Somewhere between the Pav Bhaji, Vada Pav and the Kutchi Dabeli, a Masala Pav came into existence; another very common snack on the streets of Mumbai in Maharashtra. The Masala Pav recipe has sliced pav or soft fluffy bread rolls, stuffed with a buttery, spiced onion-tomato-capsicum filling. Try this recipe and I am sure you will love it.
What is Masala Pav
Literally, ‘masala’ here for this recipe would mean a savory spiced veggie mixture and ‘pav’ is a classic eggless bread roll, a staple of Mumbai. So, basically a Masala Pav is nothing but these two put together. Garnished with finely chopped onion, fresh coriander and a squeeze of lemon, it makes for a yummy, tangy snack on-the-go!
Pav bhaji and Masala Pav are two of our top most picks when it comes to street food snacks. So, whenever I make these at home as well, I always make the Pav too, from scratch. The aroma of freshly baked pav is simply mesmerizing, and comforting without even biting into one.
While the ‘city of dreams’ has every vendor referring to their own Masala Pav recipe to make it stand out and be better than the rest, this particular recipe is my version of a very comforting and earthy one. I even use my homemade Pav Bhaji Masala for this recipe.
More On My Recipe
The Masala Pav recipe is somewhat similar to pav bhaji in taste as most of the ingredients are same in both – onions, tomatoes, capsicum and pav bhaji masala powder. These three veggies also form the ‘holy trinity’ of this dish and most of the restaurants too have these in their recipes.
In case you don’t have capsicum or green bell pepper, you can make this dish with red or yellow bell peppers too. However, onions and tomatoes cannot be substituted as these are a must. Some variations also use mashed potatoes in their masala. My Masala Pav recipe does not have it.
This recipe can easily be assembled by using the leftover bhaji too. In that case, all you have to do is to prepare fresh pav or dinner rolls by toasting them in butter. Then, jazz the entire thing up with the garnishes.
The pav that I bake at home are usually slightly larger than the ones available in the Indian bakeries. So, I use 4 pav buns for this Masala Pav recipe. For smaller sized pav, 5 to 6 buns can be easily used.
With the extra pav left, you can always make many delicious recipes like Misal Pav and others as mentioned above.
The Masala Pav is a very easy and scrumptious snack for times when you want to cook something filling, but quickly. For making it as a great party starter, you can double or triple the measurements of this recipe.
How to make Masala Pav
1. First slice 4 to 5 pav or dinner rolls into equal halves and set aside. Here I have used homemade whole wheat dinner rolls.
2. Rinse and finely chop 1 medium onion (⅓ cup finely chopped onions) 2 medium tomatoes (1 cup finely chopped tomatoes) and 1 medium capsicum a.k.a green bell pepper (½ cup finely chopped capsicum).
Also, crush 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves, ½ inch ginger and 1 to 2 green chilies to a paste in a mortar-pestle. Keep aside.
3. Now, take a medium or large sized tawa/skillet or a shallow frying pan. Melt 2 tablespoons butter on it. You can also use oil instead of butter.
4. Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and let them splutter on medium-low to medium heat.
5. Then, add the crushed ginger-garlic-green chilies paste.
6. Stir and sauté for a few seconds until the raw aroma of ginger and garlic goes away.
7. Add the finely chopped onions.
8. Stir and mix well.
9. Sauté the onions till they turn translucent and soften.
10. Add finely chopped tomatoes.
11. Stir and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on medium-low to medium heat.
12. Next add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon red chili powder and 3 to 4 teaspoons Pav Bhaji Masala.
You can add the pav bhaji masala according to your taste preferences.
13. Stir and mix the spice powders evenly with the sautéed onion-tomato mixture.
14. Now, add the finely chopped capsicum (bell pepper).
15. Sauté for 2 minutes.
16. Season with salt as required. Stir to combine.
17. Add ⅓ cup of water.
18. Bring the mixture to a simmer on medium-low to medium heat. Adding water softens and cooks the tomatoes very well.
19. The mixture will thicken and reduce as it simmers.
20. Reduce the heat to low and let the masala come to the consistency as shown in the picture below. There should not be a lot of liquids in the masala, as then this will make the pav soggy.
21. Bring the masala to one side of the tawa or pan.
Make Masala Pav
22. Melt 1 to 2 tablespoons butter on the empty space in the tawa or pan or skillet.
If you prefer you can use another frying pan or skillet to toast the pav or dinner rolls.
23. Place the pav slices on the butter. Toast them lightly or you can just let them absorb the butter. You can toast more also if you want.
24. Turn over and toast the other side. If you want you can add more butter.
25. Now, place the masala evenly on the pav with the spoon or spatula.
26. Masala Pav is ready to be served. In the same place, melt some more butter and toast the other pav, till all the masala is used up.
27. Place the Masala Pav on a serving plate.
28. Garnish with finely chopped onions, coriander leaves and lemon wedges. Serve Masala Pav hot.
Squeeze some lemon on it and savor them with your family of friends. You can also sprinkle some fine sev or grated cheese on the Masala Pav.
- While it is mandatory to use butter for an authentic street style flavor, you can even use oil to cook the masala.
- You can keep the masala ready. But toast the pav and spread it on them just before serving in order to enjoy the maximum.
- Though Masala Pav tastes fab when a little spicy, it can be adjusted according to the preference of your spice levels.
- Some sev (fried gram flour vermicelli) can also be used as a garnish on the Masala Pav. Craving for cheese? Add some grated cheese on hot Masala Pav, let it melt slightly and enjoy a cheesy version.
- The leftover masala can be used to top on toasted breads as well for a quick Masala Bread Toast variation.
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- ⅓ cup finely chopped onions or 1 medium-sized
- 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes or 2 medium-sized
- ½ cup finely chopped capsicum or 1 medium-sized (green bell pepper)
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves – small to medium-sized
- ½ inch ginger
- 1 to 2 green chilies
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 3 to 4 teaspoon Pav Bhaji Masala or add as per taste
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- ⅓ cup water
- salt as required
- 4 to 5 Pav (dinner rolls) – sliced in equal halves
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Butter – for toasting pav
- ¼ to ⅓ cup finely chopped onions or 1 small to medium-sized
- 1 lemon or lime, chopped or quartered
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- First slice all the pav or dinner rolls into equal halves and keep aside.
- Rinse and finely chop onion, tomatoes, and capsicum (green bell pepper).
- Also crush the garlic cloves, ginger and green chilies to a paste in a mortar-pestle. Keep aside.
- Now take a medium or large sized tava (skillet) or a shallow frying pan.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter. You can also use oil instead of butter. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
- Then add the crushed ginger+garlic+green chilies paste.
- Stir and sauté for a few seconds till the raw aroma of ginger and garlic goes away.
- Add the finely chopped onions. Stir and mix well. Sauté the onions till they soften and become translucent.
- Add finely chopped tomatoes. Stir and saute for 3 to 4 minutes on a medium-low to medium heat.
- Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, pav bhaji masala. You can add the pav bhaji masala as per taste.
- Stir and mix the ground spices very well with the onion-tomato mixture.
- Now add the finely chopped capsicum and saute for 2 minutes.
- Season with salt as required. Stir and mix. Add water and again stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer on a medium-low to medium heat. Adding water softens and cook the tomatoes.
- The mixture will thicken and reduce as it simmers.
- Reduce the heat to a low and let the masala come to the consistency as shown in the photo below. There should not be a lot of liquids in the masala, as then this will make the pav soggy.
- Bring the masala to one side of the tava or pan.
Making masala pav
- Melt 1 to 2 tablespoon butter on the empty space in the center of the frying pan or skillet or tawa.
- Place the pav slices on the butter. Toast them lightly or you can just let them absorb the butter. You can toast more also if you prefer.
- Turn over and toast the other side. If you want you can add more butter.
- Now place the prepared sautéed masala mixture on the pav halves evenly with the spoon or spatula.
- Place the pav on a serving plate.
- In the same way, melt butter and toast the other pav as well, till all the masala is used up.
- Garnish masala pav with finely chopped onions, coriander leaves and lemon wedges.
- Serve masala pav hot. Drizzle some lemon juice on the masala pav and savor them with your family of friends.
- Any neutral flavor oil can be used instead of butter.
- You can opt to use salted or unsalted butter.
- Adjust the spices and seasonings according to your taste preferences.
- Use dinner rolls that are soft and fluffy.
- The recipe can be doubled or tripled to make for potlucks or small parties.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Masala Pav recipe post from the archives first published in November 2015 has been republished and updated on 13 June 2022.