Pav bhaji

A hot, spicy, flavourful blend of veggies, served with lemon wedges and onions, along with generously buttered Pav just off the griddle… Yummm – Who can resist this most popular Street food from Mumbai!!

Pav bhaji is believed to have originated on the streets of Mumbai as a fast lunchtime dish for the textile workers back in the day. If you literally translate it, Pav means Bread and Bhaji means vegetable. It is a healthy meal filled with lots of veggies and kids love it too! Cannot think of a better way to get them to eat vegetables! My son loves pav bhaji, but his most favorite part is having a pav-bhaji sandwich for lunch the next day! A healthy lunch-box fix!!


Serves: 3-4 


  • 3 medium size Potatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 of a medium Cauliflower, washed and cut into big chunks
  • 1 cup Peas
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon Butter or oil (I usually use a combination of both- 1 tbsp butter and 1/2 tbsp oil)
  • 1 -1/2 tablespoon Ginger-Garlic paste
  • 1 Large Onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium Tomatoes, finely chopped (I usually use Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 medium Bell pepper, chopped small (can use red or green or both)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder (adjust per your taste)
  • 1/4 tablespoon smoked paprika, optional (It gives nice smokey flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon Pav bhaji masala or Garam masala (MDH or Everest brand, adjust quantity per your spice level, I sometimes use a bit more the 1tbsp)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • Chopped Cilantro

On the side –

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Pinch of Chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Butter for toasting bread (I usually use salted butter, but regular is fine as well)
  • Bread or Pav (Dinner rolls not sweet ones, we, however, these days use Sourdough bread as it tastes closer to the bread we get in India)
  • 1 big Lemon or Lime

For Tadka –

  • 1/2 teaspoon Ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri Chili powder

How To:

For the Bhaji-

  • Pressure cook cauliflower, green peas, corn, potatoes with 1 cup of water and teaspoon of salt for 3 whistles. Turn off the gas and allow the steam to escape from the pressure cooker before opening the lid.


  • Peel off the skin of cooked potato and mash it with a potato masher. Keep it aside.
  • Heat butter &/ oil in a pan, when warm add ginger-garlic paste to it and cook it for a minute, stirring it while it cooks so as not to burn it.
  • Add finely chopped onions, and some salt so the onions cook faster. Continue cooking onions on medium heat until they are golden brown, about 5-10 minutes. Make sure you are stirring the onions every few minutes so that it does not burn.
  • Add chopped tomatoes to the pan and mix well. Cook it for about 10 minutes till it is all mixed well and tomatoes are all well cooked.
  • Now add bell pepper to the pan, cover and cook it till it is well cooked.
  • Turn the flame to low and add all the boiled vegetables and mashed potatoes to the pan. Mash all of them together with a potato masher until it is all completely combined, cook it for about 5 minutes.
  • Add Pav bhaji masala or garam masala, red chili powder, smoked paprika if using, coriander powder, ½ cup water and, salt to taste. Mix all the masalas and vegetables thoroughly so it is well combined.
  • Simmer this bhaji for about 5 minutes on low flame, stirring occasionally. You can add ¼ cup more water if needed.
  • Meanwhile, add ghee to a small pan for the tadka, once warm turn off the heat. Add ½ teaspoon of Kashmiri chili to it give the pan a quick gentle swirl and add this tadka into the pav bhaji pan. Mix well. You have to be quick in doing this tadka as you don’t want the chili powder to burn.
  • Add the juice of ½ a lemon to the pav bhaji, mix it well and keep aside.

For the Bread / Pav-

  • Melt butter in the skillet and place the buns or bread slices into the pan. Toast it until golden brown and a little crisp on both sides. Remove and keep aside. Repeat this for all the buns or bread you are using. Serve it along with pav bhaji.

For the masala Onion Side-

  • Melt butter in the pan on low flame add onions, chili powder and salt to it. Mix well until combined about a minute or so. Make sure you are not overcooking the onions, it should still have a bite to it. Remove this into a bowl and serve it on the side along with Pav bhaji.

Serving suggestion:

  • Take a ladle of hot bhaji in a plate and top it with a dollop of butter. Decorate the bhaji with some cilantro. Serve this with bread/pav, side of masala onions and a wedge of lemon.
  • Can also make Pav bhaji sandwich. Make sure that the consistency is a bit thick so that the bread does not get soggy.



  • Pav bhaji Masala Or Garam Masala flavor varies from different brands, so make sure to adjust the quantity accordingly. I use my mom’s homemade garam masala, so I usually skip using pav bhaji masala, but I always have one on hand just in case. My first preference is MDH and 2nd Everest.
  • Use Kashmiri Chili powder for a less spicy curry. Kashmiri chilies are known to be less spicy however they impart a lovely red color to the curry.
  • In absence of pressure cooker boil the vegetables in a pot like you would do for boiled potatoes or pasta. Add a bit of salt to the water to flavor the veggies. Cook till its well done.
  • Bread– If using Pav (non-sweet dinner rolls), I usually slice them open, spread butter in the inner side and toast it on the griddle. I usually use sourdough bread (as it tastes more like Indian bread), just apply butter to both sides and toast it as well.
  • Onions– Typically this dish is served with chopped raw onions, however, my mom always made masala onions and I seem to like it better than the raw onions. You can choose whichever one you like and serve it with the pav bhaji.
  • Pav bhaji tastes even better the next day, so make sure you have leftovers 🙂

One Comment Add yours

  1. Rita says:

    Pav bhaji welcomed anytime


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