Pav Bhaji Recipe (Mumbai Street Style)
Pav Bhaji is a flavorsome and hearty meal that has a delicious blend of spicy mixed vegetables, served alongside soft butter toasted dinner rolls, crunchy onions and lemon wedges. This homemade Mumbai street style Pav Bhaji tastes absolutely Phenomenal! It’s the easiest and a great dinner option for the busy weeknights. A total crowd-pleaser with bold flavors! Make the BEST Pav Bhaji at home with my simple recipe instructions to make it in a regular pan or stovetop pressure cooker or Instant pot.
It’s no secret that there a lot of delicious Indian street foods like Aloo tikki, Dahi vada, Bhel puri, vada pav and Batata vada, but Pav Bhaji is particularly unique for its intoxicating aroma. Probably, it’s hard for a lot of Indians to cross a Pav Bhaji place without surrendering to the temptation. Undeniably, it is the most loved street foods from Mumbai, India!!
If you are new to Indian cuisine and wondering
About Pav Bhaji
Pav Bhaji is an Indian fast food consisting of a thick spicy vegetable gravy served with soft dinner rolls. In Hindi and Marathi, the word ‘Pav’ means ‘Bread roll or dinner roll’ and ‘Bhaji’ means ‘a vegetable dish’. Since these are served together as a meal, it is known as Pav Bhaji.
Originated in Mumbai as a light and quick meal option for the textile workers, this Mumbai’s most iconic street food became hugely popular across India. (Source: Wikipedia)
You will find this everywhere right from upscale restaurants to school/ college canteens & street side push carts in India. Even more you find it in every Indian restaurant abroad. But it is said that you get the BEST Pav Bhaji in Mumbai.
My homemade version is easier than you think & it tastes incredibly delicious! Except for the preparation, you won’t need to put much effort. Though an all-time favorite, this isn’t the perfect starter instead it is ideal for a meal. Because no one wants to stop with 1 to 2 servings of pav bhaji.
Bhaji has a mélange of vegetables cooked with butter and pav bhaji masala, a special spice blend which creates a magic. The piping hot bhaji is topped with a generous amount of butter and garnished with coriander leaves.
It is then served alongside butter toasted pav, chopped onions and lemon wedges. Then you are ready to dip the pav in the bhaji and relish it.
In this post I show 2 ways to make it. The first method in the most common one where the veggies are cooked first separately and then later simmered with the onion tomato masala and pav bhaji masala.
The second method is a one pot recipe where you make the masala first and then add the raw veggies. This is pressure cooked with the spice powders. This second method can be followed if you have a pressure cooker, either the stovetop Indian cooker or the instant pot.
Street style Vs Home style
Usually the street side bhaji is made with more potatoes & onions. Veggies like cauliflower, capsicum & peas are used in little quantities or even skipped.
Street stalls selling Mumbai pav bhaji often avoid cauliflower as it turns out to be expensive for them. But while making it at home, it is good to use it as the flavor of bhaji turns out excellent.
Ingredients You Need
Pav (dinner rolls/ bread rolls): Indian pav is made with refined white flour, milk and yeast. They are eggless & are easily available in the Indian stores. If you live outside India & don’t find pav, you may serve them with unsweetened buns, sourdough or artisan breads. Whole grain crusty breads also go well with this bhaji.
Mixed vegetables: I use fresh veggies like carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, beans potatoes & frozen peas. You may opt to use pre cut veggies from the stores if you want.
Butter is the key ingredient that adds flavor to the dish. You may use cultured butter if you have for extra flavor.
Pav Bhaji Masala is a spice blend used to cook the bhaji. You either make your own following my recipe below or buy from an Indian Store.
Make Pav Bhaji Masala
There are many pav bhaji masala powders available in the market which can be used instantly. Each one differs in the flavor and taste. But the basic ingredients almost remain the same. Only the quantity of ingredients change. So you can chose the one you like.
I like my homemade masala powders so I make my own pav bhaji masala powder at home. You can find the link in the recipe card below. I have shared it here in brief.
You can also make pav bhaji masala powder by dry roasting the following ingredients. Powder them in a spice grinder and use as needed in this recipe.
2 tbsps coriander seeds
1 black cardamom
2 green cardamoms
1 tbsp cumin or jeera
1 tsp pepper corn
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
3 red chilies
1 inch cinnamon
3 to 4 cloves
1/2 tbsp amchur
For more street foods check
How to Make Pav Bhaji (Stepwise Photos)
Rinse, peel and cube 3 medium or 2 larger potatoes (about 300 grams). Mine were about 1½ to 2 cups when measured. Clean 1 cup cauliflower florets (optional). Rinse ½ to ¾ cups green peas. If you want you can also use 1 medium carrot (Half cup chopped).
For making masala, chop 1 medium onion (¾ to 1 cup chopped) , 2 medium tomatoes (¾ to 1 cup chopped), half bell pepper (½ cup chopped) and 1 green chilli. Also make 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste. Keep all of these aside.
1. Add potatoes, cauliflower, peas & carrots (optional) to a pressure cooker or a pot. Pour 1½ cups water, it should be just enough to cover them partially.
2. Pressure cook for 1 to 2 whistles on a medium flame. I pressure cook for only 1 whistle.
3. When the pressure releases open the lid. Veggies should be soft cooked. Mash them well.
Prepare Onion Tomato Masala
4. Heat 1 tablespoon butter & 1 tablespoon oil in a pan.
5. Add ¾ to 1 cup chopped onions. Saute till they turn translucent.
6. Add 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste and 1 green chilli. Fry until it smells good. Take care not to burn.
7. Add half cup chopped bell pepper. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
8. Add ¾ to 1 cup chopped tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. Fry till tomatoes turn mushy, soft and pulpy.
9. Add 1 teaspoon chilli powder and 1 to 1½ tablespoon paav bhaji masala powder. If making for kids, skip the chilli powder but it will affect the color.
10. Mix well and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
11. Add the boiled & mashed veggies. Add ½ to ¾ cups more water to bring it to a consistency.
12. Mix well and simmer for a while to bring out the flavor of masala. Taste test and add more salt if you want. You can also add more chili powder at this stage for brighter color. Also for more flavor you may add more pav bhaji masala if you want.
13. Add ¾ tablespoon kasuri methi. When it reaches the desired consistency, add chopped coriander leaves. switch off. Slightly cool down and add some lemon juice before serving.
14. Slit the pav horizontally leaving one edge intact. On a low flame, heat 1 teaspoon butter on a tawa. Add little masala powder over it.
15. Place the pav on the butter and toast for 1 to 2 mins until slightly crisp. Do not over do it as the spice powder will burn. You can do the same on the other side as well by adding more butter on the pan.
Garnish with coriander leaves, lemon wedges and chopped onions. Top with more butter on hot bhaji. Serve pav bhaji with some butter topped and onion.
How to Make Instant Pot Pav Bhaji
This recipe has been tried and tested in a 6 qts Instant pot. It works very well even with homemade pavbhaji masala which I shared in the Intro of this post.
For Bhaji you will need
1 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¾ cup onions fine chopped – 125 grams – 1 medium or 2 small
¾ cup tomatoes fine chopped – 125 grams – 2 medium
1½ cups potatoes – 300 grams – 3 medium or 2 large
½ cup green peas – 75 grams
½ cup carrots (1 medium, 75 grams)
1 cup cauliflower florets (or substitute with half cup potatoes)
½ cup bell pepper chopped – 65 grams – 1 small capsicum
1 tablespoon ginger garlic fine chopped or paste
1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 to 1½ tbsp pav bhaji masala
1 teaspoon red chilli powder (can add more for heat)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon kasuri methi
2 to 3 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
6 to 8 pavs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons chopped onions
2 tablespoons coriander leaves fine chopped
1. Press SAUTE button on the instant pot. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil to the steel insert. I also added half teaspoon cumin seeds here which I have not mentioned in the recipe. These are optional and can be skipped.
2. Add onions and green chilli. Saute until transparent.
3. Spread them in a single layer so they fry quickly.
4. Then stir in ginger garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
5. Add the tomatoes, capsicum and sprinkle salt.
6. Saute until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy. Then add in pav bhaji masala, chilli powder and turmeric.
7. Mix well and add all the veggies – potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and peas.
8. Pour 2 cups water and deglaze the pot by scrubbing the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula.
9. Press CANCEL button and press PRESSURE COOK button with high pressure setting. Set the timer to 5 mins and position the steam release handle to sealing. When the IP beeps, wait for 5 mins for natural pressure release. Gently release the rest of the pressure manually.
10. With a spatula or masher, mash all the veggies well.
11. Press SAUTE button. Taste test. If needed add more salt, red chilli powder and pav bhaji masala. I set aside my kids’ portion and then added more spice powders. Also add kasuri methi.
12. Let the bhaji simmer for 3 to 4 mins. It will thicken.
13. Transfer to serving bowls. Top with butter & coriander leaves.
Slit each bun to 2 horizontally. Heat a pan. Smear some butter and sprinkle pav bhaji masala over the butter. (check images above) Toast the pavs until lightly crisp. Alternately you may also toast them in a preheated oven. I preheat the oven to 240 C or 460F. Place the butter smeared & pav bhaji masala sprinkled slit pavs on the baking tray, with the butter side up. Bake them for 2 to 3 mins. Keep watching so they don’t burn & become like biscuit.
Serve pav with hot bhaji, chopped onions and lemon wedges on the side.
Your Questions Answered
Yes! With oodles of butter added to the street side Mumbai pav bhaji, it becomes one of the most calorie-laden food. Also pav is made with all-purpose flour which is a pure refined product. If you eat the street style dish often, you may easily gain weight. If you are trying to lose weight, steer clear of the street side dish and customize it at home to suit your diet.
Eating refined foods in moderation may not necessarily be bad for healthy individuals. To compensate for that, include more whole grains regularly in your diet. Further homemade pav bhaji can be made healthier if you use whole wheat pav, dinner rolls instead of the white flour bread. Also replace the regular butter with organic or grass-fed cow butter.
Street side vendors sometimes add color to the pav bhaji. But you can almost get the same color by simply soaking 10 deseeded Kashmiri red chilies in ¼ cup hot water until soft. Then blend them until smooth. Add this along with the pav bhaji masala while cooking. This gives a brighter color to the dish.
If you do not have pav bhaji masala, in a pinch you can use garam masala, coriander powder and red chilli powder. Though the flavour won’t be the same it will still taste good.
Pav bhaji masala is made with various spices like coriander seeds, black cardamom, green cardamoms, cumin, black pepper, fennel seeds, red chilies, cinnamon, cloves and amchur (Mango powder).
I highly recommend making your own masala at home as it barely takes 10 mins. But you can always use store bought one for comfort. Try MDH, Everest & Tata sampan. You will need to adjust the quantities as needed as the spice levels vary.
Simply skip the onions and garlic to make a no onion no garlic pav bhaji. You don’t need to substitute them with any other ingredient.
Pav Bhaji Recipe (Mumbai Street Style)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1½ to 2 cups (300 grams) potatoes diced (3 medium or 2 large)
- ½ to ¾ cup (75 grams) green peas (matar)
- 1 cup (100 grams) cauliflower (florets, optional)
- ½ cup (75 grams) carrot (optional, 1 small)
- 1½ cups water (to pressure cook, 2 cups for IP, more to cook in pot)
- ¾ to 1 cup (125 grams) onions (finely chopped, 1 medium)
- 1 green chili (slit or chopped, leave out for kids, optional)
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste or chopped
- ½ cup capsicum (bell pepper) chopped
- ¾ to 1 cup (125 grams) tomatoes (finely chopped, 2 medium )
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 to 1½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (or red chili paste from 10 dried red chilies)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 to 1½ tablespoon pavbhaji masala powder (use more if needed)
- ¾ tablespoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves, optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
To toast pav
- 8 Pav (buns) (dinner rolls)
- 1 tablespoon butter (to toast pav)
- ½ teaspoon pav bhaji masala powder
- 1 Lemon (sliced)
- 2 to 4 tablespoon onions Chopped finely
- 2 tablespoon coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoon butter (divided between servings)
- Add cauliflower florets, cubed potatoes, carrots and peas to a pot or pressure cooker. Pour water and cook until soft or tender. If you cook in a pot you will need more water.
- If cooking in pressure cooker, cook on a medium heat until you hear 2 whistles. When the pressure drops open the lid and mash them well.
- Add butter and oil to a pan and heat up on a medium flame. Add onions and saute till they turn translucent.
- Stir in ginger garlic paste and green chili. Saute until fragrant.
- Next capsicums & saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomato and salt. Saute until the tomatoes soften and become mushy.
- Stir in chili powder, turmeric and pav bhaji masala powder. Saute the masala for another 2 minutes or until the raw smell of the mixture goes away.
- Add boiled & mashed veggies. Pour more water (½ to ¾ cup) just enough to bring to a thick consistency.
- Cook for 3 to 5 mins until the bhaji thickens. Taste and add more salt if needed. If you want it more spicy, add another half tsp chilli powder and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add kasuri methi and cook until it reaches a desired consistency thick yet of pouring consistency.
How to Make Pav Bhaji
- Slit the pav buns horizontally leaving one edge intact.
- On a low to medium flame, heat butter on a pan/ griddle. Open the pav and sprinkle some pav bhaji masala on the butter. Place the pav, inner side on the butter & toast them for a min or two.
- Scoop out portions of bhaji to serving bowls. Garnish it with onions, butter and coriander leaves. Squeeze some lemon juice. Serve pav bhaji hot or warm. Dip your pav into the bhaji and enjoy.
Instant Pot Pav Bhaji
- Press SAUTE button on the instant pot. Add oil and butter to the steel insert.
- Saute onions and green chili until the onions become transparent. Stir in ginger garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add tomatoes, capsicum and sprinkle salt. Saute until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
- Stir in pav bhaji masala, chilli powder and turmeric. Add all the veggies – potatoes, cauliflower florets, carrots and green peas.
- Pour 2 cups water (1x) and deglaze the pot by scrubbing the bottom with a wooden spatula.
- Press CANCEL button and press PRESSURE COOK button with high pressure setting. Set the timer to 5 mins and position the steam release vent to sealing.
- When the IP completes, it beeps, wait for 5 mins for natural pressure release. Gently release the rest of the pressure manually.
- There will be lot of water when you open the lid. With a masher, mash all the veggies well, they will soak up the water.
- Press SAUTE button. If needed add more salt, pav bhaji masala and more red chilli for a brighter color. I usually add ½ teaspoon more red chilli powder at this stage.
- Let the bhaji simmer for 3 to 4 mins, until thick. Then add add crushed kasuri methi and mix. Press cancel. Sprinkle coriander leaves and 1 tablespoon butter.
- Slit each bun to 2, horizontally, keeping one edge intact. Heat a pan. Smear some butter and sprinkle pav bhaji masala over the butter. (check images above) Toast the pavs until lightly crisp.
- Transfer bhaji to serving bowls. Top with butter & coriander leaves. Squeeze some lemon juice.
- Serve alongside toasted buns and freshly cut onions.
- To get a deep red color, soak 10 red chilies in half cup hot water until soft. Then blend them to a thick paste with very little water in a small blender.
- The street style dish is mostly made without cauliflower.
- If you do not have pavbhaji masala, then you can make it by using the ingredients I mentioned in the intro of this post.
- You can also replace pav bhaji masala with garam masala and more red chili powder. But the flavor will be different.
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.
Watch Pav Bhaji Video
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Pav Bhaji Recipe is from the Archives. First published in October 2014. Updated and republished in November 2022.
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. More about me
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Came out too good, thank you for the lovely recipe with minutely explained details 🙂
It’s been a few months my husband has been making this for weekend dinner. Every time it’s his turn he loves to make this in the Ip. Just wondering if it can be served with any healthy breads. Thank you
So good to know that Taranum. Yes you can serve with sourdough breads or any artisan breads.
Thank you. This was amazing.
Glad you like it Lavanya
This is our favorite Pav Bhaji. My husband is from Mumbai and he loves this. Says it tastes like Mumbai Pav Bhaji. It is so easy to make in the IP. Thank you for the amazing recipes.
Yes agree, it is so easy to make in the pressure cooker. Thanks for writing Sultana. So glad you both like it.
Thank you! Made this and loving it so much. Please share a recipe to make pav. I have a hard time finding them in the place I live.
Glad you like it Meera. I will try to share.
A friend directed me to your website for recipes. I am so excited and loving the way you have shown all the recipes with every step of the cooking. So far I tried your pav bhaji and chilli paneer & they turned out exceptionally great. Thank you so much and keep helping us.
so glad you like the recipes. Thank you
You are my go to Indian recipe expert
Thank you so much Surbhi
Absolutely bangin’ bhaji recipe. I even had to make the masala from scratch and it is soo good!
Happy to know! Thank you for letting me know how it turned out.
Made this tonight and turned out fantastic. Unusual but we love a little baby palak in this. Turns out healthy . We serve with homemade sourdough bread with plenty ty of butter.
Thanks for trying! Glad it turned out good. Yes you can always add baby spinach if you like. Love that idea!
My Indian husband loves this and says it tastes exactly like in India. Served with American dinner rolls. This is going on our weekly rotation. Thank you.
So happy to know Nadia. Thank you so much!
Pavbhaji came out too good..I followed the recipe for masala also.It was awesome..
Glad to know Kamala. Thank you
Delicious! so tasty! how do i double the recipe?
Select 2x on the recipe card to double it
Thank you! I totally missed it sorry! My husband is from Bombay and loves this recipe. I always just cook your recipes:) thank you SO much for sharing, you saved me
That’s nice to know Anna!
I am a regular follower of all your receipes. Today tried Pav Bhaji and it turned out to be very tasty which my family liked it very much. Thanks a lot
Happy to know! Thank you so much!
Your recipes are too good. Love this pav bhaji recipe.
Thank you Avery
I’ve followed this recipe several times now. A great way to use up leftover vegetables. So easy to make & so tasty!
Thank you so much Kate.
Yes so easy to make. Glad you like it
Another wonderful recipe which went down very well. Thank you
Thank you Judy.
I tried this recipe for 9-10 people and its taste was best as well as the proportion mentioned is perfect.
Glad to know Sneha
Amazing Recipe Swasthi. I tried your recipe a couple of days ago and your home made Pav Bhaji masala is just spot on. The Pav Bhaji turned out very yummy, very close in taste (almost the same) to the Pav Bhaji we get at Juhu Beach stalls in Mumbai. Your website is my goto for most dishes that I prepare. Loads of Gratitude to you for Sharing your expertise with all of us <3
So happy to know the recipes work out well for you. Thank you so much for trying and sharing how it turned out.
Hi I was just won what size inner pot you use when cooking Dahl & rice at the same time in the instant pot?
I have a 8 litre instant pot
I need some time to let you know. Will update this comment in a day or 2.
We tried the pav bhaji a third time and like the previous 2 times it was delicious…. Thank you so much , we have tried a few recipes from your site and all have turned out well… Looking forward to trying more recipes.
Glad to know the recipes turned out well. Thank you