Pav Bhaji is a famous Indian street food recipe. It’s a thick, and spicy mashed vegetable dish cooked in a desi~licious masala of onion, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and dried spices and served with toasted buns (pav). It incorporates a colourful mix of vegetables (bhaji): cauliflower, peppers, carrots and potatoes to create a lip-smacking healthy Indian dinner recipe. This version isn’t loaded with butter – yet promises oodles of flavour! Learn how to make pav bhaji at home. 

Bowl of Indian pav bhaji topped with onion slices and lemon segments on a black decorative tray with bread buns on the side and fresh herbs

I’ve never been to India, but I dream of visiting one day — primarily to indulge in its eminent street food culture. Friends who’ve been to India tell me that Indian street food is the ultimate gateway to authentic cuisine and culture. I just can’t wait to tour!

I think those of you who’ve tried Desi Indian food know just how blissfully delicious it is. Pav Bhaji is one of those recipes that you could eat every day – not just on meatless Mondays; it’s packed with nutritious vegetables and so flavourful. Plus, it’s an easy and healthy recipe that we love to whip up for Sunday meal planning. And now, with the weather getting warmer, I’m excited to add Kala Channa Chaat, Street-style Butta and Chaat Salad With Corn to our Spring/Summer meal rotations.

Yes, this recipe calls for lots of red chilli powder, but you don’t have to worry about its heat level; feel free to adjust the red chillies to suit your taste buds. Traditionally though, pav bhaji recipe requires a certain level of kick! 

Pav Bhaji Recipe Ingredients

  • Pav bhaji vegetables: A gorgeous rainbow of vegetables that include a whole head of cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, peppers (green and red) and frozen peas. 
  • Spice mix: I don’t use store-bought pav bhaji spice mix because it’s laden with salt and I like to create my own. So heads up – the spice list is long. Bear in mind that each spice carries its beautiful aroma and makes the dish so flavourful. I’ve used a mix of whole and powdered spices. There are several key whole spices: coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cinnamon and cloves. These are ground using a spice grinder and combined with fenugreek leaves, Kashmiri red chilli powder (for colour) and regular red chilli powder for an extra spicy kick. Depending on the heat level of your Kashmiri red chilli powder, you may not even need the red chilli powder. Mine is very mild, and so I use red chilli powder as well.
  • Pav bhaji masala: It’s a really simple concoction of onion, garlic, ginger and fresh tomatoes fried in extra virgin olive oil. Typically butter is used to create pav bhaji; however, we don’t usually use butter at home and prefer olive oil to create our Desi (South Asian) recipes.
  • Pav bhaji bread: I find the brioche-style buns to be a perfect match. Dunking a soft toasted bun into the pav bhaji masala is unreal! And creating an Indian sloppy joes recipe is well…quite something! 🙂

How to Make Pav Bhaji At Home- Step By Step

step by step preparation shots of Indian pav bhaji recipe at home

Want to know how to make Pav Bhaji?

Well, it’s pretty easy to pull off; I like to think of this recipe in four main steps that are broken down underneath. You can find the detailed instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Prepare the pav bhaji vegetableswash and cut into similar sized pieces and send to steam until soft (Image 1). You can use a pressure cooker or Instant pot for this step. I set my Instant Pot on steam for three minutes and send the vegetables to steam with 1 cup of water.
  2. Make the pav bhaji masala spice mix: Add the whole spices and grind them into powder form (Image 2). Mix with the powdered spices and set aside (Image 3).
  3. In a medium cooking pot, heat olive oil, add onion, garlic and ginger and fry until lightly golden (Image 4).
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes on medium heat until soft and mushy (Image 5).
  5. Add the spice mix, stir and cook for a minute (Image 6). This is how to make pav bhaji masala at home. Easy.
  6. Remove the liquid from the steamed vegetables and add the cooked vegetables to the onion-tomato mixture. Mash the vegetables and stir to combine with the pav bhaji masala—Cook for 5 minutes on low heat (Images 7-8).
  7. Finish with salt, lemon and fresh cilantro (Image 9).
  8. Serve traditionally with toasted buns. Slit the buns and toast on a pan or in the toaster (Image 10).
Bowl of Indian pav bhaji topped with onion slices and lemon segments on a black decorative tray with bread buns on the side and fresh herbs

Pav Bhaji Recipe Tips

  • Use the freshest ingredients you can find, as this makes all the difference. 
  • Ensure you discard all the liquid from the steamed vegetables before adding it to the pav bhaji masala; otherwise, the pav bhaji will be too runny.
  • Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger until lightly golden to bring that lovely flavour.
  • Mash the vegetables well to savour a thick consistency. 
  • Add the lemon, cilantro and salt at the end.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • Besides toasted buns, you can also enjoy this pav bhaji recipe with rice, roti, quinoa or other favourite grains.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Can I Use Instead Of Pav Bhaji Masala?

If, like me, you’re not keen on using readymade pav bhaji masala (spice mix), you can easily create your own at home. I use a mix of whole spices that are ground into powder using a spice grinder. This is combined with fenugreek (methi) leaves, Kashmiri red chilli and regular red chilli powder. The step by instructions are in the recipe card below. 

How Do You Eat Pav Bhaji?

You can either enjoy it traditionally with pav (bread buns) by tearing a piece and dunking it in the bhaji or create the best Desi sloppy Joes. I must shout out, Master, IZ, for this inspiration! I also love to enjoy bhaji with quinoa, rice, roti, and salad.

Indian pav bhaji filled in between two bread buns on a wooden board with white lily flowers in the background

Is Pav Bhaji Good For Health?

What’s great about homemade pav bhaji is that you have complete control over the ingredients. It’s a veggie-packed dish that’s a fantastic source of nutrition. Plus the added spices are linked to numerous health benefits. Here’s a breakdown of Pav Bhaji’s nutrition.

Nutrition Highlights:

One serving* of this Pav Bhaji recipe is:

  • An excellent source of fibre
  • A very high source of vitamin C
  • A very high source of vitamin A
  • An excellent source of potassium
  • A good source of iron
  • Packed with plant-powered ingredients with disease-fighting antioxidants
  • Lower in carbs – 22 g of carbs per serving (without the buns)

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Looking for more healthy Indian dinner recipes? Make sure to check out:

  1. Easy Curry Sauce with Zucchini Noodles
  2. Creamy Vegan Pasta – Indian-Style
  3. Indian Eggplant Curry With Potatoes
  4. Desi~licious Daal With Roasted Butternut Squash
  5. Indian Butter Chicken Recipe
  6. Vegan Tikka Masala With Asparagus

Have you tried pav bhaji before? What’s your favourite Indian street food recipe?

If you try this pav bhaji salad recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos. 

Desi~liciously Yours, Shahzadi

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Bowl of Indian pav bhaji topped with onion slices and lemon segments on a black decorative tray with bread buns on the side and fresh herbs
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Get the Recipe:

Homemade Pav Bhaji

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Yield: 6 people
Pav Bhaji is a famous Indian street food recipe. It's a thick and spicy mashed vegetable dish cooked in a masala of onion, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and dried spices. Served with toasted buns (pav). It incorporates a colourful mix of vegetables (bhaji): cauliflower, peppers, carrots, and potatoes to create a lip-smacking healthy Indian dinner recipe. This version isn't loaded with butter – yet promises oodles of flavour! Learn how to make pav bhaji at home.

Ingredients
 

Pav Bhaji Vegetables

  • 1 cauliflower , large, washed, stems removed and cut into large florets
  • 2 carrots, large, washed, peeled and diced into thick slices
  • 1 green pepper, large, washed, cut into large chunks
  • 1 red pepper, large, washed, cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup peas, frozen
  • 1 cup water, to steam vegetables

Spice Mix

  • tbsp coriander seeds, whole
  • tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 green cardamom, seeds only
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 tsp fenugreek leaves, dried
  • 4 tsp Kashmiri red chilli, powder, adjust to taste
  • 4 tsp red chilli , powder, adjust to taste

Pav Bhaji Masala

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 onion, large, white, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, large, crushed
  • 2 inch ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tomatoes, medium, washed, chopped into medium chunks
  • tsp salt, sea salt
  • 1 lemon, fresh, large, juice only
  • 1 cup cilantro, fresh, washed, chopped

Equipment

  • pressure cooker is optional

Instructions
 

Pav Bhaji Vegetables

  • Send pav bhaji vegetables to steam: Add cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, peppers, peas and water to the Instant pot and select the "steam" setting. Send to steam for three minutes and then release the pressure. Remove the vegetables from the Instant Pot and drain the water. The vegetables should be very soft. You could use any pressure cooker for this step or steam the vegetables on the stovetop on low heat.

Spice Mix

  • Make the pav bhaji masala spice mix: Add the whole spices – coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves to a spice grinder and blitz into a powder. Combine with the remaining spices – fenugreek leaves, Kashmiri red chilli and red chilli powder and set aside.

Pav Bhaji Masala

  • In a medium cooking pot, heat olive oil on medium heat.
  • Add onion, garlic and ginger and fry until lightly golden. 
  • Stir in the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes on medium heat until soft and mushy.
  • Add the spice mix, stir and cook for a minute.
  • Add the cooked vegetables to the onion-tomato mixture and mash the vegetables and stir to combine with the pav bhaji masala—Cook for 5 minutes on low heat.
  • Finish with salt, lemon and fresh cilantro.
  • Serve traditionally with toasted buns. Slit the buns and toast on a pan or in the toaster. Serve hot.

Video

Notes

The nutritional analysis does NOT include the pav (buns).
  • Ensure you discard all the liquid from the steamed vegetables before adding it to the pav bhaji masala; otherwise, the pav bhaji will be too runny.
  • Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger until lightly golden to bring that lovely flavour.
  • Mash the vegetables well to savour a thick consistency. 
  • Add the lemon, cilantro and salt at the end.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • Besides toasted buns, you can also enjoy this pav bhaji recipe with rice, roti, quinoa or other favourite grains.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 145kcal (7%)Carbohydrates: 22g (7%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 6g (9%)Saturated Fat: 1g (5%)Sodium: 830mg (35%)Potassium: 736mg (21%)Fiber: 7g (28%)Sugar: 8g (9%)Vitamin A: 4845IU (97%)Vitamin C: 122mg (148%)Calcium: 86mg (9%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cuisine: ethnic, Indian, South Asian
Course: Main
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