pav bhaji masala made with whole spices

Pav Bhaji Masala

By Swasthi on April 29, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Pav bhaji masala is a spice blend used to make the most popular Iconic street food, Pav Bhaji. Indian foods get their robust & unique flavor and taste from the spices used while cooking. For a perfect balance of hot, sweet & pungent flavors, spices are used in their whole and ground form. This combination of spices is what makes them so special. A lot of dishes use a specific spice blend for a unique aroma. Pav bhaji masala is one of the most aromatic masala powder used in street foods like pav bhaji, Tawa Pulao, Egg Bhurji, Masala Pav and many more. In this post I share with you the easiest recipe to make pav bhaji masala at home.


Pav bhaji masala made with whole spices

About Pav Bhaji Masala

Pav bhaji masala is a spice powder made with basic whole spices like coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black cardamoms, star anise, green cardamoms, fennel seeds, dried ginger, red chilies, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and dried mango powder. You will also find some store bought versions with nutmeg, mace and stone flower.

The whole spices are dry roasted on a low heat until crunchy, cooled and then ground to a fine powder. While making Pav bhaji, it is added to the spicy onion tomato and bell pepper base before adding the mashed veggies.

Your pav bhaji masala (spice blend) can easily make the best or even break your favorite pav bhaji. In the recent years, Pav Bhaji Masala is easily available everywhere, even outside India in the Indian grocery stores. But in the past it wasn’t.

Many years ago, we wouldn’t get a lot of things easily in Singapore like aged basmati rice, atta, good quality jaggery, and yes pav bhaji masala too.  I remember we had to wait for several week to get a pack of this masala and surprisingly they would go out of stock soon.

I would carry all my ground spices from my Mom’s home in India like Garam masala, Rasam powder, Sambar powder, korma masala and Biryani masala. But I had to make my own pav bhaji masala as my supply from India would never last long. I tried a lot and this recipe worked out well and it almost got me to the same pav bhaji we would get from the best places in India.

This Recipe

As I said it is the pav bhaji masala that makes a good pav bhaji. It has been years and we love this for the complex flavors. The spice (heat) levels are easily adjustable and more importantly it is pure & clean like any other homemade food.

There are many brands selling this masala but you can make it easily at home if you have the whole spices. For me the the biggest challenge is the heat levels in the store bought masala which are way too hot for my kids. With this recipe you can easily adjust that while making the bhaji.

So my recipe will give you very fragrant masala without making it extremely hot. So you will have more flavor in your dish. For extra heat, add more red chilli powder while cooking.

How to Make Pav Bhaji Masala (Stepwise Photos)

1.Add a large star anise to a pan and let it heat up gently. Dry roast until you get a nice floral aroma. Remove to a plate to cool. I prefer to dry roast these slowly, separately & for a little longer. With this step your pav bhaji masala won’t have a lot of star anise grits.

2. To the same pan, add 5 to 6 dried red chilies (deseeded & broken), 3 inch cinnamon, 2 black cardamoms, 1 to 2 bay leaf and 3 tablespoons coriander seeds.

3. Dry roast on a low heat until they turn crunchy and aromatic. Transfer to the plate for cooling.

4. Add 2 ½ tablespoons cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 to 2 teaspoons black pepper corn (depending on your tolerance). Also add 10 cloves and 4 green cardamoms (optional).

5. Dry roast until the cumin seeds turn nutty, crunchy and well roasted. They must be roasted well like it is done for Roasted Jeera powder. Transfer to the plate and cool all of them. If your amchur & dry ginger are from refrigerator, you may gently warm them up in the same pan. This helps in better shelf life of the pav bhaji masala.

6. Add all the roasted and cooled ingredients.

7. I personally love using a little Kashmiri red chilli powder as it imparts a better color than the dried red chilies. This is optional. I use about a teaspoon.

8. Add half teaspoon dried ginger powder and 1 tablespoon amchur. You can also add 1/4 teaspoon hing if you want but I don’t.

9. Grind to a fine powder. Make sure you don’t grind too long, until the pav bhaji masala becomes hot. I always find the star anise to be a little gritty but after cooking it just seems fine. If you want you can sieve it. Cool completely.

Store pav bhaji masala in a air tight glass jar away from high humid places. It keeps good in a cabinet for 2 months and for 6 months in the refrigerator.

Pav Bhaji Masala Recipe

You can use this homemade masala to make my Pav Bhaji Recipe.

pav bhaji

Roasting Spices in Oven

Add all the spices to a tray and keep in the oven at the lowest setting for 30 mins. Take them out when you begin to smell them nice. Cool and powder.

pav bhaji masala

Pro Tips

My earlier version (10+ years old version) of pav bhaji masala never had star anise, dried ginger and bay leaf. As I said these were hard for me to find them easily those days. The recipe still works out well. So you may easily skip them if they are not available.

Dried Red Chilies: The store bought version is made with hot red chilies. For a low heat masala use Kashmiri, byadgi or mathania chilies. These impart a bright color and keep the heat level low. You can also totally skip the red chilies and make with Kashmiri red chilli powder.

Black pepper adds heat and a pungent flavor. You may replace it with ground or crushed pepper or skip them.

Dried Ginger powder is an essential ingredient but it is just fine to make it without it. Do not use the whole dried ginger as it can damage your grinder.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

pav bhai masala

Pav Bhaji Masala

Homemade pav bhaji masala powder made with a unique combination of spices. This recipe will yield you a very flavorful masala which you can use to make pav bhaji.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings14 servings
AuthorSwasthi

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds (dhaniya)
  • tablespoons cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 teaspoons pepper corn (can reduce to 1 tsp)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 5 to 6 dried red chilies (or replace with red chilli powder, adjust to taste)
  • 3 inch cinnamon (dalchini, use ceylon cinnamon not cassia)
  • 10 cloves (laung)
  • 2 small black cardamoms (badi elaichi, masala elaichi)
  • 1 tablespoon amchur powder (dried mango powder)
  • 1 star anise (refer notes)
  • 4 green cardamoms (optional)
  • 1 to 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon dried ginger powder (ground ginger, skip if you don't have)

Instructions

Preparation

  • Clean the spices and discard stones or debris.
  • To a pan, add star anise, black cardamoms, dried red chilies, coriander seeds, bay leaf (optional) and cinnamon. On a low heat, dry roast them until slightly aromatic & crisp, stirring constantly. Remove to a cooling plate.
  • Add cloves, pepper corn, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and green cardamoms (optional). Cumin seeds tend to burn quickly so be cautious. Keep stirring and roast them just until aromatic & crunchy.
  • Turn off the heat and remove from stove. Add the amchur & ginger powder to the hot pan so it begins to release the aroma and also helps in a better shelf life.

How to Make Pav Bhaji Masala

  • Cool all of these completely. Add them to a grinder jar or spice jar. If you want you can also add 1 teaspoon red chilli powder. Make a fine powder. Avoid grinding too long to prevent the spice powder becoming hot.
  • If the pav bhaji masala is coarse, sieve it. Blend the coarse parts again.
  • Store pav bhaji masala in an air tight glass jar. Keeps good for 6 months in the refrigerator. Here is the recipe to make Pav bhaji.

Notes

I have made this for many years without even star anise, dried ginger and bay leaf. It does make a difference to the flavor but you can get the same floral aroma of star anise by increasing fennel seeds slightly. You have to experiment.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Pav Bhaji Masala
Amount Per Serving
Calories 21
% Daily Value*
Sodium 6mg0%
Potassium 101mg3%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Vitamin A 165IU3%
Vitamin C 23.6mg29%
Calcium 28mg3%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Pav Bhaji Masala first published in July 2012. Updated and republished in April 2022.

Pav Bhaji Masala

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.

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5 stars
Amazing recipe. I added some smoked sweet paprika for a deep red color ☺️

5 stars
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I was looking at a tofu scramble dish that needed pav bhaji. I had never heard of it before (forgive me, I am from Europe) I am so glad I followed your instructions. So simple – so tasty!. The tofu scramble tasted wonderful and now I cannot wait to use it for the usual breakfast dish that I have now discoverd through you. Thank you!!!!

5 stars
Hi Swati, have tried your masala recipe… can say far better than store bought package. Moreover a hit because my 19 month old daughter loved it as I skipped 🌶 thanks for sharing recipe 👍🙏🏼

What kind of chile is the best one to use in a perfect scenario?

Hello mam
Is it ok if iuse chilly powder instead of whole chilly

Thank you

5 stars
Thankyou so much for this recipe. I was in the middle of making pav bhaji and realised that my masala was expired. since it’s lock down period, all shops were closed so I decided to make it by myself. I followed your masala recipe and pav bhaji became awesome. Now I am never going to buy readymade masala.
Thanks again.

Hello can I use green cardamon? Also what would recommend as a substitute for the mango powder please? Many thanks

Dear madam i tried this bhaji turns brownish instead red wat could be the reason

5 stars
Tried the pav bhaji masala recipe turned out perfect better than the readymade
Thanks ?

5 stars
Hi There! I have made the Blend and want to know the Measurements in Grams so that I can just understand what exactly is required because sometimes it does not balance well when made.

Don’t hav amchur powder is tat ok to make without that?

Thank u.. Tried it and came out superb..

Hello. I’m going to try making your masala today. I was just wondering how this recipe can have 10g of fat when there’s only spices involved in the preparation?

I don’t have moti elaichi, can I use star anis?

THANKS SWATHI….THIS RECIPE WAS A GREAT HELP TO ME

Thank you so much. I forgot to get the ready made masala from India and was wondering how to make it at home. Your recipe did help a lot.

Thanks a ton! running out of pav bhaji masala. Kids are keen to have pav bhaji. Have everything except masala…I won’t waste a moment and rushing towards kitchen. Again thank you so much.

Delicious delight recipes !!!

Seriously superb recipes… Even very easy to do…thanks dudes

4 stars
there are many interesting dishes,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,yummy!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the help

Hi Swasthi, I gave the masala a shot and was very happy with the results. Thanks so much for posting it on your blog… I have never been happy with packaged masala mixes.