Pav bhaji is a popular street food in Mumbai. Almost every corner restaurant serves this dish. Is was originally prepared as a quick and easy meal for mill workers in Mumbai. It is very easy to prepare and has a variety of different vegetables. These veggies are mashed and blended with different spices so you will not really know what vegetable you are eating. Reduce the quantity of spices and you have an interesting way to get veggies in the mouths of picky little eaters.
Pav bhaji tastes best with Mumbai laadi pav. I like to make my own. You can find a recipe for laadi pav here. The most authentic bhaji is served with a lot of butter. The bread rolls are slathered with butter and warmed on a skillet. Each bite tastes rich with butter. If you are vegan, you can use oil or vegan butter instead of regular butter.
To save time, I like to use Everest pav bhaji masala. It can be found in most Asian stores. I have never made an attempt to make my own masala. If Everest is not available, Badshah is another popular brand.
Don’t forget the lemon. It adds a certain amount of tanginess to the recipe. I like to serve pav bhaji with some chopped onions for a little bit of crunch, some cilantro and a lemon wedge.
There are several variations of pav bhaaji such as cheese pav bhaaji, jain pav bhaaji (made without onions or garlic), khada pav bhaaji, etc. However, I prefer the original. In my recipe video, I forgot to pressure cook the green pepper and had to then sauté it with onions. You can just cook the green pepper with other vegetables instead of sautéing with onions.
Mumbai Style Pav Bhaji
About 2.5 cups of vegetables (The following are preferable)
- 1-2 potatoes medium sized (peeled and quartered)
- 3-4 florets cauliflower
- 1 carrot small (peeled and cut into large pieces)
- 1/2 green pepper
- 1/4 cup green peas
- 2-3 tsp oil
- 2 tomatoes pureed
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1 tsp garlic grated
- 1 tsp cumin & coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp pav bhaji masala I prefer Everest brand
- 2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- 2-3 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cilantro chopped
- 1 tsp butter
- Steam or pressure cook all the vegetables
- In a pan, heat some oil. Saute onions, garlic and ginger in it until they turn golden brown.
- Add the pureed tomatoes, garam masala, cumin & coriander powder, pav bhaji masala and Kashmiri red chili powder.
- Saute until oil separates from the mix. Add salt to taste.
- Add the cooked vegetables and mash well.
- Add some water and more pav bhaji masala if needed.
- Squeeze a little lemon juice and let simmer for a few minutes.
- Add desired amount of butter and garnish with cilantro.
- Serve warm with Mumbai laadi pav, onions, cilantro and lemon wedges.
- Slather laadi pav with butter and warm them on a skillet before serving.