Pav bhaji with homemade pav bhaji masala powder step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
What is pav bhaji
Pav bhaji is a famous Indian street food that originates from Maharashtra and is popular all over India. It consists of two components - pav which is the bread and bhaji which is a thick, buttery vegetable curry. What sets this dish apart from any regular vegetable dish is the spice mix used in the dish - an aromatic spice blend called pav bhaji masala.
The main vegetables used to prepare bhaji are potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, peas, capsicum, onions, and tomatoes.
What is ladi pav
Ladi pav or pav bread is light and fluffy dinner rolls that are made with plain flour. Pav means bread and ladi in this case means 3-4 pav bread arranged together in a row.
I have shared two versions of ladi pav - one made with instant yeast (recipe here) and the other made with a sourdough starter (recipe here). I have written about how my sourdough journey began and all my sourdough baking (read more here). Obviously, I prefer and always make the sourdough version of ladi pav.
Ingredients to make bhaji
Potatoes: Potatoes is the main ingredient in the bhaji. I prefer to use potatoes in moderation and substitute with cauliflower to reduce the carb content and incorporate the goodness of cauliflower in the dish.
Other vegetables: I use cauliflower, carrots, beans, peas, and capsicum.
Pav bhaji masala powder: I use homemade pav bhaji masala powder but you may choose to use store-bought ones.
Butter: This is a key ingredient in making the best tasting bhaji. It does not taste as good when made with oil. If you are following a vegan diet you can replace the butter with an oil of your choice.
Onion: I use onion to make the bhaji masala base.
Tomatoes: I use tomatoes in two forms – fresh and tomato puree. Tomato puree is not essential, but helps in adding a red colour to the dish
Pav: Pav is nothing but dinner rolls. I use homemade sourdough pav.
Onions, coriander leaves and lemon/lime: These are all garnish but are essential to lift up the taste of the dish. Do not skip them if you are after the authentic street style taste.
Homemade pav bhaji masala powder
I have earlier shared my recipe for making the pav bhaji masala powder or spice blend at home. It is really simple to put together and the best part of this spice blend is that you won’t need any additional spices to make the bhaji.
I use a mix of both whole and powdered spices to make it. The whole spices I use are coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dried chilli, black cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and fennel seeds. The powdered spices I use are amchur (dried mango powder), garlic powder, nutmeg powder, and black salt.
While pav bhaji masala powder is easily available in Indian stores, it does not match the taste of freshly ground masala powder. And let us not forget the unique taste it adds to the dish because you can tweak it as per your taste buds.
Tips and tricks to make the best pav bhaji
- Don't shy away from using butter while making bhaji
- If you are following a vegan diet, you may replace butter with an oil of your choice but sadly, this dish won't taste as good
- Use a homemade spice blend. Consider this as the game-changer
- Toast the bread with some masala powder to add that extra flavour
- Serve with chopped onions, coriander leaves, and lime/lemon wedges
Pro-tip: Using tomato puree (or passata) to make the bhaji gives a deep red colour to this dish.
Always serve the bhaji with toasted pav. To toast the pav, cut it into two halves. Heat some butter on a pan, sprinkle a little pav bhaji masala powder, place the pav and toast it until golden.
Like I mentioned, this dish tastes best when served with finely chopped onions, capsicum, and a good squeeze of lemon. Don't forget to add a dollop of butter on top of the bhaji.
Vegetarian sloppy joe
A sloppy joe is a sandwich with a filling made of minced meat, onions, sauces, and seasoning, and served in a burger bun. Also known as slush burger, this American dish is made with either beef or pork mince. This dish can be served as a vegetarian alternative to the classic sloppy joe. Just add the bhaji on toasted pav, top with onion rings, coriander leaves, and lemon juice, and serve. This is an absolute favourite of my kids.
Pav bhaji burger/slider
To make the burger, mix the bhaji with 1 tbsp besan (gram flour/chickpea flour) and shape them into burger patties. Heat some butter on a tava/griddle and shallow fry these patties. Assemble them like any regular burger and enjoy!
- Enjoy street food at home without worrying about hygiene, additives, etc.
- This is one of the best ways to add vegetables to your meals
- Give this classic dish a twist by making sloppy joe
- Or try making a burger/slider
- The bhaji is freezer-friendly. Make a large batch, portion and freeze the bhaji. It can be frozen for up to three months
Pav bhaji recipe video
Pav bhaji step-by-step recipe with photos
1. Take potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, peas, beans, and capsicum in a large pot. Add little water and bring it to boil
2. Cover and cook until all the vegetables are completely done
3. Mash the boiled vegetables well
4. Heat butter and fry onions
5. Add tomatoes, tomato puree, masala powder, and salt
6. Let it cook until the tomatoes are completely done
7. Add the mashed vegetables to the masala gravy. Mix well
8. Add little water to adjust consistency. Simmer for 15 minutes
9. Top with 1 tbsp butter and mix well
10. Toast the pav in butter and some masala powder
Watch pav bhaji web story here.