Pav Bhaji / Toasted Buns and Mixed Vegetable Curry

Pav Bhaji / Toasted Buns & Mixed Vegetable Curry ~ A popular Mumbai street-food adapted for the home.

Pav Bhaji Masala

What’s not to like about Pav Bhaji? Such a simple yet hearty mix of mashed vegetables served with hot buns toasted with a generous spread of butter. Have it for lunch, dinner or anytime in-between. You don’t need to have much at home to put this together.. just a few choices of vegetables and some buns. You can always substitute the traditional pav, unsweetened Indian bread or bun, with any choice of bread or bun you can get your hands on. In fact, when I made it today I used a couple of 8-pack split burger buns and it was perfect.

As for the veggies, I’d say that the most important veggie in the bhaji (or bhajji) is potato. So if you have a couple of potatoes and a little of a few other vegetables then you are good to go. I personally like to use capsicums, peas and carrots in the dish, but like I said, if there are potatoes then the choice of the other vegetables is completely up to you. I have even tried the bhaji recipe with beets and spinach, and it turns out just fine. If you are trying to think of ways to get some vegetables into the kiddo at home or just wondering what to do with a ‘little bit of everything’ that’s left behind at the end f the week – this might just do it!

One more thing – the bread/ buns can make you thirsty real quick – so do remember to whip up a glass of this sweet pink lassi to go with the Pav Bhaji masala. What a perfect Sunday brunch!

Source: Adapted from Chef Sanjay Thurma’s recipe

Cooking Time: 20 minutes prep + 30 minutes cooking

Serves: 8


For the pav (bread on the side):

  1. Unsweetened buns or bread – as many as needed (2 buns on average per adult), split by cutting across the middle
  2. Butter for toasting

For the bhaji (vegetable curry):

  1. Vegetables – Approx. 8 cups of mixed veggies (see Notes section below for guidance on choice of vegetables)
  2. Onions – 2 medium, chopped fine
  3. Tomatoes – 4 medium, diced
  4. Ginger Garlic paste – 1.5 tbsp
  5. Green chilies – 2 or to taste
  6. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  7. Jeera (cumin) seeds – 2 tsp
  8. Coriander powder (dhaniya powder) – 1 tbsp
  9. Red Chili powder – 1/2 tbsp or to taste
  10. Cumin powder (jeera powder) – 1 tsp
  11. Garam masala – 1 tsp
  12. Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)  – 2 tbsp (optional)
  13. Pav Bhaji masala – 1 – 2 tbsp (optional, to taste)
  14. Salt to taste
  15. Butter – 1 tbsp
  16. Oil / Ghee – for cooking (about 3 tbsp)
  17. Lemon juice – half a lemon (1 tbsp) or to taste
  18. Coriander leaves – a few stems, chopped for garnishing


Making the vegetable blend:

Chopped veggies for Pav Bhaji masala

  1. Add the chopped vegetables, green chilies, a pinch of turmeric, 1 tsp salt to a pressure cooker or steamer.
  2. Add water (1/2 cup) and cook until well done. While the veggies are cooking, get started with the bhaji.
  3. When the veggies are cooked, mash with a potato masher or hand blender (if you don’t have one, you can blend the vegetables in batches, leaving a handful behind as-is, in a blender or food processor. Use the pulse option for a second or two, and do not grind it all the way to retain some texture).

Making the bhaji / vegetable masala:

Bhajji for Pav Bhaji

  1. Heat some oil or ghee or any combination of these to a pan.
  2. Add mustard seeds and jeera and wait until the mustard seeds crackle.
  3. Add the onions and some salt to get them to cook faster and saute for 3-5 minutes until they turn golden brown.
  4. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes until well done and raw smell is gone.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and cook with lid on for 7-10 minutes on medium heat until well cooked and soft.
  6. Add the dry spices (coriander powder, chili powder, jeera powder, more salt if needed) and a little water if the mixture is too dry.
  7. Cook for a few minutes until the masala is cooked well and oil starts to ooze out from the sides.
  8. Add the mashed vegetables and saute until everything comes together (there can be a lot of popping with steam trying to escape the mushy mixture, so be careful and have the lid on if needed).
  9. Add the optional tadka (method explained below) and finish off with a minute or two of sauteing.

Optional tadka for bhaji:

Tadka with Kasuri methi and Pav Bhaji masala

  1. In another small pan, heat 1 tbsp butter on medium heat.
  2. Add the pav bhaji masala and kasuri methi (powdered by rubbing between palms into the pan), saute for ~30 seconds and remove from heat.

Putting it together – simple method:

  1. Heat a tava / griddle and add some butter.
  2. Place the buns on tava, each side for a few seconds until golden brown patches appear.
  3. Serve buns with the bhaji. Garnish with lemon juice, some chopped onions (optional) an coriander leaves.

Putting it together – street-shop style:

  • Heat a tava / griddle and add some butter. Spoon out the required amount of bhaji onto the tava and saute for a minute or so until it is bubbling hot. Garnish with lemon juice, some chopped coriander leaves and remove it onto a plate.

Preparing bhaji for Pav Bhaji on tava mubai stree-food style

  • On the same tava, without rinsing, add some more butter. Place the buns on the tava, each side for a few seconds until golden brown patches appear, ‘wiping’ off any bhaji that’s sticking to the pan.
  • Take out the buns on a tava and serve with chopped onions (optional).

Toasting pav (buns) for pav bhaji masala

PAv Bhaji prep


  1. I used 3 potatoes, 1 cup peas, 2 handfuls of cauliflower florets, a couple of carrots, 1 large green pepper. Typically, you’d want to add more potatoes than any other vegetable. You could use a variety of vegetables in place of the ones I used including but not limited to spinach, radish, turnips, beet roots, parsnips, etc.
  2. You’ll’ see that the recipe lists the store-bought pav bhaji masala only as optional seasoning, so it is perfectly fine to skip it if you don’t have it on hand and make it without the pav bhaji masala. I have made the dish many a time without the masala and did not notice much difference (I think it is more out of habitually associating Pav Bhaji masala with the dish) . You can also always add more than what is listed here – like amchur (dry mango) powder or chat masala to suit your preferences.
3 Responses to “Pav Bhaji / Toasted Buns and Mixed Vegetable Curry”
  1. PoppyBhavan says:

    Yum as usual.

  2. sani panini says:

    Everything looks amazing!!

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