February 19, 2013

Pav Bhaji / पाव भाजी - Street Food Delicacy

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Having grown up in AAMCHI MUMBAI..(this is how we MUMBAIKARS refer to MUMBAI) for 25yrs of my life,this yummy street food delicacy has been a part and parcel of my childhood. Pav bhaji is an inseparable part of any Mumbaikar.

If you are wondering what is this pav bhaji ? It is very simple, pav is a colloquial and local term used to refer to dinner roll / bread shaped as square buns and bhaji is a vegetable gravy served along side . The pav is roasted in butter and served with the bhaji with a dash of lime and diced onions.

The story how pav bhaji came into existence is very interesting... Bombay was once a city with a lot of textile mills all around which would be buzzing with action round the clock. So during one such time,it seems the food cart owners ran out of their usual supply of food and in order to serve the hungry mill workers ,they put in all the veggies ,spices and masala on hand and served with pav . Thus was born the world famous Pav Bhaji . 

Each locality will have its own famous pav bhaji center and a set of regulars who flock their at every single pretext. Our area too had 2 or 3 such pavbhaji special joints and I have had my share of enjoying it with oodles of butter .Yes,that's how the restaurants serve pavbhaji.  

Pav bhaji is eternal favorite at home which I make it various ways ,an elaborate version ,a quick fix version using pressure cooker and also a No Onion No Garlic version when I am making for dad . 
This recipe of making pav bhaji is how my mom would make ,so undoubtedly it is one of my most cherished versions .

Offlate ,in the name of pavbhaji people add all sorts of vegetables like beans , doodhi (bottle gourd), Raw papaya and what not, but traditionally it has always been tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, onions, garlic, capsicum and peas that have gone into the making of bhaji.

As kids,our summer holidays would revolve around playing with friends and on many occasions we would just plan a luncheon or dinner meet at a friend's house impromptu. Our friendly mommies would dish out their best recipes for us kids and we would all happily enjoy a yummy finger licking meal . At my home,it was mostly pav bhaji request from my friends second after Idlis ,wada and chutney .

The restaurants mostly use edible food color to get the deep red color of the bhaji ,but mom would add a small portion of beetroot while making pav bhaji which will give it the deep red color naturally. 

This recipe is very close to my heart and is one of the most visited posts on my blog. I had posted this in my initial days of blogging which is almost 8-9 years ago . Today (13 Aug 2023) ,I have updated the photos and write up with some of my fond memories.  Hope you all like it and continue to support my blogging journey .

Preparation Time : 15 mins
Cooking Time : 45 mins
Serves : 3-4


10-15 cauliflower florets (boiled and mashed)
2-3 medium sized potatoes (boiled and mashed)
2-3 medium sized tomatoes - blend into a puree
1 onion-finely chopped
1 capsicum - finely chopped
1 cup fresh/frozen peas
2 tsp grated Beetroot (to get a natural red color )
2 tsp  red chilli powder
4 tsp Pavbhaji masala ( any brand ..Everest, Baadshah, MDH, MTR etc)
Salt to taste
4tbsp salted butter
corriander/cilantro for garnishing
1 slab of pav.

(Note : In India its available as PAV BHAJI Buns and for people living in foreign lands you get them at Indian grocery stores. If any of these options are unavailable you can use sandwich bread for the same.)


  • Heat 2 tbsp of butter in a thick bottom vessel.
  • Add the onions when the butter melts and is heated up.Saute until onion turns light pink.
  • Add the chopped capsicums.
  • Close the lid and cook for some time.
  • Add the tomato puree,grated beetroot and green peas.To this add the red chilli powder,salt and pav bhaji masala.
  • Note : In case you desire a spicy bhaji,you can add some more pav bhaji masala / red chilli powder.
  • Let the mixture come to a boil so that the raw taste of the tomato puree is lost. 
  • Now add the mashed potato and cauliflower florets.
  • Stir the mixture so that all the contents get mixed properly and let the mixture cook .
  • Use a potato masher and mash the contents well while the bhaji is getting cooked .
  • The bhaji must be of flowing consistency and resemble a porridge.  There should not be huge Chunks of any vegetables.  Hence, this step is very important.
  • By the time the mixture is cooked,heat a tava / griddle to roast the bread /pav to be served along with the bhaji
  • Serve the roasted bread/pav and bhaji by garnishing with some raw onions,cilantro and a dollop of butter over the bhaji.

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  1. Made it this time with your recipe..turned out well..almost as good as Achija..:-)

  2. My family's all time favourite. Best part is one can add any veggies to it. Love the colour of your bhaji.

  3. Pav bhaji is all time favourite of ours and especially liked my kids. I also sneak in 1-2 extra veggies always in the name of pav bhaji. Your recipe and pics are very tempting.


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