How to make Mom's Bombay Style Pav Bhaji Masala Recipe!
This is Indian Street Food done right! Grilled butter bread paired with delicious Pav Bhaji Masala is how you can warm the soul of a true desi. Am I right or am I right?
Why is this the best? The flavors, texture, and amount of cilantro... It all just comes together beautifully.
I highly recommend going with the exact measurements for the best results.
- frozen petite peas - petite variation seems to work best for pav bhaji
- carrots - can use baby carrots or large carrots. Purple or red carrots add a beautiful end color to the dish without distracting the flavors.
- russet potatoes - can substitute with white potatoes.
- cauliflower florets
- yellow or red onion
- vine ripened tomatoes or beefsteak tomatoes
- tomato paste - adds a great tang to the dish
- turmeric powder - can use fresh grated turmeric
- garlic - preferabbly fresh and grated/blended
- ginger - fresh
- Bombay Bhaji Pav Masala - I love Badshah or Everest Brands
- butter - try it with Amul Butter for an authentic flavor
- cilantro - stems and leaves are preferred
- red chili powder
- lemon/lime wedge
- oil, water, salt
Details and quantities can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make Pav Bhaji
- Steam and Mash the vegetables
- Cook the onions until brown and then add the tomatoes and spices.
- Once cooked, try to mash the tomatoes with the back of a spatula and then add water + tomato paste.
- Mix well and add in the mashed vegetables, extra pav bhaji masala, butter, and then simmer for a few minutes.
- Serve with grilled butter bread.
- Pressure Cooker or Large Pot - to steam/boil the vegetables
- Large Wide Pan/Wok - to make the dish
Pair it with...
- A side salad - Combine chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, salt, red chili powder, and lemon juice together.
- Bread - warm and butter grilled hot dog or burger buns
Storage and Reheating
Freezing- Store the cooled pav bhaji in pre-labeled Ziplock bags and lay them flat in the freezer until they are solid ice. After it is frozen, you can place it anywhere in the freezer for better storage.
Defrosting- Take it out of the freezer and either let it sit at room temperature for about 8 hours or in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Reheating on Stove Top - Place a pan on the stove and heat equal parts oil and unsalted butter. Let it melt. Add the defrosted bhaji to the pan and slowly mix in some water to reach the consistency you prefer.
- Add shredded paneer to make Paneer Cheese Pav Bhaji Masala
- It freezes really well!
- Beefsteak or vine ripened tomatoes taste best
- Purple or red carrots give the bhaji a beautiful color
Cook with love! That's all 🙂
The Best Pav Bhaji Recipe
Steam and Mash Vegetables
- ½ cup frozen petite peas
- 1 cup chunk chopped, fresh carrots (red or purple will give off a darker end color)
- 2 cups chunk chopped, russet potatoes
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 2-3 cups water, for steaming/boiling
- 1 cup yellow or red onion, finely diced/food processed (not pureed)
- 1.5 cup tomatoes, finely diced (use beefsteak or vine ripened)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste mixed with 2 tablespoon of water
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1.5 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 2 teaspoon pav bhaji masala (badshah brand bombay bhaji pav is my favorite)
- ½ stick salted butter
- 1 cup finely chopped cilantro + more for garnishment
- red chili powder
- very generous amount of peanut oil (corn oil can be a substitute)
- salted butter as garnishment/topping
- fresh chopped green garlic-optional
STEAM AND MASH VEGETABLES
- Place all of the vegetables in the "steam and mash vegetable" category in an Instant Pot. Close the lid, set the vent to sealing, and set it to 5 minutes high pressure.
- Let the Instant Pot cool down completely before opening.
- Mash the vegetables with a masher VERY slightly (do not puree).
- NOTE: Feel free to use a traditional pressure cooker or a pot with water instead of an Instant Pot.
SPICED MASALA GRAVY
- Heat a generous amount of oil in a pan on medium-high heat. (⅓ cup)
- Add the finely diced onions and cook until golden brown.
- Add the tomatoes and mix well. Cook for a minute or two.
- Add ginger, garlic, turmeric, red chili powder, and ½ of the pav bhaji masala.
- Mix well and lower the head to medium.
- Add the tomato paste + water mixture and combine well.
- Cook until the water from the tomatoes has completely evaporated (about 1-2 minutes)
- Mix in the mashed vegetables, add extra water (if preferred) until it reaches a consistency you prefer and then let it come to a simmer.
- Add ½ stick of salted butter and continue to let the bhaji simmer on low heat with a lid for another few minutes.
- Add the remainder of the pav bhaji masala and all of the cilantro.
- Taste test and add salt accordingly.
- Mix and plate it with a tablespoon cut/chunk of salted butter, more fresh cilantro, and optional fresh green garlic.
- Serve it with warm butter grilled bread + onion and tomato salad.
- Add salt at the very end since ingredients for pav bhaji masala, salted butter, and tomato paste can already have it as an ingredient.
- Try not to puree the vegetable mix. Slightly mashing it works best.
- Using a generous amount of oil will get you a real Indian street food taste.
- Amul Butter can be added for a more Bombay authentic taste.
- Add shredded paneer to the top of the pav bhaji for paneer pav bhaji
As told by my Dad, it originated like a "clean the fridge" meal. Instead, there were no refrigerators back in the day, so households would use up all the vegetables that were going to go bad and make pav bhaji.
Yes, by a long shot! Regardless of dietary restrictions, this is one recipe that can be consumed by gluten-free diets, keto believers, vegans, and just those who are wanting to include more vegetables in their lives
My biggest tip is to use freezer-friendly bags or containers. Fill them up, once the food has completely cooled down. Close them shut and lay them flat in the freezer.