Indulge in the authentic flavors of Mumbai with this pav bhaji recipe! This iconic Indian street food dish features a flavorful and aromatic vegetable curry (bhaji) served with soft bread rolls (pav bun).
With an aromatic spice blend, fresh vegetables, and a generous touch of butter, this recipe allows you to enjoy the street food experience at home. Try this classic dish and enjoy the deliciousness of Mumbai-style pav bhaji!
Pav bhaji is a dish that can bring comfort and joy, especially during cold weather or when craving a hearty and flavorful meal. This crowd-pleasing dish is loved by people of all ages. It's a great option for family gatherings, parties, or potlucks, as it can be easily scaled up to serve a large number of people.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Burst of flavors: Pav bhaji is known for its bold and robust flavors, combining a medley of spices, vegetables, and tangy accents.
- This is one of the best ways to add vegetables to your meals. The bhaji is loaded with a variety of vegetables, making it a great way to incorporate veggies into your diet.
- The bhaji is freezer-friendly. Make a large batch, portion, and freeze the bhaji. This makes it a convenient and time-saving option for meal prep.
What is ladi pav?
Ladi pav, also known as pav buns or dinner rolls, is a type of soft and fluffy bread that is commonly served with pav bhaji or vada pav. "Ladi" in Hindi means a "line" or "row," and "pav" refers to the bun or bread. Also called pav bun or pav bread, the buns are soft and have a light and airy texture, making them perfect for soaking up the flavorful curry of pav bhaji.
Homemade Pav Bhaji Masala Powder
I have previously shared my recipe for making pav bhaji masala powder, which is a special blend of spices. While this masala powder is easily available in Indian stores, it does not match the taste of freshly ground masala powder. And let us not forget the unique taste it adds to the dish because you can tweak it as per your taste buds.
Ingredients to make the Bhaji (vegetable curry)
Potatoes: Potatoes are the main ingredient in the bhaji. I prefer to use potatoes in moderation and substitute them with a larger quantity of cauliflower to reduce the carb content and incorporate the goodness of cauliflower in the dish.
Pav bhaji masala powder: I use homemade pav bhaji masala powder. However, you may choose to buy this special spice blend from Indian stores.
Butter: This is a key ingredient in making the best-tasting bhaji. It does not taste as good when made with oil.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Pav: Pav is nothing but dinner rolls. You can also serve the bhaji with sourdough dinner rolls.
Onions, cilantro, and lemon/lime: These are used as garnish but are essential to lift up the taste of the dish. Do not skip them if you are after the authentic street-style taste.
Step 1: Take potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, peas, beans, and green bell peppers in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the veggies and bring it to a boil. Cover and cook until all the vegetables are completely done (images 1 and 2).
Step 2: Using a potato masher, mash the boiled vegetables well (images 3 and 4).
Step 3: Heat butter in a heavy bottom pan and add finely chopped onions. Fry them until they are golden brown (images 5 and 6).
Step 4: Add fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, masala powder, and salt. Let it cook until the tomatoes are completely done (images 7 and 8).
Step 5: Add the mashed vegetables to the masala gravy. Add a little water (half to one cup) to adjust consistency. Simmer for 15 minutes (images 9 and 10).
Step 6: Finish the bhaji with 1-2 tablespoons of butter and mix well (image 11).
Step 7: Heat a
The vegetables used in pav bhaji, such as potatoes, cauliflower, peas, and capsicum, need to be properly cooked until they are soft and tender. Once cooked, mash them well using a potato masher or the back of a spoon to achieve an even consistency for the bhaji. You can also use an immersion blender to mash the vegetables.
Don't shy away from using butter while making bhaji and toasting the pav. Butter is an important ingredient in pav bhaji that adds richness and enhances the flavor of the dish.
Using a homemade pav bhaji masala spice blend can make a significant difference in the flavor of your pav bhaji. Consider making your own masala powder at home for an authentic and aromatic taste. Alternatively, there a several brands of this spice mix that you can buy from Indian grocery stores.
Always serve the hot bhaji with freshly toasted pav. To toast the pav, cut it into two halves. Heat lots of butter in a pan and sprinkle a little pav bhaji masala powder. Place the sliced pav and toast it until golden.
To add freshness and tanginess to pav bhaji, serve it with a side of onions, cilantro, and lemon juice. Don't forget to add a dollop of butter on top of the bhaji, just like how the street vendors at Juhu Beach do! Finish the meal with a glass of chilled salt lassi.
Vegetarian Sloppy Joe
A sloppy joe is a sandwich with a filling made of minced meat, onions, sauces, and seasoning and served in a burger bun. Also known as slush burger, this American dish is made with either beef or pork mince. This pav bhaji can be served as a vegetarian alternative to the classic sloppy joe. Just add the bhaji to the toasted pav, top with onion rings, cilantro, and lemon juice, and serve.
Pav Bhaji Burger / Slider
Mix the bhaji with one tablespoon of besan (gram flour/chickpea flour) and shape them into burger patties. Heat some butter on a tava/griddle and shallow fry these patties. Assemble them like any regular burger and enjoy!
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Pav bhaji (Mumbai Street-Style)
For the bhaji:
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 8 pav bread or dinner roll
- 1 teaspoon pav bhaji masala powder
- ¼ cup red onions finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon cilantro
- Lemon or lime wedges
Prep the veggies:
- Take potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, peas, beans, and bell peppers in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the veggies and bring it to a boil.
- Cover and cook until all the vegetables are completely done.
- Once the vegetables are cooked, mash them well using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon.
Make the bhaji:
- In a heavy bottom pan or kadhai, heat ¼ cup of butter. Add onions and fry until they are golden brown.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste, pav bhaji masala powder, and salt.
- Mix well and let it cook until the tomatoes are completely done.
- Add the mashed vegetables to the masala gravy. Add little water (around ½ cup) to adjust consistency.
- Mix well and bring it to a boil. Simmer the bhaji for 15 minutes.
- Top with 1-2 tablespoons of butter and mix well.
Serve Pav Bhaji:
- Cut the pav bread/dinner roll horizontally into two pats.
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan. Sprinkle pav bhaji masala.
- Place the sliced pav bread. Toast until they are golden.
- Serve pav bhaji with some butter, chopped onion, cilantro, and lemon wedges