Pav Bhaji Recipe

Pav Bhaji Recipe

Pav Bhaji is popular Indian street food from Mumbai in which dinner rolls (pav/bun) are served with mashed vegetables flavored with special spice powder.

Here is a detailed step by step recipe to easily make the perfect street style Pav Bhaji at home using minimal butter and no food color.

You can serve this as an evening snack, or as a main dish for lunch or dinner. It is also a crowd-pleasing recipe for parties or potluck.

Mumbai Style Pav Bhaji Recipe using cooked potato, carrot, beetroot, peas mashed and flavored with pav bhaji masala. Pav Bhaji is served in a bowl with a dollop of butter, chopped onion, cilantro along with dinner rolls.

Back in my school days, for someone from Karnataka (a southern Indian state), street food meant mostly Masala puri, Pani puri, Dahi Puri, Churmuri, etc.

Pav Bhaji was more like a luxury we would find only in special chaat stores, some sweet stalls, and restaurants. So I always ordered pav bhaji when I visited these places.

Things have changed now and there are quite a lot of chaat carts in the southern states as well that sell pav bhaji.

After a lot of trials, I have finally figured out how to make the best pav bhaji at home that tastes and looks exactly like the one we get in chaat carts or restaurants.

The best part is that it has no artificial food color nor a ton of butter that is typically used outside to make the bhaji! Much healthier, right?

What is Pav Bhaji/Pao Bhaji?

If you have never heard of or tasted pav bhaji, you might be wondering what exactly it is.

Pav Bhaji is basically a combo of two different dishes served together.

One is the Pav, and the other is the Bhaji.

Pav or Pao is nothing but soft eggless dinner rolls and Bhaji means a thick gravy made using mashed vegetables, butter, and spice powders.

So you basically scoop out the bhaji with a piece of butter-toasted dinner roll along with some chopped onion, and cilantro (coriander).

In case you don’t have pav (dinner rolls), you can also serve this with burger buns, soft bread, or also with hotdog buns.

How delightful does this sound? Trust me, it is absolutely lip-smacking.

Ingredients Required

You can buy pav/ladi pav (dinner rolls) from outside, but you will obviously have to make the bhaji at home. I will be explaining how to make the perfect bhaji in this recipe.

I don’t have a recipe for pav as of now, as I am not that good at baking yet. Once I perfect the recipe, I will surely update it here.

I usually buy burger buns, or hotdog buns since we don’t get pav/dinner rolls here.

To make the Bhaji you will need:

Vegetables-

The pav bhaji you get outside on the street will mostly be made of only potato, peas, green bell pepper (capsicum), onion, and tomato. They form the base.

Additionally, you can add vegetables like carrot, cauliflower, beetroot.

I use only half a green bell pepper and personally don’t like adding cauliflower at all in my pav bhaji. I feel adding cauliflower and too much bell pepper dominates and alters the flavors of the bhaji.

The reason why I add beetroot is because of the color it imparts. I love the deep reddish-orange color in the bhaji, and beetroot really helps with that, without altering the taste.

I agree adding carrot makes the bhaji a little sweet and which is why you will need to use more of the spice powders.

So you can choose to use whichever veggies you like from the above list, but please do not use any other vegetables like beans, cabbage, broccoli, eggplant, radish, etc!

Butter-

When you cook the spices and vegetables in butter, it imparts a lovely flavor and makes the bhaji buttery and melt-in-mouth. So, please do not skip it.

Of course, you need not use tons of it, but I would recommend at least 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter if you want the right taste. You can, of course, add more if you like, makes the bhaji much more delicious and richer!

For a vegan version, you can use vegan butter.

Pav Bhaji Masala-

The mashed vegetables get a very distinctive flavor because of this particular spice powder. Therefore, this spice powder is extremely important to get the right taste.

I have never really tried making it at home, and use the store-bought pav bhaji masala. I recommend MDH or Everest brand, they both are amazing.

In case you don’t find pav bhaji masala, you can use garam masala, dhania powder (coriander powder), and jeera powder in the ratio of 1:1:0.5 respectively.

I would however highly recommend using pav bhaji masala.

Kashmiri Red Chili Powder-

You can use either Kashmiri or Byadagi red chili powder, they both impart a bright red color with less heat. This is what we are looking for in the bhaji.

In case you do not have them both, you can use the spicy red chili powder, but reduce the quantity than mentioned in the recipe.

You can also use paprika powder if you do not find Kashmiri red chili powder.

Ginger and Garlic-

I recommend using fresh ginger garlic paste, or grated ginger and garlic. It hardly takes a minute to grate them. You can also pound them in a mortar and pestle.

Store-bought ginger garlic paste will also work, but I personally dislike using it in my cooking since it is not fresh and is with preservatives.

Lemon Juice-

Lemon juice is added twice. Once while making the bhaji, and the second time before serving.

It makes a lot of difference in the taste and balances all the flavors perfectly. So, do not skip this.

Kasuri Methi and Cilantro (Coriander)

Kasuri Methi is dried fenugreek leaves. You can find this in grocery stores (or in Indian stores, if you are living outside India).

I prefer adding these directly to melted butter, as it releases a great flavor. In case you don’t find this, you can skip.

Cilantro can be added to the end after making the bhaji and/or while serving the bhaji. More the merrier!

Tips to make the reddish-orange color Bhaji (Pav Bhaji)

If you are new to this, you might be wondering what is it with the color!

If you have seen or tasted the street style Pav Bhaji, you would have noticed that it will be reddish-orange in color. That is because they use artificial food color.

We don’t want to use it for health reasons while making at home, yet try to bring in that reddish-orange color following healthy alternatives.

Here are a few tips to do that-

Beetroot-

As I mentioned earlier, it is not traditionally used. But in my experience, it really does make a difference to the color, without altering the taste.

Of course, it is not for the purists, and you can totally skip if you are not particular about the color.

If you want the color of the bhaji to be more reddish, reduce the carrot to one and increase the quantity of the beetroot to two.

Kashmiri red chili powder-

The stage at which you add the Kashmiri or Byadagi red chili powder makes the difference here. Add it directly to the melted butter rather than adding it later along with veggies. This way it helps release the lovely color.

Tomatoes-

Make sure to use well-ripened, red, juicy tomatoes. Cooking them well along with the Kashmiri red chili powder enhances the color of the pav bhaji. If you like, you can use store-bought tomato puree instead of fresh tomatoes.

Dry Kashmiri red chilies

Soak 2 or 3 Kashmiri or Byadagi red chilies in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and blend them into a smooth paste. Add this paste along with tomatoes and cook well.

If you are using the chilies, reduce, or skip adding the chili powder. You can also reduce or skip the beetroot.

For the best tasting Pav Bhaji

After cooking the bhaji, I highly recommend resting it for at least 30 minutes before serving. The spices will all come together very well with time and the flavor of the bhaji enhances.

Follow these tips and tell me if you noticed a difference in color and taste.

Variations of Pav Bhaji

  • Cheese Pav Bhaji-

Add grated cheese either towards the end while making the bhaji or just before serving it.

  • Mushroom Pav Bhaji-

I tried this version in a restaurant in Gujarat and loved it, even though I don’t like mushrooms. To make this, add finely chopped mushroom right after adding capsicum and before adding the mashed veggies.

  • Pav Bhaji Sandwich-

Instead of serving the bhaji on the side, slit a dinner roll/ burger bun/ or use a slice of bread and cover it with the other half of the bun/roll or another slice of bread. Your pav bhaji sandwich is ready. 🙂

  • Pav Bhaji Dosa

You can spread the bhaji on a dosa, roll it and chop it into smaller pieces. You can also grate some cheese along with this.

Pav bhaji dosa is super popular street food these days.

  • Paneer Pav Bhaji-

Add some crumbled paneer just before finishing off the bhaji. Mix well and cook for a minute or so to let the paneer absorb the flavors. Do not overcook.

  • Sattvic Pav Bhaji-

Sattvic food does not include onion and garlic. So feel free to skip it if you follow a Sattvic diet.

Lastly, you can simply serve the bhaji as a vegetarian Indian curry along with roti, naan, chapati.

Preparation to be done to make Pav Bhaji-

1- Peel and chop 4 medium-sized potatoes and 2 small carrots into small cubes.

Peel and chop 1 small beetroot as finely as possible. As beetroot is a little hard, chopping it finely helps it to cook well and to easily mash later. (telling this based on my own mistake)

If you do not have fresh or frozen peas, soak 1/4 cup dried green peas in hot water for 3 hours.

Note- In the picture to the right, chopped beetroot looks less in quantity as I had missed chopping the other half, and did it later after taking this picture.

2- Finely chop or grate 2 medium-sized red onions, and 2 large tomatoes. Use the round (country) variety of tomato that is red and well-ripened.

Grate 1/2 inch ginger and 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves. Grate them all using the side of the grater with small holes.

Finely chop half a green bell pepper (capsicum).

Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji is popular Indian street food from Mumbai in which dinner rolls (pav/buns) are served with spiced mashed vegetable curry along with butter. Here is a detailed step by step recipe to easily make the perfect street style Pav Bhaji at home.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Pav Bhaji
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Author Praneetha A Goutham

Ingredients

Measurement: 1 cup = 250 ml

    To Pressure Cook

    • 4 medium sized potatoes
    • 2 small sized carrots
    • 1 small sized beetroot
    • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peasor soak 1/4 cup dried peas in water for 5 hours
    • 1 teaspoon saltoptional
    • 1.75 cups wateror as required

    To make the Bhaji (Curry)

    • 2+1 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 teaspoon oil
    • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri or Byadagi red chili powderadjust as per taste
    • a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
    • 2 teaspoons Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
    • 2 medium sized red onionfinely chopped or grated
    • 1 large garlic clove (or 2 small)grated or crushed
    • 1/2 inch fresh gingergrated or crushed
    • 2 medium sized ripened tomatoes (round country variety)finely chopped or grated
    • 1/2 large green bell pepper (capscium)finely chopped
    • 1.5 tablespoons Pav Bhaji masalacan add more or less
    • 2 teaspoons saltor as per taste
    • 1 small lemon or half a big lemon
    • 4 sprigs cilantro (coriander leaves)finely chopped
    • 3/4 to 1 cup wateror as required

    To Serve

    • 10 to 12 numbers dinner rolls (pav)
    • 2 tablespoons buttercan use more or less as per choice
    • 2 teaspoons Pav Bhaji masalaoptional
    • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powderoptional
    • 1 medium sized onionfinely chopped
    • 6 stalks cilantrofinely chopped
    • 1 to 2 small lemon cut into wedges (pieces)

    Instructions

    Cooking the Vegetables

    • Peel and chop 4 medium-sized potatoes and 2 small carrots into small cubes.
      Peel and chop 1 small beetroot as finely as possible. As beetroot is a little hard, chopping it finely helps it to cook well and to easily mash later.
    • Transfer the finely chopped potatoes, carrot, beetroot along with 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas into a pressure cooker, with 1 teaspoon salt (optoinal), and water just until the level of the veggies (about 1.75 cups).
    • Close the lid of the pressure cooker along with the weight and cook up to 5 whistles. (3 to 4 whistles if you have not used beetroot).
    • To cook veggies in an open pot (saucepan)- add enough water to an open pot with salt, if using and bring it to a boil. Transfer the veggies, close a lid, and cook until they are soft and tender.
    • If you have used a pressure cooker, let the pressure release naturally.
      If you have used an open pot, drain the water and transfer the cooked veggies to another bowl.
    • Mash the cooked vegetables well using a potato masher. You will have to mash them really well so that you only see tiny pieces. You can mash them more if you like a smoother texture.

    Making the Bhaji (Curry)

    • In a deep bottom pan or a wide cast iron pan if you have, heat 1 tablespoon unsalted butter along with 1 teaspoon oil in low heat to prevent butter from burning.
      Let the butter melt.
    • Add 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder, a pinch of asafoetida (hing), and 2 teaspoons Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves). Saute and cook in low heat for about a minute.
    • Next, add in the 2 finely chopped or grated onions. Saute them in medium heat until they turn soft.
    • Add in 1/2 inch grated ginger and 1 large grated garlic. You can use 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste if store-bought. Saute them until their raw smell is gone.
    • Now add the 2 finely chopped or grated tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt to cook it faster. Cook them until they are very soft and mushy.
      Use the back of a spatula or the potato masher to mash it more.
    • Next, add 2 teaspoons pav bhaji masala, and mix everything well. Cook this mixture for 2-3 minutes until it becomes a mass and starts leaving the pan.
    • Add in 1/2 green bell pepper finely chopped along with about 1/4 cup water and cook until it is soft and mushy.
    • Next, we have to transfer the mashed vegetables. I added 1/2 cup water before adding the veggies so that they don't stick to the pan. You can do the same or directly add the mashed veggies.
      If you have not added water, add 1/2 cup now after adding the veggies, mix everything well.
    • Close a lid (IMPORTANT- as it will splutter a lot), and cook it on low-medium heat for 10 minutes, by stirring often so that it does not stick to the pan.
    • I wanted the bhaji to be much smoother, so I mashed the veggies again. You can do the same if you like.
      Next, add 1 tablespoon pav bhaji masala. You can add more or less based on how strong the flavor of the masala is. I used MDH brand masala and I needed 1.5 tablespoons in total.
    • Add some more salt if required (I added another teaspoon of salt), and more water if the mixture is thick.
    • Simmer this again for 10 more minutes on medium heat. You will see the fat (from butter) separating.
    • Lastly, add 1 more tablespoon of butter, juice of half a lemon, and finish it off with chopped coriander leaves. Mix everything well.
    • In case you find that the flavor of pav bhaji masala is less depending on which pav bhaji masala you use, you can add 2 more teaspoons of it.

    To Serve

    • Heat a pan (Tawa) on low heat and apply 1/2 to 1 tablespoon butter.
    • Once it is melted, add 1/2 tsp pav bhaji masala, 1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder, and spread them using a spoon or spatula. (optional step)
      You can also add some Kasuri methi here.
    • If you are using dinner rolls (pav buns), or burger buns, slice them into two halves. I used a hotdog bun, so I split them in between and cut into halves.
      If you are using bread slice or burger buns that are already sliced, you can use them directly.
    • Place them on the heated pan, roast them until golden brown or deep brown if you like it a little crispy. You can toast the other side also if you like.
      Repeat the same process for the rest of the pav buns, by adding more butter, pav bhaji masala and red chili powder.
    • Serve the bhaji with finely chopped onion, cilantro, lemon wedges, and toasted pan. Add more butter to the bhaji while serving if you like.

    Notes

    1. Adjust the quantity of the Kashmiri red chili powder as per your taste. 
    2. If you are using the regular spicy red chili powder, use half the quantity than mentioned.
    3. The amount of pav bhaji masala you will need depends on how strong the flavor of your masala is. So feel free to add more or less than mentioned here. 
    4. If you find your bhaji to be spicy, add more butter and it will mellow down. 
    5. Also, adding extra lemon juice will also help with this. 
    6. Remember, the spice settles well as you rest the bhaji. 
    7. The bhaji becomes thick as it cools.
     
    Please check out the step by step recipe instructions with pictures below this recipe card for a much better understanding of the recipe.

    How to make Pav Bhaji- Step by Step Method

    Note: 1 cup= 250ml

    Step 1:

    To cook veggies in a pressure cooker- transfer the chopped potatoes, carrot, beetroot, 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas into a pressure cooker, with 1 teaspoon salt, and water just until the level of the veggies (about 1.75 cups).

    Close the lid of the pressure cook along with the weight and cook up to 5 whistles. (3 to 4 whistles if you have not used beetroot).

    To cook veggies in an open pot (saucepan)- add enough water to an open pot with a teaspoon of salt and bring it to a boil. Transfer the veggies, close the lid, and cook until they are soft and tender.

    Step 2:

    If you have used a pressure cooker, let the pressure release naturally.

    If you have used an open pot, drain the water and transfer the cooked veggies to another bowl.

    Mash the cooked vegetables well using a potato masher. You will have to mash them really well so that you only see tiny pieces. You can mash them more if you like a smoother texture.

    Step 3:

    In a deep bottom pan or a wide cast iron pan if you have, heat 1 tablespoon unsalted butter along with 1 teaspoon oil in low heat to prevent butter from burning.

    Let the butter melt.

    Step 4:

    Add 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder, a pinch of asafoetida (hing), and 2 teaspoons Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves). Saute and cook in low heat for about a minute.

    Step 5:

    Next, add in the2 finely chopped onions. Saute them in medium heat until they turn soft.

    Step 6:

    Add in 1/2 inch grated ginger and 1 large garlic clove grated. Use 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste if store-bought. Saute them until their raw smell is gone.

    Step 7:

    Next, add in the 2 finely chopped tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt to cook it faster. Cook them until they are very soft and mushy.

    Use the back of a spatula or the potato masher to mash it more.

    Step 8:

    Now add 2 teaspoons pav bhaji masala, and mix everything well. Cook this mixture for 2-3 minutes until it becomes a mass and starts leaving the pan.

    Step 9:

    Add in the 1/ 2 finely chopped capsicum with some water (about 1/4 cup) and cook until it is soft and mushy.

    Step 10:

    Next, we have to transfer the mashed vegetables. I added 1/2 cup water before adding the veggies so that they don’t stick to the pan. You can do the same or directly add the mashed veggies.

    If you have not added water, add 1/2 cup after adding the veggies, mix everything well.

    Close a lid (IMPORTANT- as it will splutter a lot), and cook it on low-medium heat for 10 minutes, by stirring often.

    Step 11:

    I wanted the bhaji to be more smoother, so I mashed the veggies again. You can do the same if you like.

    Next, add 1 tablespoon pav bhaji masala. You can add more or less based on how strong the flavor of the masala is. I used MDH brand masala and I needed 1.5 tablespoons in total.

    Add some more salt if required (I added another teaspoon of salt), and more water if the mixture is thick.

    Simmer this again for 10 more minutes. You will see the fat (from butter) separating.

    Step 12:

    Lastly, add 1 more tablespoon of butter, juice of half a lemon, and finish it off with chopped cilantro (coriander). Mix everything well.

    I did not have enough cilantro, so I used it only later while serving.

    In case you find that the flavor of pav bhaji masala is less depending on which pav bhaji masala you use, you can add 2 more teaspoons of it.

    You can also taste and add more salt or red chili powder if required. However, give it some time for the flavors to settle in and get the actual taste.

    Toasting the Dinner Rolls (Pav/Buns)

    Step 1:

    Heat a pan (Tawa) on low heat and apply 1/2 to 1 tablespoon butter.

    Once it is melted, add some pav bhaji masala, Kashmiri red chili powder, and spread them using a spoon or spatula. (optional step)

    You can also add some Kasuri methi here.

    Step 2:

    If you are using dinner rolls (pav), or burger buns, slice them into two halves. I used hotdog buns, so I split them in between and cut into halves.

    If you are using bread slices or burger buns that are already sliced, you can use them directly.

    Place them on the heated pan, roast them until golden brown or deep brown if you like it a little crispy. You can toast the other side also if you like.

    Repeat the same process for the rest of the dinner rolls, by adding more butter, pav bhaji masala, and red chili powder.

    How to Serve Pav Bhaji?

    Serve the prepared bhaji in a bowl or a small plate and add a dollop of butter (add more if you like).

    Place some finely chopped onion, cilantro, and a lemon wedge or two on the side.

    Also serve the butter toasted pav (dinner rolls) on the side.

    Squeeze the lemon juice, sprinkle the chopped cilantro and onion over the bhaji and scoop it out with a piece of the dinner roll (pav).

    If you have a partitioned plate like the one below, you can serve the way I have. It is so much fun to eat it this way.

    Mumbai Style Pav Bhaji Recipe using cooked potato, carrot, beetroot, peas mashed and flavored with pav bhaji masala. Pav Bhaji is served in a plate with a dollop of butter, chopped onion, cilantro along with dinner rolls.

    I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed preparing it and writing it down for you all. 🙂

    If you have any questions about the recipe, kindly post them below under comments.

    If you try this recipe, do share a picture and your feedback with me personally on Instagram Facebook.

    Click here to Pin this Recipe on Pinterest

    Mumbai Style Pav Bhaji Recipe using cooked potato, carrot, beetroot, peas mashed and flavored with pav bhaji masala. Pav Bhaji is served in a plate with a dollop of butter, chopped onion, cilantro along with dinner rolls.



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