Food & Recipes

Indian Cuisine: Pav Bhaji of Mumbai, Maharashtra

Written by Garima Nabh


This is the most popular street food from Mumbai. It consists of a thick spiced vegetable curry served with warm bread roll. It can be eaten during lunch, dinner or even as an evening snack.

This has been one of my favourite dishes ever since my mother made it. Then I tried to make on my own until I was able to perfect it.

Butter is used in this recipe. You can use any type of butter but I use the normal, unsalted butter. A combination of ready-made spices is normally used in Indian households. I use the MDH masala for Pav Bhaji but any other brand can be used. Some women make the masala themselves at home.

Any vegetable combination can be used in the curry but the capsicum is compulsory. I have used potato, cauliflower and peas. Normally, bread rolls are eaten with the vegetable. However, I prefer to use the normal sliced bread. It’s because the bread is bigger than the bun. But I still warm it with butter before serving the dish.

Pav Bhaji Recipe

Preparation time: twenty minutes

Cooking time: twenty minutes

Total time: forty minutes


Ingredients for the bhaji:

  • Three medium sized potatoes
  • One to 1.25 cups chopped cauliflower
  • One cup chopped carrot
  • ¾ to One cup fresh green peas
  • 1/3 cup chopped French beans, chopped, optional
  • One large onion, finely chopped
  • Two to Three large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • One medium sized capsicum, finely chopped
  • Two teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
  • One or Two green chilies, chopped
  • Two or Three tablespoons pav bhaji masala
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder, optional
  • One teaspoon chili powder
  • One teaspoon turmeric powder
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 to Two cups water or add as required
  • Two to Three tablespoons of butter, more butter can be used later
  • Salt as required
  • Two or Three table spoons chapped coriander, for garnish


  • Twelve pavs for serving with the bhaji
  • One medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • One lemon or lime, chopped in wedges


Preparing the vegetables:

  • Rinse all the vegetables well.
  • Boil all the vegetables except onions, tomatoes and capsicum in a pressure cooker or microwave oven.
  • Finely chop the onions, green chilies, tomatoes and capsicum. Keep aside.
  • After the potatoes, cauliflower and other vegetables are cooked, peel the potatoes. Roughly chop all the steamed veggies and then mash them lightly with a potato masher. Keep aside. Just lightly mash. Don’t make a puree.

Making the bhaji:

  • In a pan, add butter.
  • When the butter melts, add cumin seeds. When they sizzle, add the chopped onions.
  • Sauté the onions till they become translucent. Now add the ginger-garlic paste.
  • Sauté till the raw aroma of the ginger-garlic paste disappears.
  • Add chopped green chilies and fry for some seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes and sauté them for six – seven minutes on low to medium flame till they become soft and mushy or till you see oil releasing from the sides.
  • Add the chopped capsicum and sauté for two- three minutes.
  • Now add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and pav bhaji masala.
  • Mix everything and fry until the capsicum becomes a little soft. Not too much soft, a little crunch is alright.
  • Now add the mashed vegetables and combine them with the masala.
  • Add water and season with salt as per your taste.
  • Using a potato masher, mash the veggies directly in the pan.
  • Keep on stirring occasionally and let the bhaji simmer for six- seven minutes on a low flame. The consistency should be neither too thick nor too thin. Then check the taste and add spices or butter if required.

Making the pav bhaji:

  • Slice the pavs/bread rolls.
  • On a flat pan, heat some butter. The more the butter, the better the pav will taste.
  • After the butter melts, keep the pavs on the melted butter and fry for a minute. Remove the pav on a serving plate. If you want to make the pav crisp, fry for a few more minutes.
  • Pour the hot bhaji in a bowl and serve with the buttered pav. You can add butter and sprinkle some coriander leaves on the bhaji. Chopped onions and chopped lime can also be served with the dish. The lime juice has to be squeezed on the bhaji and the onions added on the bhaji.


  • To make it healthier, you can use oil instead of butter.
  • If you don’t have pav bhaji masala, you can use garam masala. Also, add dry mango powder to give the slightly sour taste. In this case, the ratio will be 2 teaspoon garam masala to 1 teaspoon dry mango powder.
  • You can add different vegetables to give it different tastes. However, the potato is the base of the gravy. So use it generously.



About the author

Garima Nabh

Garima is from India and lives in Nigeria. She studied Biomedical Science from London and has been teaching science. She loves crocheting, cooking and teaching.