Pav Bhaji recipe – Authentic Mumbai street style

Soft buttery pav and delicious bhaji, pav bhaji is mouth-watering street food.

Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji is one of the most popular and favorite street food in Maharashtra, with its origin in Mumbai. Hot bhaji (smooth and thick consistency) with a big dollop of butter melting and spreads in all directions served with lightly toasted soft pavs laden with butter. Well, this is a reason to love it by all age groups. Street food can’t get better than this!

The birthplace of Pav bhaji and because of its absolutely delectable and delicious taste, it has become a favorite all over the country.

No matter which place or what time, there is always a queue for this dish. While waiting for the order, the aroma of spices and butter is a real test of patience. But, it is worth the waiting time.

Pav bhaji which started as a ‘street junk food’ has now found its way into some of the Indian restaurants around the world. People are noticing and just can’t get enough of this Indian street dish which is not surprising too. Because pav bhaji has a seductive and spicy flavor that teases and excites the taste buds simultaneously. Another popular street food is Egg Burji (Anda Bhurji). Do try the recipe.

What is Pav Bhaji?

Pav in Marathi means bread roll and Bhaji means dry or gravy dish made with vegetables. As both are served together, the name Pav Bhaji. But, when good pav is not available, I even like to have it with sliced bread.

Mumbai’s iconic dish is a delicious amalgamation of different healthy vegetables which one will not like when eaten individually, cooked in a unique mixture of spices and mashed, served with two tawa fried pavs soaked in butter. Pav Bhaji is the smartest way to make kids eat healthy vegetables. The common veggies used to make Pav Bhaji are, Potatoes, tomatoes, green peas, capsicum, onion. You can make it healthier by adding carrots, cauliflower, and beetroot.

Unique mixture of spices

Pav Bhaji masala is the secret or magical ingredient which makes the bhaji taste so delicious. To make street/restaurant style Pav Bhaji, a good quality pav bhaji masala is must. There are many brands of masala available in the market.  After trying few brands, some great pav bhaji masala brands I recommend are:

1. Everest pav bhaji masala

2. MDH pav bhaji masala

3. Tata Sampann pav bhaji masala

4. Badshah pav bhaji masala

The reasons to recommend these brands are

1. The unique blend of many great ingredients.

2. Processed with the latest equipment which retains the taste and quality of ingredients.

3. Ingredients are sourced from India’s tops farms.

Best time to enjoy

I had this dish when Mumbai was Bombay. Since then it is my favorite for obvious reasons. Best time to enjoy it was evening, as the cool climate adds to the taste of this dish. Thanks to cooking shows, people started to make this dish at home. Now anyone can enjoy at any hour of the day, for breakfast, or brunch, or lunch, or even dinner.

Pav Bhaji does not have a specific time to enjoy it but the best way to feast on this dish is to serve it with slightly toasted pav buns in butter, some chopped onion, and lemon to go with it. To complete the dish, don’t forget to garnish the bhaji with a big dollop of butter on top! As it said, butter makes everything better.

Every bite is transportation to culinary heaven.  The punch of spices from the bhaji is balanced by the butter on top and the crunch of the onion along with the slight tartness of the lemon when had with pav is a perfect burst of flavors in the mouth.

Origin of Pav Bhaji

While Maharashtra can proudly claim to be the origination of this much-cherished dish, different regions of India have added their own flavors and varieties to this famous street food. Pav Bhaji has crossed social and geological limits and is presently cherished by individuals all over India.

Variations

Jain Pav Bhaji – Jain version is without using potatoes, onions, ginger or garlic. Potato is replaced by Raw banana.

Kathiawar Pav Bhaji – This version makes use of local spices which give it a very unique taste and is usually washed down with a glass of buttermilk.

Khada Pav Bhaji – Kada means whole. This version is the same as regular, the only difference is that the vegetables are not mashed.

Punjabi Pav Bhaji – This version has lots of spices (garam masala) and served along with a glass of lassi.

Kholapuri Pav Bhaji – Kholapur region is known for eating spicy food. This version uses Kholapuri kanda lasun chutney/masala which makes it spicier.

Paneer Pav Bhaji – Either paneer is grated on top of the bhaji or bhaji is made along with paneer pieces.

Cheese Pav Bhaji – Cheese is grated on bhaji.

Two ways to make Pav Bhaji

1. Pressure cooker: Can also call it a One-Pot Pav Bhaji. When short of time, this makes life easy as the process is simple and quick and something special is ready in minutes.

2. Traditional way: My personal choice is the traditional way; use big tawa to sautee vegetables along with different spices. The advantage of making in tawa is, all the pieces of chopped vegetables touch the tawa and cook well. Also, this process enhances the taste compared to a pressure cooker. Instead of a big tawa, I use a thick base-wide pan.

Pav Bhaji in wide pan

After relocating to Hyderabad, this is one of the street foods I miss. As a passionate cook, I gave it a try in my own kitchen. Though the taste was good, it never matched the memory I had in my head. This lead to experimenting after watching videos on YouTube and I have been successful in making the best at home with basic ingredients.

During lockdown time, while at home, had extra time to experiment and master this dish.

If you want to relish the taste and aroma Chowpatty style at home, follow the recipe below. Everyone in the family will surely like it. Would be glad to know in the comments section below, how was your experience.

Recipe card

Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji – Authentic Mumbai street style

Author: Santosh Allada
Pav in Marathi means bread roll and Bhaji means dry or gravy dish made with vegetables. As both are served together, the name Pav Bhaji. Pav Bhaji is one of the most popular and favorite street food in Maharashtra. Hot bhaji with a big dollop of butter melting and spreading in all directions served with soft pav laden with butter which makes it everyone's favorite.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Cooling Time 5 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, Main Course, Snacks
Cuisine Indian, Maharashtrian, Street Food
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 3 tbsp Butter (Amul)
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera
  • 3 Potatoes (Boiled and peeled)
  • 1/2 cup Peas (Fresh, Frozen or Dried (soaked and pressure cooked))
  • 1/2 Capsicum (finely chopped)
  • 1 Onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 Tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp Pav Bhaji masala
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp Coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon wedges
  • 8 Pavs (slit from center)

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil & 2 tbspn butter in a wide pan.
  • When hot, add jeera and let it crackle.
  • Add finely chopped onion and capsicum. Saute till they turn soft.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and fry till raw smell goes away.
  • Add peas and fry for 5 seconds. With masher, mash as much as possible.
  • Now add chopped tomatoes and salt. Cook till tomatoes are soft. Add little water and mash.
  • Add boiled potatoes and mix well. Mash again till the mixture is smooth.
  • Make well in the center. Add remaining 1 tbspn butter. When melted, add red chilli powder, pav bhaji masala, coriander powder. Saute for 5 seconds and add a cup of water. Let it cook for a min.
    Making of bhaji
  • Spices will blend with the water. Now mix well. Add more water to bring it to a consistency.
    Red color of bhaji
  • On low flame cook for 5-10 minutes to bring out the flavor of all the masalas. When it reaches the desired consistency, add chopped coriander leaves and turn off the flame.
    Bhaji ready
  • Let it cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile can prepare the pavs.

Toasting Pav

  • Slit the pavs from center.
  • Heat a pan or tawa. Make sure the flame is low and add butter.
  • When the butter melts, place the pav on the butter. Move the pavs all around the tawa so that butter is well absorbed.
  • Turn the pavs upside down and move all around.

Serving Pav Bhaji

  • Take the required quantity of bhaji in a plate or bowl.
  • Add a big dollop of butter on top. Add little coriander leaves.
  • Serve along with buttery pavs, chopped onion and lemon wedges.

Notes

Adjust the quantity of spices mentioned as per your taste buds. 
Pav Bhaji masala makes the difference, so use good quality. 
The vegetables mentioned are exactly the same as used by street vendors. Also, vendors use dried green peas (soaked and pressure cooked), as it is available throughout the year.
At home, you can add vegetables of choice. Either finely chop or pressure cook till half cooked and follow the recipe.
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