Mumbai Pav Bhaji - Street-Style

BHAJI = Mashed boiled mixed vegetables (mainly Capsicum, Potatoes, Peas, Tomatoes, and Onions) cooked in spices and straddled by a slab of butter.

It's a simple dish, cooked with many different ways and flavors. 

My version of cooking Pav Bhaji is not that simple, takes a lot of time and patience. But let me tell you, it comes directly from the Street Vendor of Mumbai Juhu Beach. 

If you’re visiting Mumbai and are really looking to get a taste of the city, avoid trawling Colaba's tourist spots for fry-ups and cereal, try breakfast the way true-blue Mumbaikars have it. From students to businessmen, everyone has their favorite grab-and-go Pav in Mumbai. 
It is a crime to have these in Air-Conditioned restaurants, best had from the alfresco style stalls on the city streets and at Juhu Beach. 
Mumbai undoubtedly makes the most finger-licking Pav Bhaji in the world! Bhaji is mashed boiled mixed vegetables (mainly Capsicum, potatoes, peas, tomatoes, and onions) cooked in spices and straddled by a slab of butter. The Pav served with it is shallow fried in even more butter and served with lemon and chopped onions. Squeeze some lemon on the bhaji and dig in with your fingers. It’s a week’s worth of butter but worth every calorie!

Keeping all above points in my mind, one beautiful smokey morning I was wandering at beachside stalls from one Pav Bhaji Vendor to another, and finally I selected one, who was just about to open his stall. In few minutes, everything was ready....Com'on, these vendors can challenge any good chef in the means of time and taste. I started chatting with him as if, he's one of my 'lost n found' friend, as seen and initiated by dear husband. 

To my surprise, he told me NOT TO ADD CAULIFLOWER to the Bhaji, and, the reason behind that is Cauliflower florets can overcome any other veggie used for making this dish. I was more than surprised, as I have always seen my Mom adding 4-5 Cauliflower Florets while preparing the "Bhaji"

Keeping all the surprises at one end, I saw that vendor making the whole Bhaji, from scratch, 2-3 times....yeah, I was there standing near his stall for more than one hour, and my husband was like, are you planning for a joint business. HaHaHa... :-)

Never mind, it tasted awesome and kind of "Paisa Vasool" typo..

It was difficult for me to erase my Mom's version and adopt his "no cauliflower" version. But then too I tried his version, and the TASTE was like above all my expectations JUST TOO GOOD. 
That was the day, I bookmarked the recipe and always try to make the same version of not adding cauliflowers. Though never got chance to thank that Vendor, but my Mom-Dad, my Husband and my complete family likes this tastes better than any other Pav Bhaji we had till date. 

So here is my version of Pav Bhaji recipe........

  • 2 big size Green bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 4 big size Potatoes, boiled and coarsely mashed
  • 1 cup Green Peas, boiled
  • 3 medium Tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 medium Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon Pav Bhaji masala, heepful and readymade
  • 1/2 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 7-8 Big Cloves of Garlic, freshly chopped or pressed using a Garlic-presser
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Kasoori methi powder, ready-made
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander / cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pack of Dinner Rolls("Pav")
  • 6-8 tbsp salted Butter
To Garnish : 1/2 cup finely sliced Onions and Lemon juice.

  1. In a large heavy bottomed flat saucepan, melt 1/2 tsp butter and add chopped bell peppers. Saute on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add little water and cover the pan to half cook the peppers, for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add boiled peas and fry with half-cooked peppers for 5-7 minutes. 
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, again sauté on high heat for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add ginger paste, chopped Garlic and coarsely mashed Potatoes. Mix well. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, 2 tbsp butter and mix everything stirring continuously for 3-4 minutes. Keep mashing the vegetable using the potato/vegetable masher. This requires a lot of patience. 
  5. Add half cup of water to the vegetables. Cook on medium flame for 7-8 minutes with stirring and mashing of the veggies here and there. The consistency should not be very thick. If required add more water.
  6. Add 2 tsp Pav-bhaji masala, salt and chopped coriander. Sauté and mash till the spices start to give out a wonderful aroma. Turn off the heat and keep this mixture aside in a separate bowl.
  7. In the same pan melt 2 tbsp butter, add chopped onions, 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste, red-chili powder, 2 tsp Pav-bhaji masala and some lemon juice. Saute for 2-3 minutes .
  8. Add the vegetable mixture to the above masala. Now this mixture requires some more patience. Continously stir and mash the bhaji to get the real taste. 
Tip: The Bhaji should not look like a gravy instead it should be granular. The granular texture is achieved by frying the bell peppers and onions properly.
    To prepare the "Pav" or Dinner rolls:
    1. Slit the buns/rolls into two keeping the base intact.
    2. Melt butter in a flat pan and add 1/2 tsp Pav-bhaji masala. Spread this butter with masala evenly all over the pan with the help of a spatula.
    3. Arrange all the buns on the pan. Roast both the sides as well as the inner surfaces of buns on the butter.
    Serve the "Pav" or rolls with the "bhaaji" and a lemon slice. Garnish with chopped onions and a chunk of butter.

    Good chefs always taste their Recipe.....Go Ahead....And say Wow.



    1. Hey...i tried this method of making Pav really came out very well....different and very tasty....

    2. Dear Anshu,
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    3. I tried and came out really good. But I have a question that Is there any weight for tomato/ green pepper/potato so that it come same taste every time

    4. Thanks!
      You can use the veggies in the following ratio-
      For 1 large Bell Pepper, add 4 medium sized boiled Potatoes, three quarter cup of boiled peas, two large tomatoes and 2 large Onions.

    5. Awesome pao bhaji..Just had my lunch, but I am hungry again..:) thankyou for shearing this information with us!chowringhee


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