I’m going to be honest here – if you’re sensitive, don’t read any further. I’ve had Pav Bhaji in Mumbai, I’ve had it in the streets of Delhi, I’ve had it somewhere in UP, I’ve tried it several times in Hyderabad and so it’s only understandable that my expectations of a “good” Pav Bhaji are pretty darn high. I was hesitant at tasting Chaat leave alone Pav Bhaji in Chennai and in the US and till date I regret that stereotypical generalization on my part. Great Pav Bhaji will remain so irrespective of by whom or where it’s being prepared. With that statement made, I’m gonna pull up the curtains.
Train journeys, school Picnics, family outings, yearly school potlucks, and more commonly my galli shopping visits are flooded with fond memories of aromatic & very Desi Pav Bhaji. Although we love to eat outside in the name of craving galli ka khana, it’s equally pleasurable to hold on to a plate full of HOT red gravy and bread smothered in ghee and licking away fingers when watching TV. That said, I’m going to do the honor of spoiling you with some of my tested gyan. 😀
My Recipe Corner
- Pressure cook 2 cups of vegetables (carrot, beans, cauliflower, potatoes and peas) up to 4 to 5 whistles.
- Take one large chopped onion and boil it till the raw smell goes. Once done, strain the boiled onions, blend them to fine paste and keep aside
- Take another vessel to boil 2-3 large chopped tomatoes. Leave it on in the stove till it turns mushy and the raw smell goes. Strain and blend this one too and keep aside
- In the meantime, in a frying pan, add lavish amount of butter and oil and add cumin seeds. Fry the seeds till they turn dark brown then add green chili (1-2) + ginger (1tsp) + garlic (8 pods) paste and saute for a few seconds
- Add blended onions to the frying pan. Leave it cooking for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid onion paste sticking to the vessel. The mixture should now not have any raw aroma.
- Next add the tomato puree to the mixture in the pan and leave it cooking till ghee+oil leave the sides of the pan
- After a 5 minute cook, add chopped capsicum (we don’t boil capsicum together with other veggies because a little crunch from capsicum makes a great gravy!). That said, don’t wait for capsicum to cook till it becomes soft
- Now add salt, 1 tsp of Turmeric powder, 1 tsp of Kashmiri Red Chili Powder, 1 tsp of coriander powder, 3 tspns of Pav Bhaji Masala. Mix the gravy well
- Mash the previously pressure cooked Vegetables to a paste and add to our Masala Gravy
- Add water, simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. If the Bhaji becomes dry, add water – the consistency of the Bhaji should be between thick and watery
- Keep stirring consistently to ensure the Bhaji doesn’t stick to the pan. Now check for the desired consistency. Add the previously added spices/Masala if needed.
- Top the gravy with 2 TBSP of fresh Butter
- Garnish with handful of chopped coriander leaves. Cut lemon and onions in rings and serve hot with toasted Paav Buns
How to serve hot Paav Buns
- Slit Pav Buns horizontally through the center in half leaving it holding by the edge. Apply Butter throughout the Bun Slices and toast them on the tawa. Be sure to not burn them on high heat
My Top Recipe Recommendations
- Street Style Pav Bhaji Recipe
- Cheese Pav Bhaji Recipe
- Paneer Pav Bhaji Recipe
- Jain Pav Bhaji Recipe
- Kada Pav Bhaji Recipe
- Punjabi Pav Bhaji Recipe
- Maharashtrian/Kolhapuri Pav Bhaji Recipe
- Masala Pav Recipe
- Pav Bhaji Masala Toast Recipe
- Pav Bhaji Bruschetta Recipe
- Pav Bhaji Fondue Recipe
My Improv & Notes
- Mumbai pav bhajis are always made using generous amounts of butter. My health conscious friends, can substitute it with oil
- Garnish stage – Dry Garlic Chili Chutney is also sprinkled over the Bhaji as an optional step!
- To attain the beautiful RED COLOR of the curry, Use Tomato Paste and Kashmiri lal mirch. If you don’t have it, use another whole chili or red chili/cayenne powder
- Play around with your choice of vegetables!
- Once the veggies are cooked, you can leave it un-mashed also- some people prefer the veggies in form