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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 peas - or soak 1/4 cup dried peas in water for 5 hours
    • 1 teaspoon salt - optional
    • 1.75 cups water - or as required

    To make the Bhaji (Curry)

    • 2+1 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 teaspoon oil
    • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri or Byadagi red chili powder - adjust as per taste
    • a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
    • 2 teaspoons Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
    • 2 medium sized red onion - finely chopped or grated
    • 1 large garlic clove (or 2 small) - grated or crushed
    • 1/2 inch fresh ginger - grated 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 masala - can add more or less
    • 2 teaspoons salt - or as per taste
    • 1 small lemon - or half a big lemon
    • 4 sprigs cilantro (coriander leaves) - finely chopped
    • 3/4 to 1 cup water - or as required

    To Serve

    • 10 to 12 numbers dinner rolls (pav)
    • 2 tablespoons butter - can use more or less as per choice
    • 2 teaspoons Pav Bhaji masala - optional
    • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder - optional
    • 1 medium sized onion - finely chopped
    • 6 stalks cilantro - finely 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.