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A steel plate with pav bhaji, with butter, lemons, onions and cilantro
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5 from 10 votes

Pav Bhaji recipe

Pav Bhaji is the ultimate street food from Mumbai. It's a mad mash of potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cauliflower, green peppers, green peas and spices, and you scoop it up with an airy, soft pav -- a bread roll. It's also a remarkably easy dish to make, and it comes together in minutes. You can make it gluten-free by using gf bread rolls. A vegan, soy-free and nut-free recipe.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Can be Gluten-Free, Indian, Indian Vegan, nut-free, Soy-free, Vegetarian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Pav Bhaji
Servings: 6 servings (2 pavs each)
Calories: 404kcal


For the bhaji:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 1-inch knob ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 green chili peppers (jalapeno, serrano, or any other, finely minced)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tomatoes (chopped finely. If using canned diced tomatoes, puree them)
  • 1 cup green peas (If using frozen use directly. If using fresh, cook first until soft)
  • 2 large potatoes (boiled, peeled, and coarsely mashed)
  • ½ head cauliflower (about 3 cups grated. You can use cauliflower rice as well)
  • 1 green bell pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 2 heaping tbsp Pav Bhaji masala
  • 1 tsp paprika (or Kashmiri chili powder, optional, mainly for color)
  • Salt to taste

For the pav:

  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour (can sub with half whole wheat flour for a healthier version)
  • 1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ to 1 cup nondairy milk
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

For serving:

  • 1 red onion (finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup cilantro (finely chopped)
  • Vegan butter
  • Wedges of lemon


Make the bhaji:

  • Crush the ginger, garlic, cumin and green chile peppers into a paste using a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
  • Heat the oil in a wide skillet or preferably a wok
  • Add the onions and saute, until golden spots appear. Add the ginger-garlic paste and continue to saute another minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat until they begin to darken. Add in the grated cauliflower, peas and bell peppers along with ½ cup water and salt. Cover and cook for five minutes or until the veggies are quite soft.
  • Add in the boiled potatoes along with the pav bhaji masala, paprika if using, and about 1 ½ cups water or enough to make a thick, gravy-like consistency. You don't want the bhaji to be runny, but it should not be too dry either.
  • Using a masher, mash down the veggies until most of them are broken down. After the bhaji comes to a boil, turn up the heat, and cook the veggies over high heat for five minutes, stirring constantly to ensure they don't stick. This helps roast some of the veggies and gives your pav bhaji an authentic flavor, much as something from the streets would taste. If the veggies get too dry at any point, add more water. Remember, you want a scoopable, sludgy consistency.
  • You can add more pav bhaji masala if you like--go with your tastebuds, but remember it shouldn't be too strongly flavored. Add more salt if needed before turning off the heat.

Make the pav:

  • Mix the sugar, ½ cup warm water and the yeast in a mixing bowl and set aside for about 5minutes until the mixture starts to froth, indicating the yeast is alive and well.
  • Sift the flour and baking soda into the bowl. Knead on low speed in a stand mixer or by hand for about 3 minutes, trickling in enough milk until you have a dough that’s smooth but slightly sticky (I needed ¾ to 1 cup of milk).
  • Add the oil and continue to knead until the oil has been absorbed by the dough, about 1 more minute.
  • Now place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat all over with oil, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside for 2 hours until the dough has risen.
  • Punch down the dough and divide into 12 balls
  • Shape them into a slightly rectangular shape by pulling at the sides of the dough and tucking under on all four sides.
  • Place the tolls in a rectangular 9 X 13 inch baking dish smeared with oil and lightly floured, or on a cookie sheet, close enough but not touching each other. Let the rolls rise for 30 minutes. They will join at the ends when they have risen.
  • Preheat the oven to 370 degrees. Brush the tops of the pavs with the a mixture of 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp nondairy milk mixture which gives them a nice color on top.
  • Bake 22 minutes. Then turn off the oven and let the pav stand inside for another 4 miuntes before removing it from the oven and allowing it to cool for 10 minutes on a rack.

Serve the Pav Bhaji:

  • The pav needs to be toasted before serving. To do this, heat a griddle. Slit the pav into two, then smear on some butter and, if you like, sprinkle on some paprika or pav bhaji masala directly on the pav. Place, crumb-side down, on the hot skillet and let the pav toast a minute or so until golden-brown.
  • Next ladle out the piping-hot bhaji on a plate or in a bowl. Add a square of vegan butter and then sprinkle the top with onions and cilantro and squeeze on some lemon juice. Serve with the toasted pav.


Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 533mg | Potassium: 606mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1236IU | Vitamin C: 64mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 4mg