Bombay Style Pav Bhaji

 You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food. -Paul Prudhomme

Bombay Style Pav Bhaji

Before we get to the Bombay Style Pav Bhaji, can we talk about the picture below for a minute? Yesterday I had Little Mirchi try on clothes to see if they fit or had to be returned (yay for online shopping!) This denim jacket was the only thing she didn’t fight off, instead she walked over the the mirror, checked her bad rad self out and took a seat on the window ledge.

I don’t know why I’m so awestruck with this picture… perhaps because it’s so candid or maybe because it’s not the usual dress & bow outfit? What I love most about this picture though is that it captures her recent  “Miss Independent” personality with a touch of sass. All I know it’s she’s getting too big too fast!
Little Mirchi at 22 months

Back to the food!

Sharing one my favorite Indian street foods today, Pav Bhaji:  spiced vegetables mashed together served with toasted warm buttery bread. Just thinking about this dish makes me think of Bombay Mumbai! Pav Bhaji originated in Mumbai, India during the 1850’s when textile mill workers were looking for a light but complete meal during their short lunch breaks. A street vendor created the dish by combining popular saabzis (vegetables) and replaced rice or roti for Pav (bread rolls). Today Pav Bhaji can be found on every street corner and many restaurants.

Similar Reads: Bhel Puri Cakes: A twist on the humble street side snack

Bombay Style Pav Bhaji

As a child Pav Bhaji was one of my favorite foods, I remember asking my mom for it often and she happily obliged (this recipe is a serious Mom win with all the vegetables it includes). Now that my little one is all about feeding herself with limited help from us, I find myself gravitating towards dishes that she can pick up, dip into, walk around with and eat independently.

This is also a great fridge/freezer clean out dish. You know when there are tiny amounts of random vegetables left in the fridge or freezer, not enough to make up an entire dish but you feel guilty letting them spoil or trashing them… add them in Pav Bhaji! I’ve put everything from a handful of edamame seeds to a quartered leftover beet, you can completely make this recipe your own! The Pav (bread) used to scoop up the Bhaji are eggless dinner rolls, if you don’t have access to a local Indian store that sells these you can use Portuguese rolls, plain dinner rolls or seedless hamburger rolls.

Similar reads: Papdi Chaat: Bhaiya thoda theeka baanao

Bombay Style Pav Bhaji
My favorite Pav Bhaji masala blend is Everest (you can find it at most Indian grocers). For the Pav I love using Amul butter for that classic Bombay Pav taste but in a pinch you can use a sweet cream salted butter as well!

Bombay Style Pav Bhaji
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Bombay Style Pav Bhaji
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled & cut in quarters
  • ½ head cabbage, chopped
  • ½ head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables, I use the frozen blend
  • ½ cup green bell pepper (capsicum)
  • ½ tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1½ cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1½ cup tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon Everest pav bhaji masala
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt, adjust to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice and extra lime wedges for garnish
  • ⅓ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Butter for toasting Pav
For Bhaji:
  1. In a steamer or pressure cooker add potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, mixed vegetables, bell pepper, ginger garlic paste and turmeric – steam/cook until soft to touch. {I used to use a manual pressure cooker at the time of the recipe, I now make this in my Instant pot and this step is done in 10 minutes on pressure mode; manual release}
  2. Mash to desired consistency (I like some chunks) remove into a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the same pan heat oil and a tablespoon of butter. Add in cumin seeds and one cup onions; reserve the rest for garnish. {If using an Instant pot; set sauté mode for 13 minutes}
  4. When onions become translucent add tomatoes. Once water starts leaving the mixture add salt, Pav bhaji masala, red chili powder and mashed vegetables.
  5. Add lime juice, a pat of butter, mix well and let simmer.
For the Pav:
  1. Heat pan on medium low, slather butter on both sides of Pav and toast until crispy and golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside.
  1. Serve Bhaji hot with pats of butter, squeezes of lime juice and heaps of chopped onions & cilantro. Scoop up with toasted buttery Pav.
I use Everest brand Pav Bhaji Masala which can be found in most Indian grocery stores

For the butter I use Amul Butter (another Indian store find) or Sweet Cream Salted butter


Bombay Style Pav BhajiBombay Style Pav Bhaji

Serve Bhaji hot with pats of butter, squeezes of lime juice and heaps of chopped onions & cilantro. Scoop up with toasted Pav.


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