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.
Ingredients to steam or boil together.
- 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
Ingredients for the gravy
- yellow or red onion - cut finely or food processed
- vine ripened tomatoes or beefsteak tomatoes - finely chopped or food processed
- tomato paste - adds a great tang to the dish
- turmeric powder - can use fresh grated turmeric
- garlic - preferabbly fresh and grated/blended
- ginger - fresh and grated
- 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/boil the vegetables in an Instant Pot or traditional pressure cooker.
Mash the vegetables and set them aside.
In a food processor blend the onions.
Cook the onions until brown.
Chop the tomatoes in the food processor and add them to the pan.
Once the tomatoes have cooked through, add the spices and tomato paste.
Mix well and let it cook for a few minutes while continuing to mix.
Slowly combine the mashed vegetables into the gravy, in the wok.
Mix it well, let it simmer for about 5 minutes, and then add extra pav bhaji masala, butter, and salt after a taste test.
Serve with grilled butter bread.
- Pressure Cooker or Large Pot - to steam/boil the vegetables
- Large Wide Pan/Wok - to make the dish
Carrots- Add eggplant if you prefer more vegetables.
Pav Bhaji Masala- Use garam masala
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
How to make the Pav
- On white bread, spread margarine and then sprinkle with sambar masala (or red chili powder), and cilantro
- Grill them with butter side down on a medium/high heat pan until brown.
- Cook the second side to warm and serve
Storage and Reheating
Freezing- Store the cooled Bombay-style 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
- Finally, the amount of cooked tomato+onion gravy should equal that of the mashed vegetables.
Cook with love! That's all 🙂
The Best Bombay Style Pav Bhaji Recipe
- Pressure Cooker
- Wok/Large Pan with Lid
- Cutting Board and Knife
- Spatula to mix and serve
- Grater or Chutney Machine
- Measuring Cup
Steam and Mash Vegetables
- ½ cup frozen petite peas
- ½ cup chunk chopped, fresh carrots (red or purple will give off a darker end color)
- 2½ cups chunk chopped, russet potatoes
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 2-3 cups water, for steaming/boiling
- 1 medium tomato, chunk chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 ½ cup yellow or red onion, finely diced/food processed (not pureed)
- 2½ 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 for another few minutes. This is a key step
- 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.