Pav bhaji made with mixed vegetables, spices and butter

Pav Bhaji Recipe (Mumbai Street Style)

By Swasthi on November 3, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Pav Bhaji is a flavorsome and hearty meal that has a delicious blend of spicy mixed vegetables, served alongside soft butter toasted dinner rolls, crunchy onions and lemon wedges. This homemade Mumbai street style Pav Bhaji tastes absolutely Phenomenal! It’s the easiest and a great dinner option for the busy weeknights. A total crowd-pleaser with bold flavors! Make the BEST Pav Bhaji at home with my simple recipe instructions to make it in a pan or pressure cooker or instant pot.

Pav bhaji recipe with mixed vegetables, spices and butter

It’s no secret that there a lot of delicious Indian street foods like Aloo tikki, Dahi vada, Bhel puri, vada pav and Batata vada, but Pav Bhaji is particularly unique for its intoxicating aroma. Probably, it’s hard for a lot of Indians to cross a Pav Bhaji place without surrendering to the temptation. Undeniably, it is the most loved street foods from Mumbai, India!!

If you are new to Indian cuisine and wondering

About Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji is an Indian fast food consisting of a thick spicy vegetable gravy served with soft dinner rolls. In Hindi and Marathi, the word ‘Pav’ means ‘Bread roll or dinner roll’ and ‘Bhaji’ means ‘a vegetable dish’. Since these are served together as a meal, it is known as Pav Bhaji.

Originated in Mumbai as a light and quick meal option for the textile workers, this Mumbai’s most iconic street food became hugely popular across India. (Source: Wikipedia)

You will find this everywhere right from upscale restaurants to school/ college canteens & street side push carts in India. Even more you find it in every Indian restaurant abroad. But it is said that you get the best Pav Bhaji in Mumbai.

My Recipe

My homemade version is easier than you think & it tastes incredibly delicious! Except for the preparation, you won’t need to put much effort. Though an all-time favorite, this isn’t the perfect starter instead it is ideal for a meal. Because no one wants to stop with 1 to 2 servings of pav bhaji.

Bhaji has a mélange of vegetables cooked with butter and pav bhaji masala, a special spice blend which creates a magic. The piping hot bhaji is topped with a generous amount of butter and garnished with coriander leaves.

It is then served alongside butter toasted pav, chopped onions and lemon wedges. Then you are ready to dip the pav in the bhaji and relish it.

In this post I show 2 ways to make it. The first method in the most common one where the veggies are cooked first separately and then later simmered with the onion tomato masala and pav bhaji masala.

The second method is a one pot recipe where you make the masala first and then add the raw veggies. This is pressure cooked with the spice powders. This second method can be followed if you have a pressure cooker, either the stovetop Indian cooker or the instant pot.

Street style Vs Home style

Usually the street side bhaji is made with more potatoes & onions. Veggies like cauliflower, capsicum & peas are used in little quantities or even skipped.

Street stalls selling Mumbai pav bhaji often avoid cauliflower as it turns out to be expensive for them. But while making it at home, it is good to use it as the flavor of bhaji turns out excellent.

Ingredients You Need

Pav (dinner rolls/ bread rolls): Indian pav is made with refined white flour, milk and yeast. They are eggless & are easily available in the Indian stores. If you live outside India & don’t find pav, you may serve them with unsweetened buns, sourdough or artisan breads. Whole grain crusty breads also go well with this bhaji.

Mixed vegetables: I use fresh veggies like carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, beans potatoes & frozen peas. You may opt to use pre cut veggies from the stores if you want.

Butter is the key ingredient that adds flavor to the dish. You may use cultured butter if you have for extra flavor.

Pav Bhaji Masala is a spice blend used to cook the bhaji. You either make your own following my recipe below or buy from an Indian Store.

Make Pav Bhaji Masala

There are many pav bhaji masala powders available in the market which can be used instantly. Each one differs in the flavor and taste. But the basic ingredients almost remain the same. Only the quantity of ingredients change. So you can chose the one you like.

I like my homemade masala powders so I make my own pav bhaji masala powder at home. You can find the link in the recipe card below. I have shared it here in brief.

You can also make pav bhaji masala powder by dry roasting the following ingredients. Powder them in a spice grinder and use as needed in this recipe.
2 tbsps coriander seeds
1 black cardamom
2 green cardamoms
1 tbsp cumin or jeera
1 tsp pepper corn
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
3 red chilies
1 inch cinnamon
3 to 4 cloves
1/2 tbsp amchur

For more street foods check
Sandwich recipes
Pakora recipes
Papdi chaat
Gobi manchurian

How to Make Pav Bhaji (Stepwise Photos)

Preparation

Rinse, peel and cube 3 medium or 2 larger potatoes (about 300 grams). Mine were about 1½ to 2 cups when measured. Clean 1 cup cauliflower florets (optional). Rinse ½ to ¾ cups green peas. If you want you can also use 1 medium carrot (Half cup chopped).

For making masala, chop 1 medium onion (¾ to 1 cup chopped) , 2 medium tomatoes (¾ to 1 cup chopped), half bell pepper (½ cup chopped) and 1 green chilli. Also make 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste. Keep all of these aside.

1. Add potatoes, cauliflower, peas & carrots (optional) to a pressure cooker or a pot. Pour 1½ cups water, it should be just enough to cover them partially.

boiling veggies for pav bhaji recipe

2. Pressure cook for 1 to 2 whistles on a medium flame. I pressure cook for only 1 whistle.

pressure cooking veggies for pav bhaji

3. When the pressure releases open the lid. Veggies should be soft cooked. Mash them well.

mash cooked veggies

Prepare Onion Tomato Masala

4. Heat 1 tablespoon butter & 1 tablespoon oil in a pan.

melt butter in pan to make pav bhaji recipe

5. Add ¾ to 1 cup chopped onions. Saute till they turn translucent.

adding onions to fry for pav bhaji

6. Add 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste and 1 green chilli. Fry until it smells good. Take care not to burn.

frying ginger garlic paste to make pav bhaji

7. Add half cup chopped bell pepper. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

frying bell pepper

8. Add ¾ to 1 cup chopped tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. Fry till tomatoes turn mushy, soft and pulpy.

frying tomatoes with masala

9. Add 1 teaspoon chilli powder and 1 to 1½ tablespoon paav bhaji masala powder. If making for kids, skip the chilli powder but it will affect the color.

adding masala powder to make pav bhaji recipe

10. Mix well and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

frying masala until it leaves the pan

Make Bhaji

11. Add the boiled & mashed veggies. Add ½ to ¾ cups more water to bring it to a consistency.

adding water to adjust consistency

12. Mix well and simmer for a while to bring out the flavor of masala. Taste test and add more salt if you want. You can also add more chili powder at this stage for brighter color. Also for more flavor you may add more pav bhaji masala if you want.

13. Add ¾ tablespoon kasuri methi. When it reaches the desired consistency, add chopped coriander leaves. switch off. Slightly cool down and add some lemon juice before serving.

cook bhaji until it thickens

Toast Pav

14. Slit the pav horizontally leaving one edge intact. On a low flame, heat 1 teaspoon butter on a tawa. Add little masala powder over it.

heating butter on tawa to toast pav

15. Place the pav on the butter and toast for 1 to 2 mins until slightly crisp. Do not over do it as the spice powder will burn. You can do the same on the other side as well by adding more butter on the pan.

toasting buns for pav bhaji recipe

Garnish with coriander leaves, lemon wedges and chopped onions. Top with more butter on hot bhaji. Serve pav bhaji with some butter topped and onion.

pav bhaji recipe

How to Make Instant Pot Pav Bhaji

This recipe has been tried and tested in a 6 qts Instant pot. It works very well even with homemade pavbhaji masala which I shared in the Intro of this post.

For Bhaji you will need
1 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¾ cup onions fine chopped – 125 grams – 1 medium or 2 small
¾ cup tomatoes fine chopped – 125 grams – 2 medium
1½ cups potatoes – 300 grams – 3 medium or 2 large
½ cup green peas – 75 grams
½ cup carrots (1 medium, 75 grams)
1 cup cauliflower florets (or substitute with half cup potatoes)
½ cup bell pepper chopped – 65 grams – 1 small capsicum
1 tablespoon ginger garlic fine chopped or paste
1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 to 1½ tbsp pav bhaji masala
1 teaspoon red chilli powder (can add more for heat)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon kasuri methi
2 to 3 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped

For serving
6 to 8 pavs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons chopped onions
2 tablespoons coriander leaves fine chopped

Instructions

1. Press SAUTE button on the instant pot. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil to the steel insert. I also added half teaspoon cumin seeds here which I have not mentioned in the recipe. These are optional and can be skipped.

melt butter in Instant pot

2. Add onions and green chilli. Saute until transparent.

onions and green chilies

3. Spread them in a single layer so they fry quickly.

sauteed onions

4. Then stir in ginger garlic and fry for 30 seconds.

ginger garlic added to onions

5. Add the tomatoes, capsicum and sprinkle salt.

tomatoes bell peppers and salt in IP

6. Saute until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy. Then add in pav bhaji masala, chilli powder and turmeric.

adding masala to make pav bhaji

7. Mix well and add all the veggies – potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and peas.

vegetables for instant pot pav bhaji

8. Pour 2 cups water and deglaze the pot by scrubbing the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula.

deglaze the instant pot

9. Press CANCEL button and press PRESSURE COOK button with high pressure setting. Set the timer to 5 mins and position the steam release handle to sealing. When the IP beeps, wait for 5 mins for natural pressure release. Gently release the rest of the pressure manually.

10. With a spatula or masher, mash all the veggies well.

mashing veggies

11. Press SAUTE button. Taste test. If needed add more salt, red chilli powder and pav bhaji masala. I set aside my kids’ portion and then added more spice powders. Also add kasuri methi.

spice powders being added to pav bhaji

12. Let the bhaji simmer for 3 to 4 mins. It will thicken.

thick veggie mash in Instant pot

13. Transfer to serving bowls. Top with butter & coriander leaves.

butter and coriander leaves garnished over bhaji

Slit each bun to 2 horizontally. Heat a pan. Smear some butter and sprinkle pav bhaji masala over the butter. (check images above) Toast the pavs until lightly crisp. Alternately you may also toast them in a preheated oven. I preheat the oven to 240 C or 460F. Place the butter smeared & pav bhaji masala sprinkled slit pavs on the baking tray, with the butter side up. Bake them for 2 to 3 mins. Keep watching so they don’t burn & become like biscuit.

Serve pav with hot bhaji, chopped onions and lemon wedges on the side.

Pav bhaji served in a white plate

Your Questions Answered

Does pav bhaji increase weight?

Yes! With oodles of butter added to the street side Mumbai pav bhaji, it becomes one of the most calorie-laden food. Also pav is made with all-purpose flour which is a pure refined product. If you eat the street style dish often, you may easily gain weight. If you are trying to lose weight, steer clear of the street side dish and customize it at home to suit your diet.

Is pav bhaji good for health?

Eating refined foods in moderation may not necessarily be bad for healthy individuals. To compensate for that, include more whole grains regularly in your diet. Further homemade pav bhaji can be made healthier if you use whole wheat pav, dinner rolls instead of the white flour bread. Also replace the regular butter with organic or grass-fed cow butter.

How to get red color in pav bhaji?

Street side vendors sometimes add color to the pav bhaji. But you can almost get the same color by simply soaking 10 deseeded Kashmiri red chilies in ¼ cup hot water until soft. Then blend them until smooth. Add this along with the pav bhaji masala while cooking. This gives a brighter color to the dish.

What can I use instead of pav bhaji masala?

If you do not have pav bhaji masala, in a pinch you can use garam masala, coriander powder and red chilli powder. Though the flavour won’t be the same it will still taste good.

What is pav bhaji masala made of?

Pav bhaji masala is made with various spices like coriander seeds, black cardamom, green cardamoms, cumin, black pepper, fennel seeds, red chilies, cinnamon, cloves and amchur (Mango powder).

Which pav bhaji masala is best?

I highly recommend making your own masala at home as it barely takes 10 mins. But you can always use store bought one for comfort. Try MDH, Everest & Tata sampan. You will need to adjust the quantities as needed as the spice levels vary.

How to make pav bhaji without onion and garlic?

Simply skip the onions and garlic to make a no onion no garlic pav bhaji. You don’t need to substitute them with any other ingredient.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

Pav bhaji

Pav Bhaji Recipe (Mumbai Street Style)

Easy pav bhaji – A detailed recipe to make quick & delicious mumbai pav bhaji at home. Bhaji is a thick buttery mixed vegetable curry served with Indian buns – pav. Instructions included for stovetop & Instant pot
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings4
AuthorSwasthi

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 1½ to 2 cup potatoes diced (3 medium or 2 large) (300 grams)
  • ½ to ¾ cup green peas (75 grams matar)
  • 1 cup cauliflower (100 grams florets, optional)
  • ½ cup carrot (optional, 1 small, 75 grams)
  • ½ cup capsicum (bell pepper) chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion (¾ to 1 cup finely chopped, 125 grams )
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste or chopped
  • 1 green chili (slit or chopped, optional)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (¾ to 1 cup finely chopped, 125 grams)
  • 1 to 1½ teaspoon red chili powder (less spicy kind or red chili paste from 10 red chilies)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 to 1½ tablespoon pavbhaji masala powder (use more if needed)
  • ¾ tablespoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves, optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

To toast pav

  • 4 to 6 Pav (buns) (dinner rolls)
  • 1 tablespoon butter for toasting pav
  • ½ teaspoon pav bhaji masala powder

To garnish

  • 1 Lemon wedges
  • 2 tablespoon onions Chopped
  • 2 tablespoon Coriander leaves
  • 2 tablespoon butter

Instructions

Preparation

  • Add 1 cup cauliflower florets, 1½ to 2 cups cubed potatoes, carrots (optional) and ½ to ¾ cup peas to a pot or pressure cooker. 
  • Pour 1½ cups water and cook until soft or tender.
  • If cooking in cooker, let it whistle twice. When the pressure releases open the lid and mash them well.

Making Bhaji

  • Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil to a pan and heat up.
  • Next add ¾ to 1 cup finely chopped onions and fry till they turn translucent. 
  • Then add 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste and 1 chopped green chili.
  • Fry till it becomes fragrant. 
  • Next add ½ cup capsicums & saute for 3 to 4 minutes. 
  • Add ¾ to 1 cup chopped tomato and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Fry till tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
  • Next add 1 teaspoon chili powder,¼ teaspoon turmeric and 1 to 1½ tablespoon pav bhaji masala powder.
  • Mix and fry for another 2 minutes or until the raw smell of the mixture goes away.
  • Add boiled & mashed veggies. 
  • Pour more water (½ to ¾ cup) just enough to bring to a thick consistency. 
  • Cook for 3 to 5 mins until the bhaji thickens. Taste and add more salt if needed. If you want it more spicy, add another half tsp chilli powder and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add ¾ tbsp kasuri methi if using and cook until it reaches a desired consistency.

How to Make Pav Bhaji

  • Slit the pav buns horizontally leaving one edge intact. 
  • Heat butter on a pan. Open the buns and sprinkle some pav bhaji masala on the butter.
  • Place the pav & toast them for a min or two.
  • Garnish with onions, butter and lemon wedges. Serve pav bhaji hot or warm.

Instant Pot Pav Bhaji

  • Press SAUTE button on the instant pot. Pour 1 tablespoon oil and add 1 tablespoon butter to the steel insert.
  • Add ¾ to 1 cup onions and 1 slit green chilli. Saute until transparent.
  • Then stir in 1 tablespoon ginger garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add ¾ to 1 cup tomatoes, ½ cup chopped capsicum and sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt. Saute until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
  • Then add in 1 to 1½ pav bhaji masala, 1 teaspoon chilli powder and ¼ teaspoon turmeric.
  • Mix well and add all the veggies – 300 grams potatoes, 1 cup cauliflower florets, ½ cup carrots and ½ to ¾ cup green peas.
  • Pour 2 cups water and deglaze the pot by scrubbing the bottom with a wooden spatula.
  • Press CANCEL button and press PRESSURE COOK button with high pressure setting. Set the timer to 5 mins and position the steam release handle to sealing.
  • When the IP beeps, wait for 5 mins for natural pressure release. Gently release the rest of the pressure manually.
  • There will be lot of water when you open the lid. With a masher, mash all the veggies well, they will soak up the water.
  • Press SAUTE button. If needed add more salt, pav bhaji masala and more red chilli for a brighter color. I usually add ½ teaspoon more red chilli powder at this stage.
  • Let the bhaji simmer for 3 to 4 mins. It will thicken. Then add add crushed kasuri methi and mix. Press cancel. Sprinkle coriander leaves and 1 tablespoon butter.
  • Slit each bun to 2 horizontally. Heat a pan. Smear some butter and sprinkle pav bhaji masala over the butter. (check images above) Toast the pavs until lightly crisp.
  • Transfer bhaji to serving bowls. Top with butter & coriander leaves.
  • Serve alongside toasted buns and freshly cut onions.

Notes

  1. To get a deep red color, soak 10 red chilies in half cup hot water until soft. Then blend them to a thick paste with very little water in a small blender.
  2. The street style dish is mostly made without cauliflower.
  3. If you do not have pavbhaji masala, then you can make it by using the ingredients I mentioned in the intro of this post.
  4. You can also replace pav bhaji masala with garam masala and more red chili powder. But the flavor will be different.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Pav Bhaji Recipe (Mumbai Street Style)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 321 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 30mg10%
Sodium 666mg29%
Potassium 568mg16%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 1285IU26%
Vitamin C 70.1mg85%
Calcium 129mg13%
Iron 4.4mg24%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Pav Bhaji Recipe is from the Archives. First published in October 2014. Updated and republished in November 2022.

Pav Bhaji Recipe (Mumbai Street Style)

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.

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Recipe Rating




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5 stars
Hi Swasti
I am a regular follower of all your receipes. Today tried Pav Bhaji and it turned out to be very tasty which my family liked it very much. Thanks a lot

5 stars
I’ve followed this recipe several times now. A great way to use up leftover vegetables. So easy to make & so tasty!

5 stars
Another wonderful recipe which went down very well. Thank you

5 stars
I tried this recipe for 9-10 people and its taste was best as well as the proportion mentioned is perfect.

5 stars
Thank

5 stars
Amazing Recipe Swasthi. I tried your recipe a couple of days ago and your home made Pav Bhaji masala is just spot on. The Pav Bhaji turned out very yummy, very close in taste (almost the same) to the Pav Bhaji we get at Juhu Beach stalls in Mumbai. Your website is my goto for most dishes that I prepare. Loads of Gratitude to you for Sharing your expertise with all of us <3

Hi I was just won what size inner pot you use when cooking Dahl & rice at the same time in the instant pot?
I have a 8 litre instant pot
Regards kaz

Hi Swasthi
We tried the pav bhaji a third time and like the previous 2 times it was delicious…. Thank you so much , we have tried a few recipes from your site and all have turned out well… Looking forward to trying more recipes.

5 stars
Amazing recipies

Sorry I meant which pav

Hi Swasthi
We tried this twice and both times it turned out very well, thank you so much
In Singapore ,which pan would go best with this , please help

5 stars
This was an awesome recipe! Used it twice now…I did the stovetop but eliminated the step of boiling at the beginning. I sautéed with all the masala then added all the veggies with 1.5 cups of water and let simmer on medium low heat.

5 stars
Loving all your recipes. Thank you

5 stars
This is outright delicious!!! My partner made this tonight for dinner. Beautiful recipe. Thank you. Will be digging in here for more Indian. Cheers

5 stars
Hi, I am a complete newbie to cooking, started just 2 weeks ago. Just by chance I came across your blog and decided to try a hand in cooking. Initially, being from Maharashtra, and currently based in Iraq since 2 years, yearning for pav bhaji I tried it last Friday and it turned out awesome. Thank you very much for this wonderful recipe!!!
Love you for all your recipes posted here.

Hi, do you have a good kachhi dabeli recipe that you can please share?

5 stars
Nice Recipe. Thanks For Sharing

You can add a small piece of beetroot for the color

I made this today. With pav masala powder Came out very nice
Thank you madam
Hema from New York

instead of cauliflower can we use cabbage

5 stars
Hi Swasthi,

The recipe came out really good.
Thank you for sharing such lovely recipes 😊