Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pav Bhaji

There was a time when I wasn't at all into cooking. I mean I did manage to make the daily fare, but anything that involved elaborate cooking steps was something I completely stayed away from. We would eat out very often, but then, there is no substitute to home cooked food, is there? Luckily, some of my friends were excellent cooks, but rather than be inspired by them to cook, I was shameless enough to ask them to cook whatever I fancied.

When we moved cities and those friends were miles away, I realised that either I had to make do with restaurant food or well, start cooking myself. So one such day, when I was really craving a friend's pav bhaji, I called her for the recipe and she pointed me to Nupur's blog. Not only did I discover great pav bhaji, but through her blog, I stumbled into the wonderful world of food blogs.
Somehow, the food blogs ignited the passion for cooking in me, and there was no looking fact, here I am writing my own blog!!

Pav Bhaji

Translated, it sounds as mundane as bread and vegetables. But anyone who has eaten it would aver that Pav Bhaji is anything but mundane. The (arguably) most popular of street foods today has had very humble beginnings. This melange of vegetables actually started off as a quick fix lunch for textile mill workers in Mumbai who had a very short lunch break and therefore (leftover) vegetables, dressed up in some spices and wrapped in some bread seemed to fit the bill of a filling yet nutritious lunch.

Slowly, it made its way to people's hearts and the phenomenon called "pav bhaji" was born.


(adapted from Nupur's Pav Bhaji recipe , this makes enough for about 4-6 people)

Ginger and garlic paste - 1 tsp each
Green bell pepper - 1, julienned
Tomato - 5-6 (or enough to make about 2 cups of puree)
Tomato paste - 2 tbsps
Potato - 2
Cauliflower - about 10 -12 large florets
Carrot - 1
Green peas - 1/2 cup

Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pav bhaji masala - 2 - 4 tsps
Red chilli powder - 1.5 tsp (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
Cumin powder, coriander powder, chaat masala - 1/2 tsp each
Oil - 1.5 tbsp
Butter - 50 gms (gasp)
salt - to taste
sugar - 2 tsps

for garnishing

onion - 1, finely chopped
corainder leaves - 2 tbsps, finely chopped
lemon wedges



Puree the tomatoes in the mixie, add some salt, 1 tsp sugar and red chilli powder and bring to a boil. Simmer for a further 5 mins.
Boil and mash the potatoes.
Steam the cauliflower and the carrots and pulse in the mixie to get a chunky puree. Alternatively, mash them by hand.
Thaw the peas (if using frozen), boil them if using fresh ones. I normally add a bit of sugar while cooking peas, makes them really sweet.

Once you are done with the pre-preparation, making the pav bhaji is really really simple!

making the pav bhaji:

Heat oil, and fry the ginger garlic paste till fragrant. Next, add the bell pepper and stir fry for 2 mins.
Add the tomato puree and the tomato paste and cook till it no longer tastes raw. Now, add all the dry masalas, salt and sugar and and let cook for about a minute.

Time to add all the mashed vegetables and give those arms a good workout - stir the mixture till you get a homogenous mess of absolute aromatic delight!
Add water depending on how thin you want the bhaji to be. Taste and adjust the masalas as per your taste and spice tolerance level.

Add the lemon juice, some chopped coriander leaves and half the butter and cook the bhaji for a further 10 -15 mins.

I normally rest my bhaji for about half an hour, before re-heating it and serving piping hot - resting the bhaji allows the flavours to really integrate themselves into the bhaji.

Garnish the bhaji with the chopped onions and coriander and serve with pav ( haven't been able to source these in Singapore) and so I use burger buns. Slice the buns into two, apply some butter and light toast them on a flat pan.

Don't talk. Eat.

Sending this to:

FIC: Orange hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen, an event started by - well someone whose very name spells orange - Sunshinemom

JFI: Cauliflower hosted by Mythreyee of Paajaka Recipes, the branchild of Indira of Mahanandi.


  1. Nothing like pav bhaji to make you feel warm and fuzzy all over.

    Looks lovely.

  2. My fav dish...feel like having rite now!!

  3. we stayed in gujarat for more than 20 years, this has been my fav since then..

  4. This looks fabulous, I look for various ways to use Marsala, and I am so happy to learn more dishes via your site here.... gosh this looks so YUM

  5. Oh, don't tempt me now girl! i have been cooking so much these days, I am drooling at this and VERY to get up and make some! Looks delicious, perfect chaat! :)

  6. Oh My..the one i adore..Pav Bhaji..makes me drool..pass the plate yaar.

  7. Pav bhaaji is an all time favorite ... beautiful color there

  8. That looks so yum...remeinds me of Mumbai street food....

  9. pav bhaji is something we get excited about when I make for dinner. your pav bhaji is very tempting...

  10. Pav bhaji looks delightful, wish I could dig into it right now :-)

  11. This is my all time favourite.. Looks delicious and Inviting!

  12. pav all time favourite..nothing can beat this one..

  13. We love this and it has been our dinner on many days.:0
    Never knew about its origins, though.
    Thanks for sending it in to FIC Orange.

  14. When I was in Pune University for a few months , all I ate was pav bhaji & still didn't get tired of it. My 7 year old begs me to make pav bhaji every now & then..

    Its not mundane at all!

  15. Translated, it sounds as mundane as bread and vegetables. But anyone who has eaten it would aver that Pav Bhaji is anything but mundane.

    very well said! i totally agree with u.

  16. my kids and my favourite. feel like having now...

  17. great recipe n yes even I remember asking(read demanding) my friends to cook tins for me...mostly chocolate cake..infact my economics teacher used to make narkel nadu(coconut laddus) n homemade sponge cake for me...n till date i hve not felt ashamed about duckback ..aint I? ;p

  18. Aah an all time classic when it comes to street food :) Yours looks delish!

  19. Very tempting ur pav Bhaji, beautiful!

  20. It's odd that we don't have this in Malaysia. I find it fascinating that Indian food from India is so different from the food Malaysian Indians cook. Pav Bhaji sounds gorgeous.

  21. that colour is truly lovely.

  22. I have never had this but it looks good!

  23. I don't like Pav Bhaji much. But next week my cousin is coming home from hostel. I am planning to make this for him and surprise.


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