Recipe: Pav Bhaji
Pav Bhaji is a popular Indian Street Food which originates from Mumbai. Thick, spicy, mashed vegetables is served with bread rolls. Pav means bread in Marathi and Bhaji refers to vegetables. Bhaji is what the western world refers to as curry. It is one of the most popular street food in the India.
Origins Of Pav Bhaji
The soft, fluffy pav travelled all the way from Portugal to Goa. The Portuguese introduced ‘pão’ to India. In Marathi pao also refers to quarter, as in quarter of a loaf. Pav Bhaji is believed to have originated in Mumbai in the 1850s. Textile workers in Mumbai had a very short lunch break and also heavy manual work called for lighter meals. The need to prepare a cheap, easy, quick, light and yet nutritious food. A vendor created this dish using items or parts of other dishes available on the menu. An thus pav bhaji came into existence. A simple mashed potato stew cooked with onion and spices was served with bread.
A Humble But Nutritious Meal
Soon it became a popular street food enjoyed by the people in the evenings. Over time more vegetables, spices, butter were added to make it more appealing the people. Nowadays there are so many different varieties of pav bhaji available not only in Mumbai but all over India. Green pav bhaji, using only green vegetables, cheesy one, adding minced meat to the bhaji, paneer or the jain version where potatoes are replaced with plaintain and no onion, garlic or ginger is used. Pav Bhaji has become so popular that visitors to India do not leave the shores without enjoying this finger licking street food.
I love the street version of Pav Bhaji with the soft buttery bread rolls. The bread is overly buttered, but that’s what makes it so tasty. My first taste of this dish was when I was studying in Mt. Abu. On a very cold evening, the smell of butter and fried onions was very inviting. A shopkeeper’s wife started preparing it at the doorstep of the shop on a huge tawa (skillet). We would stand around the huge tawa and enjoy the tasty food.
I learned how to make pav bhaji at home from Nunu, my mother-in law. She used a variety of vegetables, a very innovative way of getting my young ones, now adults, to eat vegetables they would usually frown upon. Till they grew up, they had no idea that we added cauliflower and lots of eggplant to the bhaji 🙂
When my daughter was studying at NIFT, Bangalore, this was a dish most requested by her friends. My daughter would would invite them on a Saturday and I would spend better part of the day shopping, chopping and cooking the vegetables. She would tell me ” mum 8 friends are coming for dinner”. By evening we would have anywhere between 12-15 friends! And all hungry mouths. Over time, learned to cook a bit more!
A Tribute To My Mother In Law
My mother in law, popularly known by most as Nunu, passed away on 03/03/2023 at the age of 89. I learned to cook many many dishes from her. Before she joined the ISKCON movement, I would help her to make tonnes of pav bhaji for the Diwali Fete. This Fete was organized by the Patel Community of Mombasa during the 4-5 Diwali Festival Days. A variety of vegetarian dishes were prepared and sold. A way of raising funds for the community. On the menu at least on one day was Pav Bhaji. And Nunu would make it.
Sunday Funday Group
Sharing this recipe with the group. We get together on Sundays to prepare delicious meals according to a theme decided by members. This weekend theme is Street Food suggested by Sneha. Pav Bhaji was the 20th dish I had prepared when I started blogging 11 years ago. However, till 16/04/2023, didn’t get the opportunity to update it. Don’t get me wrong, I prepare this popular street food at least once a month. However, usually I make it when we are entertaining, which means I didn’t get the opportunity to take photos then.
First published on 02/02/2012. Updated with better photos and video on 16/04/2023
Some More Street Food You May Like
Check Out What Street Food Members Of Sunday Funday Have Made
Chicago Tamale Dog (Mother-in-Law Sandwich) from Palatable Pastime
Chipati from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Egyptian Kushari from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Pan-Fried Steamed Buns (Sheng Jian Bao) from Amy’s Cooking Adventures
Pav Bhaji Recipe from Mayuri’s Jikoni
Ragda Patties from Sneha’s Recipe
Watch How To Make Pav Bhaji
PAV BHAJI RECIPE
- 1 cup peas fresh or frozen
- 1 cup cauliflower florets small ones
- 1 cup eggplant peeled and diced
- 1 cup french beans chopped
- 2 cups potatoes peeled and diced
- 1 cup fresh coriander chopped
- 1 cup carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 cup onion peeled and chopped
- ½ cup red bell pepper diced
- 2 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 10 tomatoes or 2 cups pureed tomato
- 1½ cups water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ⅛ tsp asafoetida
- 1-1½ tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp pav bhaji masala
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup chopped coriander
- ½ cup chopped onions
- lemon wedges
- 6-8 tsp butter
- 12-16 buns buttered
IF YOU ARE USING FRESH TOMATOES
- Cut the tomatoes into chunks and put in a pan. Cover it and let them cook over low heat. When done, puree them.
BOIL THE VEGETABLES
- Take a wide pan and put 1 cup water to boil. When it starts to boil add the vegetables (potatoes,peas, french beans, cauliflower, eggplant, carrots) and 1 tsp salt and let them cook till done.
- If there is too much water drain it out and save it.
- Mash the vegetables. Mash completely or partially, according to the way you like it.
PREPARE THE BHAJI
- In a wide pan, heat the oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium heat.
- Add the cumin seeds. When they splutter, add asafoetida, chopped onion and saute till it becomes soft turn light brownish.
- Add the garlic and ginger paste. Saute for a minute or so.
- Add chopped bell pepper and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add both chilli powders and coriander one too. Stir fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the chopped coriander and mix well.
- Add the tomato puree, half tsp salt and sugar. Cover and cook till the gravy thickens.
- Add the mashed vegetables. If the mixture is dry then add a bit of the saved water.Mix well and cook the bhaji over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Don't leave the bhaji too watery. Take it off the heat.
- Add the pav bhaji masala and lemon juice. Mix well.
- Taste and add salt, masala and chilli according to your requirement.
TOAST THE PAV/BREAD ROLLS
- Slice the buns into halves.
- Butter them liberally.
- Toast them in a frying pan or tawa with buttered side down. Toast till the buns are golden brown.
- Flip them over and toast for a few seconds.
- Alternately, toast the bread under the broiler.
- Add chopped onion, coriander and dollops of butter to the bhaji.
- Serve with the toasted buns.
- If you want to prepare it for a dinner party, cook it the previous day and store in the fridge. It gives the masalas time to work and the bhaji tastes so much better.
- I prefer to use the Everest pav bhaji masala, but you can any brand of your choice.
- When I am not making pav bhaji for guests, I avoid the dollops of butter to make it a healthy meal.
- For a richer taste, saute the onions in butter instead of oil.
- If you use canned tomatoes, then you may need to add a bit more sugar as they are usually more tangy.
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