Pav bhaji

Pav bhaji (translates literally to fluffy Indian bread with a spicy vegetable concoction) is a very famous street food in India (or Pune/Mumbai to be more precise). Bhaji is a pan-fried vegetable concoction with tomatoes, peppers, cauliflowers, potatoes and of-course a special blend of pav-bhaji masalas which give it that tangy, spicy chaat-like flavor. Pav is an Indian version of a small fluffy bread which is served pan-fried with butter and spices. 

On a typical pav bhaji platter, you get a few butter toasted pavs, a mound of spicy bhaji and a lot of condiments like chopped fresh onions, chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes, lemon wedges and of-course to finish off more butter :) Some people eat the pav-bhaji like they would eat roti and vegetables, mopping up the bhaji with slices of pav while others make a small sandwich for themselves by stuffing the bhaji and condiments in the slits between the paav. Either way anyone who has ever had this dish in India will vouch for the fact that its absolutely finger-lickingly delicious!
Till now I was making pav-bhaji bhaji like I would make any other street-food bhaji except with the addition of pav-bhaji masala. The taste was good, but never quite the right. While I was planning to make pav-bhaji for friends yesterday, I decided to Google the recipe first and came across Nupur's Pav-bhaji post. Just the sheer number of testimonials attached to that recipe convinced me that THIS was the one! I made a big batch for a few friends who were coming over last night; the bhaji was awesome! I was secretly hoping for some left-overs for today's duet brunch but alas the pot was wiped clean in the first half an hour :(

Recipe: Pav-bhaji serves 4
18 small ladli pav (available at Indian stores or regular white bread will be a good substitute too)
1 red bell pepper
2 large cloves of garlic
1/2in piece of ginger
4 tomatoes
3.5C small chopped cauliflower florets
2 large boiling potatoes
1C water

1/4tsp turmeric powder
1/2tsp red chili powder
1Tbsp paav bhaji masala (available at Indian stores - Everest or MDH brand spice blends are both good)
1.5tsp paprika (for the deep red color)
1Tbsp vegetable oil
1Tbsp butter

1 very finely chopped onion
1/2C chopped cilantro
few lemons - cut into quarters

  1. Roughly chop potatoes into medium sized pieces. Boil the cauliflower and potato pieces until knife tender (10-15mins). Remove from boiling water, set aside.
  2. Meanwhile roughly chop the tomatoes and make a fine puree.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan. Finely chop the red bell pepper and saute over medium heat.
  4. Make a fine paste from the ginger and garlic and add the ginger-garlic paste to the pan. Saute for a few more minutes until the raw garlic smell is gone.
  5. Add turmeric and chili powder, saute for a minute more.
  6. Add boiled cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, paav-bhaji masala and water. Mix well.
  7. Continue to cook partially covered for 30minutes, stirring regularly and using a potato masher to blend the bhaji to a fine consistency.
  8. Remove from heat. Add butter, mix well.
  9. Serve with freshly chopped cilantro, fresh lemon juice and finely chopped onions.
Pav: Cut each pav into halves. Melt butter in a large gridle over medium high heat. Slightly toast the bread halves until crusty. Serve with hot bhaji with some extra lemon wedges, chopped cilantro and chopped onions.


indosungod said…
Pav Bhaji any time PJ.
I agree with u , this is delicious and i aint surprised it went so well!!
Hah i love what u do with the pav, aint it simply the best!!

Have a wonderfully delicious day PJ!!
This dish looks very appetizing...I 'll try prepare for my kids . But I bet they'll love it.
Pav bhaji is my most loved street food after fuchka. love its tongue tickling hot and sour taste. you made it just like the store bought ones. lovely
Umm Mymoonah said…
Very tempting and yummy dish
PJ said…
Indo, absolutely, for me too :)

Mia, thanks, there is no comparing bomaby pav-bhaji, is there!

Jay, they will definitely love it.. this sure is a crowd favorite!

Sayantani, see, now you remind me of fuchka too ;)

Umm, thanks! so glad you liked it.
Suji said…
Our fav fav street food PJ..Looks so good..

Kairali sisters
Its 11pm at night here and just glancing at the pic made be so so hungry not joking. And this is after having a full fledged meal:)
The only thing i don have from that list is the pav bhaji masala which i shall pick up on my next visit 2 the indian food store...
RV said…
Slurrpp.. It looks very inviting dear... Nice recipe.
Preeti Kashyap said…
Simplicity at its best! Looks yummy!
Nithu said…
It looks so tempting and delicious.
PJ said…
Kairali sisters, thanks, its one of my fav foods too :)

An Open Book, see, now you have got to make some pav-bhaji soon ;)

RV, thanks

Preeti, thanks.

Nithu, thanks. its one of my fav street snacks.
Have seen various method of preparing pav bhaji over the net but yours sounds simple and tasty, lovely pic too...
Sushma Mallya said…
I love this one too,and pics are very tempting pj..
Kanchan said…
Am back :)

Lovely garden post and my favorite pav bhaji.. tats cool :)

Pav bhaji is most reliable recipe from my end, i follow the one behind the Pav bhaji masala pack :)
Priya Suresh said…
My all time favourite street food, i can have them almost everyday...beautiful and droolworthy dish..
Hamaree Rasoi said…
Looks terrific and tempting clicks....
Hamaree Rasoi
Nupur said…
I'm so glad the recipe worked for you, PJ!
PJ said…
Treat and trick, this is a simple and delicious way of preparing it. you should try it sometimes.

Sushma, thanks! So glad you liked it.

Kanchan, welcome back! see, i made a nice pav-bhaji for you as a welcome back present ;)

Priya, thanks, yes it is my all-time fav street food too.

Deepa, thanks! So glad you liked it.

Nupur, thanks for the recipe and next time you see your aunt M do give her a hug from my side too :)
~ Lopa said…
Pav Bhaji, an all time Indian favorite, and also helps to make someone (who doesn't like lots of veggies) eat veggies ;)
Unknown said…
I love pav bhaji, especially the bhaji :)....I also like misal pav, the spicier the better :)
Panchpakwan said…
All time fav...looks so delicious.
Wish I could have it right now from your plate;-)
PJ said…
Lopa, that is true! pav-bhaji is one tasty way to sneak the bhajis in.

Roopa, ooohh, now you remind me of misal paav.. so yummy and tasty! got to try it soon.

Panchpakwan, thanks! lets assume i virtually transported the plate to you :)
PranisKitchen said…
evertime favorite snack.. nicely presented.. looks so delicious
Sanjeeta kk said…
All time favorite. Good presentation.
Pari Vasisht said…
An all time favorite and this one prepartion I surely love to boast that I make it really good.;-)
I am glad ur attempt turned out fruitful dear.Looks very tempting and the paprika has given it a nice colour surely.Hugs.
Joanne said…
You know it was a hit when there is not a single leftover! (Although that's also kind of sad in itself.) It looks like a fantastic meal!
Sarah Naveen said…
Beautiful pic..looks awesome...
PJ said…
PranisKitchen, thanks! yes it is my fav snack too.

Sanjeeta, thanks!

Pari, now you have to tell me your recipe of pav-bhaji! i cant wait to try that the next time i crave pb.

Joanne, yes, that no leftovers is a two-edged sword ;)

Sarah, thanks, and welcome back!
Ushnish Ghosh said…
Dear PJ
I feel good reading your comment at my place. I have never read, in such great details, "the making of pav bhaji" ha han very nicely presented. I havent eaten it for ages...Tomorrow I am going to Haldiram to have it.
Let me see what all the recipies I have missed so far.
Have a nice day
Lori said…
I am so interested in this dish. You sure have captured deliciousness here.
sangeeta said…
i missed many of your posts in my absence and all of them seem to be better than the other....pav bhaji is a fave....i usually bake fresh paav whenever i make it..