Pav Bhaji Masala (Spice Mix)

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The joy of adding your own homemade spice powders to any dish that you are making at home is unmatched. This is the reason I at least try and prepare mine at home. Just like this Pav Bhaji Masala, a spice mix that is essential for the famous Mumbai street food special recipe of Pav Bhaji. With this amazing Pav Bhaji Masala recipe, you’ll be able to make this spice mix easily at home.

pav bhaji masala in a glass jar.

More on Pav Bhaji Masala

Speak of Mumbai and you cannot let go without mentioning the most popular Pav Bhaji served on the streets here.

It is basically a buttery, spiced mashed vegetable mix cooked with a typical spice powder called the Pav Bhaji Masala, and served with butter toasted pavs or dinner rolls. Delicious from the word go!

This strong and fragrant homemade Pav Bhaji Masala recipe is going to make it all the more easier for you to prepare the pav bhaji, just like the ones available outside. It ain’t no secret to rustle up that perfect pav bhaji anymore.

This spice mix will definitely make it better. Moreover my recipe does not give you a spicy or pungent masala like the packaged ones.

I make this Pav Bhaji Masala by altering the proportions of the garam masala and adding a few more ingredients to it.

The end result is a masala which is not spicy or pungent and so amazing and powerful that it takes the flavors of the pav bhaji (or whatever it is added to) notches high. Phenomenal is the word!

The recipe card in this post has all the quantities (in grams, cups, tablespoons) of spices to be used for this Pav Bhaji Masala recipe.

Once prepared, besides using it obviously for pav bhaji, you can add a dash of this spice mix in your veggie stir fries or sautéed vegetables, masala rice, Tawa Pulao and Masala Pav.

Tips Before You Begin

This Pav Bhaji Masala recipe is fairly simple and not requires not much efforts. These following suggestions are going to help you further:

  1. Check Spices: When working with the spices, check whether there are any stones in them. They have to be perfectly clean with no hidden mold in them, for a good quality homemade Pav Bhaji Masala.
  2. Freshness of Spices: The spices also have to be fresh. Don’t even think of using stale old ones.
  3. Cinnamon type: Remember especially while using cinnamon; you have to use the true Ceylon cinnamon and not the cassia variant. Read up about these on the web before starting with the recipe.
  4. Dry red chillies: I have here used moderately hot red chillies that are not very spicy or hot. Feel free to reduce the red chillies or use the variety of red chillies that are less spicy like Kashmiri red chillies or Byadagi chillies. These will also give a nice orange or red color to the spice mix. You could also swap red chillies with kashmiri red chilli powder.
  5. Usage: Since this Pav Bhaji Masala is robust, it’s better to add just 2 to 3 teaspoons while making a bhaji for 4 to 5 servings.

Drying The spices

You will have to dry the spices used in this Pav Bhaji Masala recipe either in the sun or by roasting them in a pan or oven. Whichever way is feasible for you.

I usually sun dry spices when making other spice blends like Garam Masala or Sambar Powder as well. For this Pav Bhaji Masala, you can sundry the spices for 2 to 3 days. Next, use a dry grinder to grind the dried spices to a fine powder. Then, bottle and store.

For times when there’s a dearth of sunlight, roasting the spices is a good idea. Do it one by one in the pan till aromatic. Set aside to cool and then grind to a fine texture.

Or in the oven: Set the temperature of your oven to the lowest (range is anywhere between 50 degrees C/122 degrees F to 80 degrees C/194 F). Depending on this range, drying will require about 6 hours to 15 hours.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Pav Bhaji Masala

Prep and Sun Dryin Spices

1. First, take all the whole spices, and not the powdered ones on a plate or tray. Keep in the sun for 2 to 3 days. The spice list is:

  • ¼ cup cumin seeds – 26 grams
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds (saunf) – 15 grams
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds – 11 grams
  • 1 tablespoon mace – 3 grams
  • 1 tablespoon cloves – 6 grams
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper – 10 grams
  • 2 black cardamoms – 5 to 6 grams
  • 3 star anise – 2 grams
  • 1 small nutmeg – 5 grams
  • 5 cinnamon sticks – 4 grams
  • 5 to 6 dried red chilies, seeds removed – (4 grams)
spices for pav bhaji masala being sun dried.

2. Cover with a fine wired mesh lid or a muslin or loosely woven cotton napkin, so that dust does not fall on the spices when they are being sun-dried.

During the day, I would keep the spices out to sun dry. At night, I would keep the plate inside with a loose lid covering it.

pav bhaji masala spices being sun dried.

3. The below picture shows the spices after being sun-dried for 2 days. After getting sun dried, whatever moisture the spices may have is not there and they also become slightly crisp.

sun dried spices for pav bhaji masala.

Make Pav Bhaji Masala

4. Before you begin grinding the sun dried whole spices, take the small nutmeg in a mortar-pestle and crush it coarsely. Keep aside.

crushing nutmeg in a mortar pestle.

5. Now, add all the whole spices in the dry grinder jar. You can also use a coffee grinder. Add according to the capacity of the jar.

sun dried whole spices in a dry grinder jar.

6. Then, add the coarsely crushed nutmeg powder.

crushed nutmeg added to the grinder jar.

7. Grind to a smooth and fine powder. Tiny grits of the spices are fine in the masala.

spices ground to a fine powder.

8. Then, add 1 tablespoon dried ginger powder (saunth).

dried ginger powder added to the masala powder.

9. Next, add 2 tablespoons dried mango powder (amchur powder).

dried mango powder added to the grinder jar.

10. Next, add 2 teaspoons black salt. If you do not have black salt, then you can add edible rock salt or regular salt. You can even skip adding salt.

black salt added to the grinder jar.

11. Lastly, add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder. Turmeric powder is optional and you can skip it too.

turmeric powder added to the grinder jar.

12. Again grind just to mix everything well.

grinding the pav bhaji masala mixture.

13. If you want, you can sieve the powder and grind the tiny bits left on the sieve. Let the powder cool down.

You can spread it on a plate or allow it to cool in the jar itself. Then, spoon the masala powder in a clean glass jar.

prepared pav bhaji masala spooned in a clean glass jar.

14. Cover tightly and keep in a cool dry place. You can also keep the Pav Bhaji Masala Powder in the refrigerator or freezer. This recipe yields about 100 grams.

pav bhaji masala in a glass jar.

FAQs

Can I add a few curry leaves in this recipe?

I don’t think so you should add curry leaves. By doing so, the flavor of the Pav Bhaji Masala will change completely.

How much of this homemade masala should I add in a bhaji for 4 to 5 people?

Since the homemade Pav Bhaji Masala is quite intense, adding 2 to 3 teaspoons is sufficient in a bhaji for 4 to 5 servings.

What is the way to store this masala?

After grinding and cooling, put the masala in a clean, dry glass jar, cover tightly and store in a cool and dry place. Freezing or refrigeration also works fine for this masala.

Can I skip the turmeric or any other spice in this Pav Bhaji Masala?

You can omit adding turmeric powder. For the remaining spices, consider skipping only ginger powder.

What can I use in place of black salt?

You can use regular salt or edible and food grade rock salt.

More Indian Spice Mixes To Try!

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pav bhaji masala in a glass jar.

Pav Bhaji Masala (Easy Homemade Spice Mix)

Pav Bhaji Masala is an essential spice mix that is needed to make the famous Mumbai street food Pav Bhaji. This recipe makes for an intense, fragrant and flavorful Pav Bhaji Masala.
4.89 from 18 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Cuisine Indian
Course Condiment
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan
Difficulty Level Easy
Servings 100 grams
Units

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup cumin seeds (jeera) – 26 grams
  • 2 tablespoon fennel seeds (saunf) – 15 grams
  • 2 tablespoon coriander seeds (sabut dhania) – 11 grams
  • 1 tablespoon mace (javitri) – 3 grams
  • 1 tablespoon cloves (lavang) – 6 grams
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns (sabut kali mirch) – 10 grams
  • 2 black cardamoms (badi elaichi) – 5 to 6 grams
  • 3 star anise (chakriphool) – 2 grams
  • 1 small nutmeg (jaiphal) – 5 grams
  • 5 cinnamon sticks (dalchini) – each of about 2 inches – 4 grams
  • 5 to 6 dry red chilies (sookhi lal mirch) – preferably kashmiri red chilies – 4 grams, seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoon dry mango powder (amchur powder)
  • 1 tablespoon dry ginger powder (saunth)
  • 2 teaspoon black salt or edible rock salt or regular salt – optional
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi) – optional

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • First take all the whole spices in a plate or tray. Exclude dry mango powder, dry ginger powder, turmeric powder and black salt.
  • Check and pick the spices for stones if any. Also check if there are molds on them.

Sun drying spices

  • Keep the plate or tray with the whole spices in the sun for 2 to 3 days.
  • Cover with a fine wired mesh lid or a muslin or loosely woven cotton napkin, so that dust does not fall on the spices, when they are being sun dried. 
  • During night, keep the plate or tray with the spices covered loosely with a lid in a dry place in your kitchen.

Making pav bhaji masala

  • Before you begin, grinding the whole spices, take the nutmeg in a mortar-pestle and crush it coarsely. Keep aside.
  • Now add all the whole spices in the dry grinder jar. You can also use a coffee grinder. Add according to the capacity of the jar.
  • Then add the coarsely crushed nutmeg powder.
  • Grind to a fine and smooth powder.
  • Then add ginger powder, dry mango powder, black salt and turmeric powder.
  • If you do not have black salt, then you can add edible rock salt or regular salt. You can even skip adding salt. Turmeric powder is also optional and you can skip it too.
  • Again grind just to mix everything evenly.
  • If you want, you can sieve the powder and grind the tiny bits left on the sieve.
  • Let the pav hhaji masala cool at room temperature. You can spread it in a plate or allow it to cool in the jar itself. Then spoon the pav bhaji masala in a clean glass jar.
  • Cover tightly and keep in a cool dry place. You can also keep the pav bhaji masala powder in the fridge or freezer.

Notes

  • Use spices that are in their shelf-life. Check for hidden moulds in the spices before you begin.
  • You can also choose to roast each spice in a small frying pan or skillet until fragrant instead of sun-drying them. Transfer each roasted spice to a plate or tray. Cool them at room temperature and then grind in a spice grinder or mixer-grinder to a fine texture.
  • For a pav bhaji recipe that calls for 4 to 5 servings, you can add about 2 to 3 teaspoons of this pav bhaji masala in it.
  • The approximate nutrition info is for 1 tablespoon of pav bhaji masala made from this recipe.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Pav Bhaji Masala (Easy Homemade Spice Mix)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 29 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Sodium 343mg15%
Potassium 94mg3%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 84IU2%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 2µg2%
Calcium 54mg5%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 1µg0%
Iron 2mg11%
Magnesium 18mg5%
Phosphorus 22mg2%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Pav Bhaji Masala recipe from the archives first published in June 2016 has been republished and updated on 10 June 2022.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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23 Comments

  1. Hi Dassana I have been following your blog for years and the passion you have for it all is just amazing… I am unsure if you have given this a thought as yet but are you contemplating on selling any of the spices you make… the authenticity of your recipes and the way you curate them and being particular about the produce you use and how you use it along with the techniques is not a cup of tea for rookies ……if you do consider selling spices I shall be your first customer5 stars

    1. thanks a lot elle for this lovely comment and suggestion. we do not have such plans. its a different ball game entirely and many things have to be considered. if at all i do start such a business, i will update it on the blog too. but right now we do not have such plans. thanks again.

  2. If you don’t get annoyed one more correction is that for 500 gm masala black cardmom is 25 to 30 or two .So please correct it.and bay leaves also missing.I have made this masala before two months.it is so good. Today wanted to make it again and found these corrections.

    1. yogita, no problem. when increasing the quantity in the recipe card, only the first part gets changed. so for the black cardamoms, it will change to 25 to 30 grams. but the later part where i have mentioned 2 cardamoms remains constant.

      this program that we are using is made in such a way. so the only the grams part gets changed and has to be used. regarding bay leaf, i have not used it in the recipe. hope this helps.

  3. In the serving if I change to 500 gm then it gives proper changes but at last small mistake it shows yields 100 gm masala make it correct.

  4. This recipe is a keeper. It turned out much better than the store brought one. Thank you for sharing it.5 stars

      1. Hi mam I like the pavbhaji masala it is superb.want ask u one thing that if I add some Curry leaves to above masala will it turns to be good.please answer5 stars

        1. Thanks Yogita. I won’t suggest to add curry leaves. The flavor will change completely.

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