Pav Bhaji | Mumbai Street Food is a mish-mash of vegetable curry blended with a special spice. It is served with bread that is slathered with butter. Pav Bhaji is the king of street foods.
Pav Bhaji also called Bhaji Pao is street food from Maharashtra. This street food is so popular that now we see it throughout India. Not only that it is globally popular too. It is a dish that can be enjoyed at any hour of the day, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is a quintessential street snack, but available in restaurants too.
Pav Bhaji comprises of two components – a pillowy soft ‘pav’ which is paired with a ‘bhaji’. Bhaji is a blend of a particular set of vegetables, which vary from vendor to vendor. The Bhaji is mashed and cooked on a huge Tawa, and spiced with a special Masala. The Bhaji is finished with a dollop of butter, some coriander leaves and a lemon wedge. Pav bhaji is a killer street food and the aroma of the Pav Bhaji makes it hard to resist.
Ingredients for Pav Bhaji | Mumbai Street Food
Vegetables: Every stall or family has their own choice of vegetables. I use potatoes, green peas and capsicum. The street vendors use a little cauliflower or cabbage, again this varies on preferences.
Onion: I use very little onion, while cooking, as too much onion, gives a mild sweetness to the Bhaji. Finely chopped onion is a must as an accompaniment.
Tomatoes: I use them lavishly as they impart a good colour and flavour. Choose well-ripe tomatoes.
Spices: Spices play an important role in a delicious Pav Bhaji.
A special spice blend called Pav Bhaji Masala is used. This can be either homemade or store-bought. I prefer the Tata Sampan brand, but you can choose your favourite brand. The masala makes a lot of difference.
Black Salt is another spice that I use. It takes the Bhaji to another level.
Kashmiri Red Chilly Powder gives a vibrant colour to the Bhaji.
Turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt go into the seasoning too.
Butter/ Oil: I use a teaspoon of oil to saute the onions, but use butter lavishly. Amul, of course, is our favourite brand.
Coriander Leaves: Pav Bhaji is incomplete without this herb.
Lemon: Lemon juice gives a tanginess to the Bhaji.
Pav: You can either bake them yourself or use store-bought.
How to make Pav Bhaji | Mumbai Street Food ?
Firstly, we will prepare the veggies to make Pav Bhaji.
Boil potatoes, I boil them in a traditional pressure cooker. Peel and gently squeeze them with your hands.
Next, boil the Green Peas.
Chop Onions, capsicum, tomatoes and coriander leaves.
Grind garlic into a fine paste.
Let’s cook the Bhaji
The Bhaji is cooked on a very big, heavy griddle / tava on the streets, but at home, I make it in a Kadai or a wok.
Heat a Kadai and add onions. Saute for a minute. Next, add capsicum and saute for a few seconds.
Sprinkle a few drops of water, so the onion does not brown.
Add mashed potatoes and green peas. Immediately add 1/4 cup of water, and mash the veggies with a potato masher. Keep adding water little by little and mash the bhaji till nice and creamy.
Let’s finish the Bhaji
Take another pan, add butter to it. Now add the chopped tomatoes. Add salt, cover and cook the tomatoes till soft and mushy. Mash the tomatoes and add the garlic paste. Sprinkle a few drops of water, so that the masala does not burn.
Cook again, now add Kashmiri Red Chilly Powder, Red Chilly Powder, Turmeric Powder, Pav Bhaji Powder, Coriander Powder, Black Salt and finally Salt to taste. Give it a good mix. Now add this tomato garlic mix to the potato pea mix. Once again mash everything very well, till nice and creamy. Finally, add a big chunk of butter. Garnish with coriander leaves and drizzle lemon juice.
While Pav Bhaji is served straight out of the Tawa, I enjoy it the next too. It can be stored for a day or two in the refrigerator, depending on weather conditions. It can also be stored for a couple of weeks in the deep freeze. Thaw the Bhaji and refresh by heating it very well and adding some butter.
How can I use leftover Bhaji ?
The Bhaji is very flavorful and normally there are no leftovers, however, for some reason, we do have leftovers. Here are some ways you can use it-
Variety of Pav Bhaji available on the streets
There are different varieties of Pav Bhaji, but somehow I am so addicted to my traditional version that I don’t have the courage to try these. Although I have tried making the Green Pav Bhaji and was amazed at the flavours and the nutrition value. Anyways let’s check the different variations –
- Khadi Pav Bhaji
- Cheese Pav Bhaji
- Jain Pav Bhaji
- Green Pav Bhaji
- Black Pav Bhaji
Tips and Tricks for a good Bhaji
You can make an instant Bhaji by boiling veggies in a pressure cooker. Simultaneously prepare the tempering. Mix the two and mash it up.
When making Pav Bhaji for kids, add veggies like carrots, bottle gourd, cauliflower, cabbage, beans, they will eat happily.
Butter enhances the taste of bhaji, please do not compromise on it.
To make the Bhaji vegan, simply use non-dairy butter.
To enhance the colour, add some boiled beetroot or a paste of soaked Kashmiri Red Chillies.
Serve with a good squeeze of lemon juice, chopped onions and add lots of coriander.
I like some garlic chutney on the side, though it is optional.
To roast the pav, use a mix of butter and oil, add some pav bhaji masala too.
Pav Bhaji | Mumbai Street Food is my post under The Street Food Theme. This happens to be my favourite theme and you can check some of my favourite street food –
Pav Bhaji | Mumbai Street Food
- Pressure Cooker
- Pan / Kadai / Wok
- Potato Masher
- 1 tbsp + 2 tbsp butter
- 1 Onion finely chopped
- 1/4 Capsicum finely chopped
- 3 Potato boiled and mashed
- 1/ 4 cup Green Peas
- 6 Tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilly Powder
- 1 tsp Red Chilly Powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 tsp Pav Bhaji Masala
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/4 tsp Black Salt
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Coriander Leaves
- Coriander Leaves finely chopped
- Pav Buns
- Onion finely chopped
- Lemon Wedges
- Lassan Chutney
- Add a tbsp of oil to a pan and let it heat.
- Add onions, saute for a minute.
- Next add finely chopped capsicum. Saute it for a minute too.
- Now sprinkle a few drops of water so that it does not cook further.
- Time to add mashed potatoes and green peas. Immediately add 1/4 cup of water. Let the veggies soften.
- Mash the bhaji with a potato masher. As we mash the bhaji becomes thick. Keep adding water little by little and continue to mash the Bhaji till it is smooth and creamy. Keep it aside.
Let’s make the Tadka now.
- Heat a tablespoon of butter in another pan and add the chopped tomatoes.
- Sprinkle a pinch of salt, simmer the flame and cover the pan with a lid. Cook tomatoes till they are soft and mushy.
- Next mash the tomatoes very well, add garlic paste and mix well till the butter leaves sides.
- Sprinkle a few drops of water, so that the masala does not burn.
- Cook again, now add Kashmiri Red Chilly Powder, Red Chilly Powder, Turmeric Powder, Pav Bhaji Powder, Coriander Powder, Black Salt and finally Salt to taste.
- Mix everything very well.
- Add in the lemon juice and coriander leaves. Once again mix well.
- Finally, mix the tadka into the Bhaji, mix well. Check the consistency of the Bhaji, if it is thick add some hot water.
- Take a test check of the seasonings and finish by adding a dollop of butter and coriander leaves.
Let’s prepare the Pav
- To prepare the Pav, simmer the flame, so that the spices do not burn.
- Heat a tsp of butter and 1/2 a tsp of oil.
- Add Pavbhaji masala and coriander leaves. Mix well.
- Now slit two Pav in centre and roast in this spiced butter.
- Serve the Bhaji with Butter Pav, chopped onions, lemon wedge and garlic chutney.