top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureheutemalindisch

Mumbai Pav Bhaji - A spicy Indian vegetable curry with fluffy soft white bread




Pav Bhaji is a spicy vegetable puree served hot with a dab of butter, diced red onion, coriander and a squeeze of lime. Accompanied by warm, buttery, pan-fried buns, this visually appealing dish is sure to fill your belly and your heart!


Pav Bhaji is a combination of pav (bun) and bhaji (curried vegetable). Mumbai Pav Bhaji, the king of Indian street food, is an extremely delicious meal that will whisk you away to gastronomic bliss.


The best part, and what I particularly like about making Mumbai Pav Bhaji, is that you don't have to be very precise in the initial preparation and vegetable chopping. First, cook the roughly chopped vegetables together in the ginger-garlic-onion-tomato base. Next, lightly mash the cooked vegetables to bring out the distinct slightly hot and spicy flavors. The finished dish is incredibly delicious and presentable, you'll be surprised at how little effort you need to put into preparing this street food!


Pav Bhaji is a great combination of nutritious mixed vegetables in a delicious tomato base and one of the best ways to get your kids to eat their vegetables..


Ingredients for Mumbai Pav Bhaji

To prepare this popular Indian street food, all you need are a few everyday ingredients:


Vegetables - To prepare bhaji, you need vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, potatoes, green and red peppers, carrots and green peas.

Apart from these, you will need a chopped onion, green chilies and tomatoes. You can adjust the number of chilies according to your taste. You can experiment and add more vegetables. This bhaji is a great way to use up all the leftover vegetables in your fridge.


Ginger paste and garlic paste - Ginger paste and garlic paste adds a nice flavour to this recipe. You can either use fresh paste or the canned kind. I recommend you to use homemade paste as it adds more flavor to the dish.


Pav Bhaji Masala & Red Kashmiri Chilli Powder - A spicy masala mix and Kashmiri chilli powder are added to this onion and tomato masala. You can either use homemade Pav Bhaji Masala or buy it.


I have described below how to prepare Pav Bhaji Masala at home. You can prepare it fresh and store it in an airtight container for later use.


Butter - For the best taste, use butter. You can also use vegetable oil, olive oil or even ghee (clarified butter).


Lime and coriander leaves - Finally, you need lime juice and fresh coriander to give the bhaji a fresh kick and spicy flavor.


What is Pav Bhaji Masala ?

Pav Bhaji gets its distinctively delicious taste from a special spice blend called Pav Bhaji Masala. There are several brands available in Indian grocery shops, and I like to buy MDH Pav Bhaji Masala or Badshah Pav Bhaji Masala.


If you don't happen to stop by your local Indian grocery store, here's my quick recipe to make your own homemade Pav Bhaji Masala:

  • 4 tbsp coriander seeds

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds

  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds

  • 6 red Kashmiri chilies, less if using a hotter variety

  • 5 cm cinnamon stick

  • 6 cloves

  • 4 green cardamoms

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns

  • 2 tsp Aamchur (dry raw mango powder)


Dry roast all the above spices in a pan over medium heat. Then remove the pan from the heat and allow the spices to cool. Put the roasted spices in a spice grinder along with 2 teaspoons of Amchur (dry raw mango powder) and grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container.


Here are some more alternative ingredients for Pav Bhaji Masala - Add 1 to 2 tsp of homemade Garam Masala, 1 tbsp of ground coriander, 1 tsp of red Kashmiri chilli powder and 1 to 2 tsp of Amchur (dry mango powder).


Which type of bread goes best with this spicy bhaji?

Serve your Pav Bhaji with unsweetened or very slightly sweet bread. Here are some of my favourite options:

  • Potato bun

  • Brioche bun

  • Burger bun


Serving suggestions

The best way to serve piping hot Pav Bhaji is with warm buttery buns or burger buns.


Garnish the dish with diced onion, coriander and a squeeze of lime to enhance the flavour. I like to serve it with a side of spicy Aam ka achar (mango pickle) or Nimbu ka achar (lime pickle) and toasted papad.


Storage suggestions

  • Bhaji will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator if kept in an airtight container. Reheat in a pan or microwave before serving.

  • Bhaji freezes well like any other curry. Portion it into a freezer-proof container and freeze for 3-4 months.

  • After freezing, defrost for 2-3 hours and then reheat hot in the microwave. You can also add a fresh tadka (tempering) to make it taste absolutely fresh.


I have yet to come across a single Indian who doesn't like Pav Bhaji. Mumbai Pav Bhaji is very popular all over the country as one of the most popular and tasty street foods.


Ingredients for 4 bis 6 Portions

  • 2 to 4 tbsp salted butter plus another 4 tbsp (both at room temperature)

  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced

  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced

  • ½ green pepper, seeded and diced (approx. 2.5cm cubes)

  • ½ red pepper, seeded and diced (optional)

  • 5 cups cauliflower florets (approx. 2.5cm florets)

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes

  • 3 egg tomatoes, seeded and diced

  • ½ cup frozen green peas

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 cup water

  • 3 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala

  • ½ tbsp red Kashmiri chilli powder

  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder

  • ½ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped

  • 12 potato or burger buns

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Instructions

Prepare in an electric pressure cooker such as Instant Pot.

Press the high sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the diced onion, ginger, garlic and peppers and fry for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Add the cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, peas and 2 tsp salt. Pour in the water and stir well with a wooden spoon, loosening any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.


Attach the lid and set the pressure release to Sealing setting. Then press the Cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time to 6 minutes at high pressure.

Perform a quick release by setting the pressure release to Vent. Open the pot. Select the normal sauté setting and mash all the vegetables with a potato masher. The consistency should be between mashed potato and pasta sauce.

Stir in tomato paste, Pav Bhaji Masala, red chili powder and turmeric, followed by 2 tbsp butter (optional but I highly recommend it).

Cover the pot with a glass lid (or other non-locking lid that fits), as the bhaji will start to splatter, and cook for about 5 minutes until the bhaji is heated. Taste the spices and adjust with salt, Pav Bhaji Masala and chili powder if needed.

Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander leaves..

Just before serving, use the remaining 4 tbsp butter to spread 1 tsp of room-warm butter on the cut surface and the top and bottom of each bun.

Heat a griddle or heavy frying pan over high heat. Place the buns on it and toast each side for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown.

Divide the bhaji between plates, sprinkle with the red onion and serve with the toasted buns and lime wedges.


Preparation in the pot

Cook the cauliflower, potatoes along with the frozen peas in a large saucepan with about 300ml of water, a good pinch of salt, covered, on a medium heat until the vegetables are quite soft. In a pressure cooker this takes about 15 minutes, otherwise about 30 minutes.


After cooking, roughly mash the vegetables with a potato masher. If necessary, skim off a little water beforehand and add it back later so that the mash does not become too liquid. The consistency should be between mashed potato and pasta sauce. Then set the mashed vegetables aside.


Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. As soon as it foams, add the diced onion, ginger, garlic and peppers and fry everything for about 5 minutes until the onion becomes translucent.


Add tomatoes, tomato paste, Pav Bhaji Masala, red chili powder and turmeric, followed by 2 tbsp butter (optional but highly recommended) and continue cooking everything for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to soften.


Add the cooked and pureed vegetables to the pan and mix well.


Cover the pan with a glass lid (or other non-locking lid that fits) as the bhaji will start to splatter and cook for about 5 minutes until the bhaji is heated.

Taste the spices and adjust with salt, Pav Bhaji Masala and chilli powder if needed. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander.


Just before serving, use the remaining 4 tbsp butter to spread 1 tsp of room-warm butter on the cut surface, top and bottom of each bun.


Heat a griddle or heavy frying pan over high heat. Place the buns on it and toast each side for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown.


Divide the bhaji between plates, sprinkle with the red onion and serve with the toasted buns and lime wedges.



Tips

  • Use any vegetables you have in your fridge. Usually hardy vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, carrots and beetroot are a great addition.

  • To save time, you can use frozen cauliflower.

  • To prepare vegan pav bhaji, replace the butter with neutral vegetable oil or vegan butter.

  • For spicier bhaji, add more Pav Bhaji Masala or red Kashmiri chili powder.

  • Alternatively, do not puree peas, but stir them in at the end for "visual highlights".





I look forward to hearing from you...

...if you like my blog, my recipes inspire you and your curiosity for Indian cuisine has been piqued.


Feel free to give me feedback if you would like to share your cooking accomplishments or have a suggestion for improvement. I appreciate any kind feedback. Whether via the comment function, email, Facebook or Instagram (best tagged with #heutemalindisch and @heutemalindisch, then your cooking success can also inspire others).

0 comments

Comments


bottom of page