Pav Bhaji – Mumbai Street Style Recipe

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Pav bhaji recipe with video and step by step photos. 

This Mumbai style pav bhaji is super delicious to taste and similar to the pav bhaji one gets in Mumbai.

mumbai pav bhaji recipe

What is Pav Bhaji

Pav bhaji is an iconic dish from Mumbai and hugely popular all over India. Pav means bread rolls.

Bhaji is the marathi word for vegetables or a vegetable based dish (dry or gravy). Since both the bhaji (vegetable gravy) and pav are served together, hence the name ‘Pav bhaji

Pav bhaji is basically a mix of mashed & spiced vegetables in a gravy. A special spice blend ‘Pav Bhaji Masala‘ is used to make pav bhaji.

Pav bhaji masala powder is easily available in Indian stores and can be easily made at home too. Though homemade spice blends are always good, but you can make pav bhaji with your favorite brand of pav bhaji masala.

Pav bhaji originated in Mumbai as a quick lunch option for textile mill workers. Gradually this dish becomes so popular that now it is served as street food as well as in restaurants in Mumbai and the rest of India.

How is pav bhaji made

To make pav bhaji, specifically the bhaji – onion, ginger-garlic paste, tomatoes, are sauteed in butter first. Later to which boiled and mashed vegetables are added followed by pav bhaji masala.

Then the bhaji is simmered for some minutes later to be served hot with buttered and lightly toasted pav. Pav are Indian bread rolls.

In the streets and in restaurants, pav bhaji is made on a large flat tawa (griddle). At home you can make pav bhaji in a kadai or in a frying pan.

Pav bhaji has a bright orangish red color. When you make pav bhaji at home, you won’t get the color that you typically see in hotels and restaurants. Some street vendors also add artificial red color.

As far as possible avoid the use of artificial food colors and use natural colors instead. So to get the red color in pav bhaji, use Kashmiri red chilli powder or deghi mirch.

Alternatively you can even make red chili paste. Soak 2 to 3 Kashmiri red chilies (seeds removed) in hot water for 30 minutes, then make a fine paste and add to the pav bhaji.

Tips

Tips

  • Which veggies to add:The vegetables that are usually added to pav bhaji are cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, peas, capsicum and french beans. In the pav bhaji that one gets in the streets of Mumbai, carrots are usually not added. But when you make at home, you can add carrots.
  • Cooking veggies: In the recipe I have used a pressure cooker for cooking the vegetables. You can also steam or cook them in a pan or in the Instant Pot.
  • Taste: Depending on the quantity of these vegetables, the final taste and color of the pav bhaji will be different. Example, if you add more carrots, the pav bhaji will have a mild sweeter taste. You can also just make pav bhaji with any of these veggie combinations. However, do add capsicum (green bell pepper) as it gives a really good taste in pav bhaji.
  • Spicing: The spice powders can be easily adjusted to suit your taste.
  • Vegan option: If you don’t want to add butter, then you can also make the pav bhaji with a neutral tasting oil or a vegan butter.
  • Substitute for Pav bhaji masala: If you don’t have pav bhaji masala, then add garam masala. I have made pav bhaji with garam masala only and nobody could tell the difference. In this scenario, also add some dry mango powder (amchur) to get that slightly sour taste. The quantity to add is 2 teaspoons garam masala with 1 teaspoon amchur (dry mango powder).
  • Pav Bhaji Masala: Use good quality pav bhaji masala or make it at home.

Variations

There are many variations of pav bhaji. The bhaji remains the same in most variations and some more ingredients or spice blends are added.

One largely different variation is kada pav bhaji where the vegetables are not mashed but kept whole. Some pav bhaji variations are:

  • Paneer pav bhaji – bhaji is topped with grated paneer or cooked with paneer cubes.
  • Cheese pav bhaji – grated cheese is sprinkled on pav bhaji.
  • No onion no garlic pav bhaji – satvik pav bhaji made without onions and garlic
  • Jain pav bhaji – pav bhaji made without onions, garlic and potatoes. Plantains are added instead.
  • Kala pav bhaji – pav bhaji made with kala masala or goda masala. Also known as black pav bhaji.
  • Pav bhaji fondue – bhaji is served in a fondue bowl with pav.
  • Kolhapuri pav bhaji – spicy pav bhaji made with the fiery Kolhapuri masala or kanda lasun masala (onion garlic masala).
  • Khada pav bhaji – vegetables are not mashed but kept chunky and whole in the pav bhaji.
  • Mushroom pav bhaji – white button mushrooms are added in the pav bhaji.
  • Punjabi pav bhaji – robust pav bhaji made with more spices and more butter.
  • Pressure cooker pav bhaji – quick easy version of pav bhaji made in a pressure cooker.
pav bhaji recipe

How is pav bhaji served

Pav bhaji can be had as a meal during lunch or dinner. You could also have it as an evening snack.

The vegetable gravy or bhaji is served with pav. Pav or pao are soft bread rolls. Cubes of butter are also topped on the hot steaming bhaji while serving.

A few coriander leaves are added as a garnish. As a side accompaniment, chopped onions and lemon wedges are also served.

The lemon juice has to be drizzled on the pav bhaji and then mixed and eaten with the pav.

For the pav you can either make them at home or buy from a good bakery. I usually make Pav a day before when we plan to have pav bhaji or Misal Pav.

Pav bhaji is one of the most popular Mumbai street food. Whenever we would go to Juhu beach, pav bhaji was one snack we would always have.

I have fond memories of having pav bhaji and other Mumbai street food snacks In my childhood at Juhu beach in Mumbai.

Apart from pav bhaji there are various street food recipes which are popular in Mumbai and any foodie visiting Mumbai should try them (listed below).

Later when still in my teens, I started making pav bhaji at home. Making pav bhaji at home is very easy.

I personally prefer to use amul butter while making pav bhaji, but you could use any brand or even white butter.

The best taste of pav bhaji comes with using the perfect pav bhaji masala. So you can use your favorite brand or make pav bhaji masala at home.

 
Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Pav Bhaji

Cooking veggies for bhaji

1. Rinse, peel and chop the veggies. You will need 1 cup chopped cauliflower, 1 cup chopped carrot, 3 medium sized potatoes (chopped) and ⅓ cup chopped french beans. You can also add veggies of your choice.

veggies for pav bhaji recipe

2. Add all the above chopped veggies in a 2 litre pressure cooker. Also add 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen).

veggies for pav bhaji recipe

3. Add 2.25 to 2.5 cups water.

veggies for pav bhaji recipe

4. Pressure cook the veggies for 5 to 6 whistles or for about 12 minutes on medium flame.

veggies for pav bhaji recipe

5. When the pressure settles down on its own, open the cooker and check if the veggies are cooked well. You can even steam or cook the veggies in a pan or pot. The vegetables have be to cooked completely. Keep the vegetables along with the cooked water (stock) in the cooker itself.

veggies for pav bhaji recipe

Making the bhaji

6. Heat a pan or kadai. You can also use a large tawa. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons butter. You can use amul butter or any brand of butter. Butter can be salted or unsalted.

making pav bhaji recipe

7. Let the butter melt.

making pav bhaji recipe

8. As soon as the butter melts, add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera).

making pav bhaji recipe

9. Let the cumin seeds crackle and change their color.

making pav bhaji recipe

10. Then add ½ cup chopped onions.

making pav bhaji recipe

11. Mix onions with the butter and saute on a low to medium flame till translucent.

making pav bhaji recipe

12. Saute till the onions turn translucent.

making Mumbai pav bhaji recipe

13. Then add 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste. You can also crush or 1.5 inch ginger and 5 to 6 medium garlic cloves, crushed in a mortar-pestle.

making pav bhaji recipe

14. Mix and saute till the raw aroma of both ginger and garlic goes away.

making pav bhaji recipe

15. Then add 1 to 2 green chilies (chopped).

making pav bhaji recipe

16. Mix well.

making Mumbai pav bhaji recipe

17. Now add 2 cups finely chopped tomatoes.

making pav bhaji recipe

18. Mix very well.

making Mumbai pav bhaji recipe

19. Then begin to saute tomatoes on a low to medium flame.

making Mumbai pav bhaji recipe

20. Saute till the tomatoes become soft and mushy and you see butter releasing from the sides. This takes about 6 to 7 minutes on a low to medium flame. If the tomatoes start sticking to the pan, then sprinkle some water and mix well.

making Mumbai pav bhaji recipe

21. When the tomatoes have softened, then add ½ cup finely chopped capsicum (green bell pepper). Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. If the mixture starts sticking to the pan, then you can sprinkle some water. You don’t need to cook the capsicum till very soft. A little crunch is alright.

making pav bhaji recipe

22. Add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder.

making Mumbai pav bhaji recipe

23. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons Pav bhaji Masala Powder. Depending on how strong is the aroma and flavor of pav bhaji masala, you can add it less or more in the pav bhaji. Add 2 tablespoons if the pav bhaji masala is strong, intense and flavorful. For a less aromatic pav bhaji masala you can add 3 tablespoons of it.

making Mumbai pav bhaji recipe

24. Mix very well.

making pav bhaji recipe

25. Add the cooked veggies.

making pav bhaji recipe

26. Mix well.

pav bhaji recipe

27. Add all of the stock or water from the pressure cooker in which the veggies were cooked.

pav bhaji recipe

28. Mix very well.

pav bhaji recipe

29. Then season with salt as per taste.

pav bhaji recipe

30. With a potato masher, begin to mash the veggies directly in the pan.

making pav bhaji recipe

31. You can mash the veggies less or more according to the consistency you want in the pav bhaji. For a smooth mixture mash more. For a chunky pav bhaji, mash less. Now you can add more water if the bhaji looks thick.

making pav bhaji recipe

32. Keep on stirring occasionally and let the pav bhaji simmer for 8 to 10 minutes on a low flame.

making pav bhaji recipe

33. If the pav bhaji becomes dry and then add some more water. The consistency is neither very thick nor thin.

making pav bhaji recipe

34. Do stir often so that the bhaji does not stick to the pan. when the pav bhaji simmers to the desired consistency, check the taste. Add salt, pav bhaji masala, red chili powder or butter if required.

making pav bhaji recipe

Toasting Pav

1. when the bhaji is simmering, you can fry the pav so that you serve the pav with steaming hot bhaji. Slice the pavs from the center.

pav for making pav bhaji recipe

2. Heat a tawa or a shallow frying pan. Keep the flame to a low and then add butter.

making pav bhaji recipe

3. When the butter begins to melt, add a bit of pav bhaji masala. You can skip pav bhaji masala if you want.

making pav bhaji recipe

4. Mix the pav bhaji masala very well with a spoon or spatula.

making pav bhaji recipe

5. Then place the pav on the butter.

making pav bhaji recipe

6. Rotate the pav all over the melted butter so that the pav absorbs the butter.

making pav bhaji recipe

7. Now turn over the pav and rotate them on the tawa so that the second side absorbs the butter. Add more butter if required. You can turn over and toast them more if required. Then remove it in a plate and keep aside. This way you can fry pav in two to three batches.

pav bhaji recipe

Serving Pav Bhaji

  • Now take the bhaji in a serving plate or a bowl.
  • Top it up with one to two cubes of butter. You can add more butter, if you like.
  • Place a side of finely chopped onions, lemon wedges and finely chopped coriander leaves. Or you can sprinkle onions, coriander leaves and lemon juice directly on the bhaji.
  • Serve bhaji with the lightly pan fried and buttered pav.

Pav bhaji is topped with chopped onions, coriander leaves and the lime or lemon juice is squeezed on the bhaji and then eaten with pav. you can check the video above to see how pav bhaji is served and eaten.

pav bhaji recipe

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pav bhaji recipe

Pav Bhaji | Mumbai Street Style Recipe

4.82 from 120 votes
Pav bhaji is a popular street food from Mumbai consisting of spiced smooth mashed mix vegetables, served with lightly toasted buttered bread.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Cuisine Indian Street Food, Maharashtrian
Course: Brunch, Main Course, Snacks, Starters
Diet: Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Easy

Servings 5
Units

Ingredients

for cooking veggies for bhaji

  • 3 medium sizes potatoes or 250 grams potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 to 1.25 cups chopped cauliflower or 120 to 130 grams cauliflower
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup green peas – fresh or frozen
  • cup chopped french beans – 12 to 14 french beans, chopped – optional
  • 2.25 to 2.5 cups water – for pressure cooking

other ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons amul butter – butter is also added later while serving, you can add upto 5 to 6 tablespoons of butter too for a richer version
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion – finely chopped or ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste or 1.5 inch ginger and 5 to 6 medium garlic cloves crushed in a mortar-pestle.
  • 1 or 2 green chilies, chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped capsicum or 1 medium sized capsicum (green bell pepper), finely chopped
  • 2 cups tightly packed finely chopped tomatoes, or about 2 to 3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri chilli powder or freshly ground 1 to 2 soaked dry kashmiri red chilies – the latter works much better and imparts a beautiful orange color to the bhaji
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pav bhaji masala, add as required
  • 1.5 to 2 cups water or the stock in which the veggies were cooked or add as required
  • salt as required

accompaniments for pav bhaji

  • 12 pavs for serving with the bhaji
  • 1 medium to large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon or lime, chopped in wedges
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves, for garnish

Instructions

cooking veggies

  • Rinse, peel and chop the veggies. You will need 1 cup chopped cauliflower, 1 cup chopped carrot, 3 medium sized potatoes (chopped) and ⅓ cup chopped french beans. You can also add veggies of your choice.
  • Add all the above chopped veggies in a 2 litre pressure cooker. Also add 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen).
  • Add 2.25 to 2.5 cups water.
  • Pressure cook the veggies for 5 to 6 whistles or for about 12 minutes on medium flame.
  • When the pressure settles down on its own, open the cooker and check if the veggies are cooked well. You can even steam or cook the veggies in a pan. The vegetables have be to cooked completely.

making bhaji

  • Heat a pan or kadai. You can also use a large tawa. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons butter. You can use amul butter or any brand of butter. Butter can be salted or unsalted.
  • As soon as the butter melts, add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds.
  • Let the cumin seeds crackle and change their color.
  • Then add ½ cup finely chopped onions.
  • Mix onions with the butter and saute on a low to medium flame till the onions translucent.
  • Then add 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste. You can also crush 1.5 inch ginger and 5 to 6 medium garlic cloves in a mortar-pestle. 
  • Mix and saute till the raw aroma of both ginger and garlic goes away.
  • Then add chopped green chilies. mix well.
  • Now add 2 cups finely chopped tomatoes. mix very well.
  • Then begin to saute tomatoes on a low to medium flame
  • Saute till the tomatoes become soft and mushy and you see butter releasing from the sides. This takes about 6 to 7 minutes on a low to medium flame. If the tomatoes start sticking to the pan, then sprinkle some water and mix well.
  • When the tomatoes have softened, then add ½ cup finely chopped capsicum (green bell pepper). Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. If the mixture starts sticking to the pan, then you can sprinkle some water. You don’t need to cook the capsicum till very soft. A little crunch is alright.
  • Add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder.
  • Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons pav bhaji masala. mix very well.
  • Add the cooked veggies. add all of the stock or water from the pressure cooker in which the veggies were cooked. mix very well.
  • Then season with salt as per taste.
  • With a potato masher, begin to mash the veggies directly in the pan.
  • You can mash the veggies less or more according to the consistency you want. For a smooth mixture mash more. For a chunky pav bhaji, mash less.
  • Keep on stirring occasionally and let the bhaji simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. 
  • If the bhaji becomes dry and then add some more water. The consistency is neither very thick nor thin.
  • Do stir often so that the bhaji does not stick to the pan. When the pav bhaji simmers to the desired consistency, check the taste. Add salt, pav bhaji masala, red chili powder or butter if required.
  • When the bhaji is simmering, you can fry the pav so that you serve the pav with hot bhaji. Slice the pavs.

toasting pav

  • Heat a tawa or a shallow frying pan. Keep the flame to a low and then add butter.
  • When the butter begins to melt, add a bit of pav bhaji masala. You can skip pav bhaji masala if you want.
  • Mix the pav bhaji masala very well with a spoon or spatula.
  • Then place the pav on the butter.
  • Rotate the pav all over the melted butter so that the pav absorbs the butter.
  • Now turn over the pav and rotate them on the tawa so that the second side absorbs the butter. Add more butter if required.
  • You can turn over and toast them more if required. Then remove in a plate and keep aside.

serving pav bhaji

  • Now take the bhaji in a serving plate or a bowl. Top it up with one to two cubes of butter. You can add more butter, if you like. 
  • Place a side of finely chopped onions, lemon wedges and finely chopped coriander leaves. Or you can sprinkle onions, coriander leaves and lemon juice directly on the bhaji. 
  • Serve bhaji with the lightly pan fried and buttered pav. Pav bhaji is topped with chopped onions, coriander leaves and the lime or lemon juice is squeezed on the bhaji while eating. 

Video

Notes

  1. The spice powders can be easily adjusted to suit your taste.
  2. If you don’t want to add butter, then you can also make the pav bhaji in oil.
  3. If you don’t have pav bhaji masala, then add garam masala. I have made pav bhaji with garam masala only and nobody could tell the difference. In this scenario, then just add some dry mango powder/amchur to the pav bhaji to get that slightly sour taste. Quantity is 2 tsp garam masala with 1 tsp amchur (dry mango powder).
  4. Pav bhaji can be had as a meal during lunch or dinner. You could also have it as an evening snack.
  5. Use good quality pav bhaji masala or make it at home.

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Calories: 228kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 7gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 631mgPotassium: 1057mgFiber: 9gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 5435IUVitamin C: 75mgCalcium: 100mgIron: 5.8mg

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332 Comments

    1. Earlier I have used Everest and Badshah and they were good. Thanks for the feedback on the recipes.

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