Friday, 11 May 2012

Pav Bhaji - Street food/ fast food Indian style

Pav Bhaji is to Indians what hot dog is to the Americans, if I may. Indian fast food at it's best. Fresh pav buns toasted in ghee/ butter on the tava/pan with a medley of vegetables in a delectable amalgamation of spices, topped with a knob of butter and a sprinkling of finely chopped onions and a squeeze of lime. Drool-worthy to the last bite!

Vendors with pav bhaji are a common sight in the North of India, but unfortunately for those few of us down South, it is not. You do get in bigger cities here, but in my city, the only place that did serve street food closed quite some time back; and I'm not aware of any new place just yet
This is one my favourite recipe for pav bhaji. This recipe is chef Marut Sikka's version of the bhaji. I came across it in 'Rhodes across India' on UKTV. It uses mushrooms with gives it a nice texture, which is quite unusual in a traditional bhaji; I've also used cauliflowers sometimes. Really depends on how you like it. On the street, the bhaji is left to simmer for quite a while (Read an hour or more). Chef Sikka suggests 1/2 hour; I did 15 to 20 mins. 

Pav Bhaji

What you need

For the bhaji sauce
2 tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
400 g tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the bhaji
3 tbsp butter
600 g potatoes, cooked, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, blanched and finely diced
150 g button mushrooms, quartered
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 cm ginger, grated
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp black salt, powder
To serve
50 g butter
pao bread rolls

Here's How

. For the bhaji sauce
1: heat the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and just allow it to soften before adding the onion. Gently fry until it turns translucent, without colouring. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes until they start to reduce to a pulp.

2. Add the remaining ingredients, stir for a few minutes then remove from the heat. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.

3. For the bhaji: heat half the butter in a frying pan. Add the potatoes, carrots and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, moving them around the pan so that the potatoes begin to break down. Remove for the heat.

4. In another large saucepan, heat the remaining butter over a low heat. Add the blended bhaji sauce and stir in the potato mixture. Add the green chilli, ginger, half the coriander, the garam masala and the black salt. Stir in a little water to loosen the mixture, then simmer gently for 30 minutes. In Indian street stalls it is usually left to simmer for 3-4 hours.

5. To serve: split the pao bread rolls in half and fry the centers in a knob of butter until crisp and golden. Serve with the bhaji.


  1. Wow! Fantastic pictures of Pav bhaji and even better, fantastic suggestions for making this perfectly. My husband would be in heaven with that!

    1. Thank you so much Purabi. I would definitely recommend this recipe. What a wonderful blog you have. The chicken pizza you have posted looks sooo scrumptuous. Hopping over to see more.

  2. pic is so beautiful. pav bhaji recipe sounds perfect and mouthwatering. This is my fav street food.

    1. Thank you Kanan! What a wonderful array you have on your blog.


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