by the sweet aroma. Once the bhaji is smoking hot, pav (a type of Indian bun) is cooked on the same flat iron with lots of butter. Pav bhaji is then served with chopped coriander leaves, finely chopped onions and a slice of lemon. Of course, loaded on top with some more butter. A couple of pieces of the small pav bun and a cup of hot butter bhaji is all you need for a meal.


When I make this at home, I obviously try to keep the butter to the minimum (sometimes, I don’t even add butter and use oil instead) for health reasons. I also substitute the pav bun (made with all-purpose flour) with whole wheat bread, again for health reasons. These two modifications are enough to make this dish healthy enough for a weekday dinner. It’s totally guilt free and super quick to make as well. That’s why it’s one of the staples in my kitchen and gets loved by everyone in the family. On the day I made this pav bhaji, I was in a hurry to click the pictures that I forgot to place onions and lemon wedge and I am still beating myself for it. Nevertheless, recipe is all the more important than pictures – right?


To make Pav Bhaji | Mumbai Pav Bhaji

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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What I used –
  • Carrots, 2 large
  • Potatoes, 2 large
  • French Beans, a handful
  • Cauliflower, a cup
  • Fresh Green Peas, ½ cup
  • Green Capsicum, 1 medium
  • Onion, 1 large
  • Tomato, 2 medium
  • Ginger Garlic Paste, 2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Butter/Oil, 1 tbsp
  • Red Chilli Powder, ½ tsp
  • Pav Bhaji Masala Powder, 2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder, ½ tsp
  • Coriander Powder, ½ tsp
  • Cumin Powder, ½ tsp
  • Garam Masala Powder, ½ tsp (optional)
  • Salt, as required
  • Water, as required
  • Coriander Leaves Finely Chopped, 2 tbsp


How I made –

1. In a pressure cooker, add roughly chopped carrots, potatoes, French beans and cauliflower. Add enough water to cover the vegetables and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Let the pressure drop, open the lid of the pressure cooker and mash the vegetables. Set aside.


2. In a pan, heat butter or oil. Add cumin seeds. As they splutter, add finely chopped onions and fry until translucent. Add ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 mins until the raw smell is gone.


3. Add finely chopped tomatoes and mix well. Add turmeric power and cook until tomatoes are mushy. Add finely chopped capsicum and cook for a couple of minutes.


4. Add fresh green peas and stir fry for a minute. Add salt, turmeric power, red chilli powder, pav bhaji masala powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder. Cook for 4-5 mins until the fat is released from the sides of the masala.


5. Add mashed vegetables. If required, add some water . Let the mixture slow cook and boil on low flame for 10-12 mins. Keep it closed as the mixture can splutter. When the bhaji is thick and well cooked, remove from flame and add finely chopped coriander.


6. Serve hot with butter on top, along with pav buns or wheat bread and finely chopped onion, coriander leaves and lemon wedges on the side.


Note –
  • There is no hard and fast rule on the choice of vegetables. All or some of the above vegetables can be used, depending on the availability.
  • I always add additional chilli powder, if you prefer less spicy version – skip it. For spicier version, green chillies can be added too.
  • Capsicum takes very little time to cook. Hence add it only after tomatoes are half cooked. Green peas take even lesser time, hence I add them towards the end.
  • Don’t mash the vegetables to a paste. They should be mashed up but not to a paste.
  • I used half-half butter and oil. Alternatively only butter or oil can be used.
  • Stays well in the fridge for over 2 days. Goes well with rotis as well.

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