Pav Bhaji – Traditional Indian Street Food – पाव भाजी

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Indian Spicy and Flavorful Vegetable Curry – simple traditional Pav Bhaji recipe


I still remember the first time I walked into a small Indian vegetarian restaurant on Caledonian Road in central London. It was a hidden gem, nestled amidst the bustling streets, and little did I know that it would become a cherished part of my culinary journey. It’s been many many years since the place closed down, but the memories of their food linger on.
I used to get my work lunch from the Italian bar next door, but one day, I decided to venture into the world of Indian cuisine and try something new and spicy. The aroma of spices permeated the air, mingling with the fragrant incense sticks that filled the space with an enchanting ambiance. The restaurant owner warmly greeted me, sensing my my confusion as I scanned the menu. I was clueless about the various indian dishes before me. Sensing my culinary adventure, he kindly recommended the Pav Bhaji.

When I opened the container back at the office, the aroma hit me like a wave of deliciousness. The sight of the perfectly spiced and cooked vegetables, accompanied by the enticing aroma, was truly divine. I couldn’t resist dipping a piece of bread into the flavorful vegetable gravy. The blend of flavors was incredible, and even the thinly sliced raw onions, which I dislike, added a delightful crunch. Ever since that day, I became a devoted patron of the restaurant, always craving their irresistible Pav Bhaji.

Over the years, I’ve tried many versions of Pav Bhaji in different places around London, but none quite matched up to the taste and texture of that first experience. Determined to recreate it, I’ve made Pav Bhaji countless times. I discovered that the secret lies in perfectly mashing the vegetables to create a velvety smoothness that allows the flavors to meld together. And spices of course! Lots! 🙂 Enjoy this Pav Bhaji recipe! शुभ भोजन

Savor the flavors of Pav Bhaji, a beloved Indian street food. In this version, vegetables are slightly chunky instead of fully mashed, adding a delightful texture to the dish. It’s still incredibly yummy and will leave you craving more!
A plate of delicious Pav Bhaji, featuring a flavorful medley of spiced vegetables, served alongside buttery bun.
Pav Bhaji at Taste of London

The Taste of London event, known as a culinary extravaganza, gathers food enthusiasts and renowned restaurants from across the city. Some years ago among the plethora of highlights, the showcase by Colony Bar and Grill restaurant stood out. One dish, in particular, stole the spotlight – the flavorful and aromatic Pav Bhaji!

Pav Bhaji in a bun

The soft buttered bun encases a generous serving of tangy and aromatic Pav Bhaji

Preparing authentic Pav Bhaji

Capturing the vibrant culinary experience at the Taste of London event, Colony bar and grill restaurant. A skilled chef effortlessly preparing Pav Bhaji in a traditional tawa.


Pav Bhaji is a popular Indian street food, originated in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, in the 1850s. The term “Pav Bhaji” is a combination of two words. “Pav” refers to the soft, buttered buns that accompany the dish. “Bhaji” means a spicy and flavorful vegetable curry. The dish itself is a medley of mashed vegetables, skillfully cooked with a blend of aromatic spices. It is typically served with a dollop of butter, diced onions, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.


The best Pav Bhaji – Indian vegetable curry – पाव भाजी

Pav Bhaji is a popular Indian street food dish that originated in the state of Maharashtra. It consists of a spicy and flavorful vegetable medley, typically made with mashed mixed vegetables such as potatoes, peas, carrots, and cauliflower, cooked with a blend of spices, herbs, and butter. The dish is served with buttered and toasted buns called "pav," which are used to scoop up the bhaji (vegetable mash).
Servings 4 people
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 3 carrots
  • 4 potatoes
  • 5 cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 medium-sized onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 500 g chopped tomatoes

Spices

  • 1 tsp turmeric - add to cooking water
  • 2 tsp turmeric - add to vegetable mixture
  • 1 tsp chili powder or paste
  • coriander leaves - fresh or dried
  • 2 tsp ginger paste or powder
  • 2 tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala - If you are unable to find it, you can prepare it at home by following the recipe provided below.

Pav Bhaji Masala spices ( add this only if you dont have ready made Pav Bhaji Masala)

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds – ground
  • half tbsp cumin
  • half tbsp fennel seeds
  • half tbsp chili flakes or powder
  • half tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • half tsp black pepper

Other

  • a few tbsp oil
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste

Instructions

  • In a large pot, add the carrots, potatoes, cauliflower florets, green peas, bell pepper. Fill the pot with water and add 1 teaspoon of turmeric. Boil the vegetables until they are soft and cooked.
  • Once the vegetables are cooked, drain the water and mash them using a potato masher or a fork. Ensure that the vegetables are well mashed, but still have some texture.
  • In a small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of turmeric, chili powder or paste, coriander leaves (fresh or dried), ginger paste or powder, and Pav Bhaji Masala. If you don't have ready-made Pav Bhaji Masala, you can prepare it at home ( recipe below)
  • In a separate pan, heat a few tablespoons of oil and add chopped onion and garlic, after 4-5 minutes add spice mixture. Cook the spices for a minute to release their flavors.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and tomato paste to the pan. Cook them until they become soft and mushy, forming a thick tomato base.
  • Combine the vegetable mixture with the spice mixture: Add the mashed vegetable mixture to the pan with the spice and tomato base. Mix everything well to combine the flavors.
  • Add some butter to the pan and mix it into the vegetable mixture. The butter adds richness and enhances the flavors of the dish.
  • Let the Pav Bhaji simmer on low heat for a few minutes. If the mixture is too thick, you can add a little water to adjust the consistency. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Once the Pav Bhaji is heated through and well blended, remove it from the heat. Serve it hot with buttered and toasted pav buns, garnished with chopped onion and fresh coriander leaves, drizzle some lemon juice

Notes

The calorie information provided is an approximate estimate for the pav bhaji dish alone, (without including the calories from buns) with a total of 1800 calories. If serving this dish to 4 people, each person would consume approximately 450 calories. 
Calories: 450kcal
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Vegetarian

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