If you haven’t tried Pav Bhaji yet – you need to! It’s one of India’s most famous street foods, and it’s no wonder. It’s a spicy, tangy and fiery mashed mixed vegetable curry topped with fresh zesty coriander, sharp red onions and a slab of butter. All mopped up with gorgeous fluffy and soft pav buns.
Mumbai is the birthplace of Pav Bhaji, where it was first introduced as a quick and filling lunch for textile mill workers. Fast forward to the present day and Pav Bhaji is one of the most famous Indian dishes served at roadside eateries and street carts all across India to fancy restaurants in the UK and North America.
In Marathi (the language of the Indian state of Maharashtra), Pav means a soft and fluffy eggless Bread Roll. Interestingly, this name comes from the Portuguese word for bread – “Pao”. Secondly, Bhaji means either vegetables, or a dish made from vegetables. There is really nothing better than the thick and spicy curry scooped up on a buttery fried pav!
Some people find the idea of a bread roll served with a curry strange – but this is both authentic and delicious. There’s nothing better!
Can you make Pav Bhaji Vegan & Gluten Free?
Pav Bhaji is naturally vegetarian and nut-free. Thankfully, it’s really easy to veganise too! In other words, all you need to do is switch out the dairy butter for Vegan butter, or leave it out entirely.
The bhaji part of this meal is also entirely Gluten Free. Subsequently this means that all you have to do is source Gluten Free bread rolls. If you don’t have them available in your area, you can use any kind of fluffy white bread – it won’t be quite the same but will still mop up the gorgeous juices of the curry perfectly.
How to make or where to buy Pav Bhaji Masala?
Making your own Pav Bhaji Masala fresh is the best option. Any premade powders loose their potency over time so where possible, freshly grinding your spices will result in the best tasting dish.
If you don’t have the whole spices available to grind, don’t worry – Pav Bhaji Masala is available in the spice section of most large Asian grocery shops. You won’t find it in a standard supermarket, but if you don’t have an Asian supermarket nearby you can always order from Amazon. They stock the MDH Pav Bhaji Masala which is one of the most popular brands and very tasty.
If you have no other option, in a pinch you can use Garam Masala instead of Pav Bhaji Masala.
What Variations of Pav Bhaji can I make?
Since Pav Bhaji is a famous street food, many variations have sprung up in modern times to appeal to all tastes. Personally I love the classic Pav Bhaji – but feel free to experiment and mix it up every now and again!
- Cheese Pav Bhaji – simply add some mild grated cheese on top of the bhaji before serving.
- Paneer Pav Bhaji – add grated paneer and mix through the bhaji, as well as adding on top.
- Vegetables – the vegetables used in Pav Bhaji vary from home to home and street food vendor to street food vendor. My recipe below is the mixture of vegetables that we love, but there is lots of room for experiment. You can use green peas as opposed to green beans, and even try with sweet potatoes as opposed to white potatoes.
This Recipe is…
- Nut Free, and easily adaptable for other diets
- An authentic Maharashtrian dish
- Full of veggies
- Fiery hot and spicy
- Easy to cook even for beginners
If you’re interested in more Marathi recipes, then please do check out this delicious, light and healthy breakfast dish, Sabudana Khichdi, this delicious festive Sesame Brittle, Til Chikki, a summery festive made from Mangoes and Yoghurt called Aamrakhand, and this easy way to make your own sprouts for Misal & Usal.
How to Serve and Eat Pav Bhaji?
Pav Bhaji is served as a main course – either for lunch or dinner! Most important are the accompaniments – plenty of fresh chopped coriander and raw red onion to sprinkle on top. A thin slice of butter placed on top of the bhaji just before serving melts beautifully into the sauce and mellows the spice a little whilst providing a richness. It’s a treat, so go for it! Have some lemon quarters on the side of your plate to squeeze or suck on if needed.
To eat the Pav Bhaji, simply tear the hot pav into pieces and scoop up some bhaji onto the pav with your hands (or a spoon). Then eat it! That’s all there is to it.
For a lovely fusion dish, you can easily add leftover Pav Bhaji to toasties as a stuffing. ‘
If you make this recipe or have any questions, let me know!
As always, if you have any questions about the recipe please feel free to comment them down below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you made this recipe, please do share it with me! I would love to see the results. You can tag me on instagram using @ohmyvegofficial or send to me via any of my other social media channels.