Mumbai Pav Bhaji

This is a scrumptious street food famous all over Mumbai. It is purely vegetarian and has a gooey tomato-potato base. Feel free to add more and any variety of veggies if you’d like to the recipe to make it your own. Also, you can cut on the amount of butter used. We Indians love our butter.


For the ‘Bhaji’ or veggie curry
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. cumin seeds (jeera)
3/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green, yellow and red peppers
1 1/2 cups finely chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 tbs garam masala powder (found at Indian grocery stores)

1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup boiled and lightly mashed green peas
1 1/2 cups boiled, peeled and mashed potatoes
2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro

Salt to taste

For the chili-garlic paste

5 to 6 whole dry red chilies, deseeded
8 to 10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 

For bread
8 dinner rolls
8 tsp butter for cooking

1 cup finely chopped onions
4 lemon wedges
4 tsp. butter
4 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Now the fun begins!

For the chili-garlic paste
Soak the red chilies in enough warm water for at least an hour.

Drain the chilies, add the garlic and blend in a mixer till smooth, adding little water. Keep aside.

For the ‘Bhaji’ or veggie curry

  • Heat the butter and oil in a large pan and add the cumin seeds.
  • When the seeds crackle, add the chili-garlic paste and sauté on a medium flame for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
  • Add the sweet peppers and sauté for 1 more minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, mash well using a potato masher.
  • Add the salt, pav, garam masala powder, chili powder and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the green peas, potatoes, mix well and cook along with 1/3 cup of water for 1 to 2 minutes, while mashing it with the help of a masher.
  • Add the cilantro, mix well and cook for 1 minute.

For the pav/dinner bread roll

  • Slit 2 pavs/bread vertically and keep aside.
  • Heat a large tava/pan, add 2 tsp of butter and slit open the pavs and place on it.
  • Cook on a medium flame till they turn light brown and crisp on both the sides. (add more butter if required).

How to serve

  1. Place ¼th of hot bhaji, 2 pavs, ¼ cup of onions, a lemon wedge on a plate.
  2. Top the bhaji with 1 tsp of butter and serve immediately garnished with 1 tsp of coriander.
  3. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 3 more plates.

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