pav bhaji

I love pav bhaji! There is nothing better than hot, buttery pav bhaji on rainy days. I have so many fond memories of eating yummy pav bhaji in India as well as in New York. There used to be a cute, little place in East Village that served Bombay street food and I was really fond of their pav bhaji, but sadly they shut down last year 😦

The night before, at precisely 2 am, I had this really strong craving for it, so I decided to make some at home and it turned out be so good that I want to note down the recipe (for mine and others’ benefit!), just in case I forget it. Most people use the ready-made pav bhaji masala, but it’s actually pretty simple to make your own..which is what I did. Those of you who don’t know what I am raving about, pav bhaji is a street food from Bombay…of course now it’s available almost everywhere in India. Pav means bun and bhaji means vegetables. But the key ingredient is actually butter, and lots of it 🙂

Some people boil all the vegetables together and then mash them up, but I like my bhaji to have a little crunch. So, other than the potatoes, I didn’t boil anything. Instead I chopped everything really fine. Also, I like the bhaji to be slightly runny and not a dry lump of mashed up veggies. All this really depends on your taste I guess. Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients for Bhaji

  • 2 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced finely
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1″ piece of ginger, minced
  • 3-4 small green chillies or to taste
  • Tomato puree, 2 tablespoons
  • Cauliflower grated, 1 cup
  • 1 Capsicum, very finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • Green beans, 1/2 cup, very finely chopped
  • Pav Bhaji Masala 1-2 tablespoons or to taste
  • Fresh cilantro, 1/2 cup
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Butter, 1 stick
  • Salt, to taste

Ingredients for Pav bhaji masala

  • Coriander seeds, 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Dry Mango Powder, 1 tbsp
  • Whole Dry red chillies, 2
  • Fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Whole Black Pepper, 5
  • Cloves, 2 or 3
  • Black Cardamom pod, 1
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick, 1″ piece
  • A pinch of hing


  • In a heavy-bottomed pan, dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chillies, fennel seeds, whole black pepper, cloves, black cardamom and cinnamon stick. Be very careful, they can burn easily. Preferably don’t use a non-stick pan.
  • Allow the spices to cool a little and then grind into a powder with rest of the masala ingredients.
  • Melt half a stick of butter, then add onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Cook till they are light brown.
  • Add the tomatoes and tomato puree and cook till you have a smooth paste and tomatoes have disintegrated completely.
  • Add the beans, cauliflower and carrots. Cover and cook till veggies are done but not mushy. Around 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes and combine well using a potato masher.You don’t want a paste, there should be some texture. Add 1/2 – 1 cup water to smoothen the mixture and to achieve desired consistency.
  • Next, add the capsicum, pav bhaji masala, salt and remaining butter and cook for another 2-3 minutes. You can add more water if the mixture is too thick.
  • Add cilantro, lemon juice and eat with buttered & toasted buns!

P.S. The pav bhaji masala recipe is from this blog.

Pav Bhaji (Pao/paw Bhaji) on Foodista

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