Main Course

Mumbai’s Special Pav Bhaji

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Pav bhaji is a Maharashtrian fast food dish that originated in Mumbai cuisine. Pav bhaji is a spicy preparation with a mixture of vegetables, either whole or mashed, a generous dose of fresh tomatoes, a dollop of butter, consumed with warm bread or slightly toasted in butter – an all-time, anytime favourite with Mumbaikars. It is native to Mumbai and has now become popular in most metropolitan areas in India. Pav means bread and bhaji means vegetable dish in Marathi.

The origin of this dish is traced to textile mill workers in Mumbai. The mill workers used to have lunch breaks too short for a full meal, and a light lunch was preferred to a heavy one, as the employees had to return to strenuous physical labor after lunch. A vendor created this dish using items or parts of other dishes available on the menu. Roti or rice was replaced with pav and the curries that usually go with Indian bread or rice were amalgamated into just one spicy concoction, the ‘bhaji’. Initially, it remained the food of the mill-workers but with time the dish found its way into restaurants.

Serves 4
1 large carrot, cubed
2 potatoes, cubed
1 capsicum, chopped
1 cup cauliflower florets, chopped,
8-10 french beans, chopped,
1/4 cup green peas,
2 onions, finely chopped,
2 tomatoes, finely chopped,
2 green chillis, slit length wise,
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste,
1 tsp turmeric powder,
2 tsp red chilli powder, (more if you like it spicy)
2 tbsps Everest Pav Bhaji Masala,
1 tbsp lemon juice,
2-3 tbsp salted butter,
Salt to taste,
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish,
10-12 pav bread, lightly toasted in butter,


  1. Pressure cook potatoes, cauliflower, peas, beans and carrot along with 1 cup of water, till soft. Drain any left over water and keep aside. Mash all the cooked vegetables using a masher.
  2. Heat butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the green chillis and chopped onions and saute until translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for some more time. Add the capsicum and fry well.
  3. Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, and a little salt and mix well. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until soft.
  4. Now add the mashed vegetables along with a cup of the drained vegetable stock and cook on high for 2-3 mins. Reduce flame and simmer for about 10 mins.
  5. The gravy will begin to thicken. Adjust the salt. Now add the pav bhaji masala in the end and mix well. Turn off heat and add a good dollop of butter and lemon juice and combine. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  6. Serve hot with lightly toasted pav with chopped onions and a slice of lemon on the side.

Serving Pav Bhaji

  • Serve the bhaji in a serving plate or a bowl
  • Top it up with one to two cubes of butter. You can add more butter, if you like
  • Place some finely chopped onions, lemon wedges and finely chopped coriander leaves on one side of the plate or sprinkle onions, coriander leaves and lemon juice directly on the bhaji
  • Serve bhaji with the lightly pan fried and buttered pav


  • The spice powders can be easily adjusted to suit your taste.
  • If you don’t have pav bhaji masala, then add garam masala.
  • Use lots of butter!!!! But if you don’t want to add butter, then you can also make the pav bhaji in oil.
  • Use fresh ginger and garlic, the store bought ginger-garlic paste won’t give the same flavour
  • Use good quality pav bhaji masala or make it at home.
  • When toasting the pav, add a pinch of pav bhaji masala and kasuri methi to the butter and then toast the pav

Pav bhaji can be had as a meal during lunch or dinner. You could also have it as an evening snack.

Did you make this recipe?
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