Paneer pav bhaji is a variation of the popular and classic Pav Bhaji. This variation of paneer pav bhaji is made with mixed vegetables, paneer, pav bhaji masala and herbs. It makes for a filling snack that you can enjoy any time of the day.
The method to make paneer pav bhaji is similar to making the regular one and you just have to add grated paneer in the bhaji. I usually grate the paneer and add, since we like a smooth texture in the bhaji. However if you want texture and bite, you can add paneer cubes.
I recommend to use Homemade Paneer. If using store-bought paneer then ensure that it is fresh and soft. It should not taste sour or be rancid.
Many roadside stalls and almost all the Udupi restaurants in Mumbai offer this Paneer pav bhaji on their menu apart from other variations that I have listed below.
- Jain pav bhaji – made without onions, garlic and potatoes. Raw banana is used here instead of potatoes
- No onion no garlic pav bhaji – simple version made without onions and garlic.
- Cheese pav bhaji – served with a very generous topping of grated cheese. It used to be my favorite when I used to work.
- Khada Pav Bhaji – where the vegetables are not mashed but cooked with their size and shape intact. So this dish has a bite and lots of textures in it.
- Masala pav – the pav is pan-fried with butter and then stuffed with the bhaji along with a generous helping of buttered and sauteed onions, tomatoes, green chillies, coriander leaves and spices.
This dish can be had as a meal during lunch or dinner. You could also have it as an evening snack.
How to make Paneer Pav Bhaji
1. Firstly prep all the veggies like 2 medium-sized potatoes, 1 cup chopped carrot, 1 cup green peas and 1 cup chopped cauliflower.
You can either rinse or chop them or rinse after chopping them.
2. Rinse the veggies and drain the water.
3. Take the vegetables in a 3 litre stovetop pressure cooker. Add 1 teaspoon salt as required. You can also cook or steam the vegetables in an Instant pot.
4. Add water to the veggies just about covering them.
5. Pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles or 10 to 11 minutes or till the veggies are softened and cooked well on medium to medium-high heat.
When the pressure falls on its own in the cooker then only open the lid and check the vegetables.
6. Strain the veggies and keep the broth or stock aside.
7. Mash the vegetables lightly with a vegetable masher. Don’t make a puree. Keep the slightly mashed veggies aside. Alternatively, you can also mash when making the bhaji.
8. Measure and keep all the ingredients to make the paneer pav bhaji.
9. In a frying pan or kadai or a large tava or griddle or skillet, add 3 tablespoons butter or oil or add as required.
10. When the butter melts, add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds.
11. When the cumin seeds splutter, add 1 large-sized finely chopped onion (about ⅔ to ¾ cup of chopped onions).
12. Saute the onions stirring often till they soften.
13. Now add 2 to 3 teaspoons of ginger-garlic paste.
14. Sauté for a few seconds or till the raw aroma of the ginger and garlic disappears.
15. Add 1 to 2 finely chopped green chilies.
16. Sauté for a minute.
17. Add 2 to 3 large-sized finely chopped tomatoes (approx 2 cups of chopped tomatoes).
18. Sauté them stirring often for 7 to 8 minutes or till they become soft and mushy.
19. Add 1 small or medium-sized chopped capsicum (about ⅓ cup to ½ cup).
20. Add 2 tablespoons pav bhaji masala or as required, 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder and 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.
21. Mix the spice powders well. Sauté for few minutes till the capsicum becomes a little soft. You don’t need to make the capsicum very soft. A little crunch is alright.
22. Now add the mashed vegetables.
23. Combine the mashed vegetables well with the masala.
24. Add 1.5 cups of the reserved vegetable stock or broth. If the vegetable stock is less then add some water as needed.
25. Also add salt as required. Mix very well.
26. Keep on stirring and let the bhaji simmer for 7 to 8 minutes, till the gravy thickens a bit. If the consistency becomes too dry and then add some more water.
27. When the gravy thickens and has a medium consistency then add 1 cup of grated or cubed paneer.
28. Mix well and switch off the heat.
29. Lastly add ½ teaspoon garam masala powder and mix again. Check the taste and adjust the spices and salt as per your taste.
Preparing buttered pavs
30. Slice the pav or soft dinner rolls into equal halves. On a flat pan or skillet, melt some butter.
31. When the butter melts, keep the halved pav on the melted butter so that it absorbs the butter and fry for a minute or so.
Turn over and pan-fry the second side also for about a minute. If you want to make the pav crisp, fry for a few more minutes on both sides.
32. While serving take the paneer pav bhaji in a bowl. Top with some grated paneer and coriander leaves. Serve with the lightly toasted pav with a side of finely chopped onions and lemon wedges.
If you like, you can add 1 to 2 teaspoons of butter to the bhaji. You can add more butter, if you like it. In fact, with more butter, the bhaji tastes very good. You can also make the bhaji first and then reheat it when serving.
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Paneer Pav Bhaji
For Cooking Vegetables
- 2 medium size potatoes
- 1 cup chopped cauliflower
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 1 cup peas – fresh or frozen
- ½ cup french beans, chopped – (optional)
- water as required for pressure cooking
- 3 tablespoon Butter or preferably amul butter
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 large onion, finely chopped or ⅔ to ¾ cup
- 2 to 3 large tomatoes, finely chopped or 2 cups
- 1 small or medium sized capsicum (green bell pepper) or ⅓ to ½ cup
- 2 to 3 teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 or 2 green chilies , chopped
- 2 tablespoon Pav Bhaji Masala
- 1 teaspoon kashmiri chilli powder or freshly pounded 1-2 dry deseeded red chilies – the latter works much better and imparts a beautiful orange color to the bhaji
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1.5 cups water or the broth or stock of the cooked veggies, add a required
- salt as required
- 1 cup grated paneer or small paneer cubes (cottage cheese)
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala (optional)
For toasting pav
- 12 pavs
- butter as required
- 2 to 3 tablespoons grated paneer
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
- Boil all the vegetables except onions, tomatoes and capsicum in a 3 litre pressure cooker adding water just about covering the veggies.
- When the pressure falls on its own in the cooker then only open the lid.
- Strain the water from the vegetables and reserve the vegetable stock or broth aside.
- Mash the vegetables lightly and keep aside. Don’t make a puree.
- Alternatively, you can also mash when making the bhaji.
- In a frying pan or kadai or a large tava/griddle or skillet, add butter.
- When the butter melts, add cumin seeds. When they splutter, add the chopped onions.
- Saute the onions stirring often till they soften.
- Now add the ginger-garlic paste. Saute for a few seconds or till the raw aroma of the ginger-garlic disappears.
- Add chopped green chilies and saute for a minute.
- Add the tomatoes and saute them stirring often till they become soft and mushy.
- Add the chopped capsicum. Now add the kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric powder and pav bhaji masala.
- Mix the spice powders well. Saute for few minutes till the capsicum becomes a little soft.
- You don’t need to make the capsicum very soft. A little crunch is alright.
- Now add the mashed vegetables.
- Combine the mashed vegetables well with the masala base.
- Add 1.5 cups of reserved vegetable stock or water. Mix well. Keep on stirring and let the bhaji gravy simmer for 7 to 8 minutes till it thickens to a medium consistency.
- If the gravy becomes too dry or thick and then add some water.
- Once you get the medium consistency, then add the grated or cubed paneer. Mix well and switch off the heat.
To make buttered pavs
- Slice the pavs. On a flat pan or skillet, heat some butter.
- When the butter melts, keep the pav on the melted butter so that it absorbs the butter and fry for a minute. Toast the second side and also pan fry for a minute.
- If you want to make the pav crisp, fry for a few more minutes both the sides. Serve the pavs hot with the bhaji.
Serving the bhaji
- When done, pour the hot bhaji in bowls or plates. Garnish with coriander leaves and grated paneer.
- You can top the bhaji with some butter, if you like it. In fact, with more butter, the bhaji tastes very good.
- Serve the paneer pav bhaji hot with the buttered pavs together with a side of finely chopped onions and chopped lime or lemon.
- The spice powders can be easily adjusted to suit your taste.
- If you don’t want to add butter, then you can also make the bhaji in oil.
- If you don’t have pav bhaji masala, then add garam masala. I have made bhaji with garam masala only and nobody could tell the difference. In this scenario, just add some dry mango powder/amchur to the bhaji to get that slightly sour taste.
Quantity is 1 or 2 tsp garam masala with 1 tsp amchur/dry mango powder. If you are adding this then don’t add the ½ tsp garam masala mentioned above. That is only meant if you are using pav bhaji masala.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Paneer Pav Bhaji post is from the archives (March 2010) and has been republished and updated on 12 September 2021.