Pav Bhaji

You'll be seeing a lot of Indian food recipes on my blog. It's great for vegans and vegetarians, offering so many variations of vegetable dishes, and I LOVE Indian food.

Pav Bhaji is Mumbai's famous street food. Paav means "a small bun", while Bhaaji means "vegetable". Paav Bhaji is so wholesome you can have it as a meal. The origin of this dish is traced to textile mill workers in Mumbai in the 1850s. The mill workers used to have lunch breaks too short for a full meal, and a light lunch was preferred to a heavy one, as the employees had to return to strenuous physical labor after lunch. A vendor created this dish using items or parts of other dishes available on the menu. Initially, it remained the food of the mill-workers. With time the dish found its way into restaurants and spread over Central Mumbai and other parts of the city.

My first experience with this dish was in Asheville, NC. I love it and had to make it myself! My recipe substitutes cauliflower for the traditional white potatoes. You can use whatever veggies you want!

  • 1 large carrot, cubed 
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets 
  • 1 cup green beans 
  • 1/4 cup green peas 
  • 1 large onions, finely chopped 
  • 2 small green chili peppers, slit length wise (I use Thai peppers. You can omit them for a less spicy version) 
  • 1 tsp grated ginger 
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic 
  • 2 TBS Pav Bhaji Masala (recipe follows) 
  • 1 TBS date sugar (or coconut sugar) 
  • 1 TBS Bragg’s Liquid Aminos 
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice 
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish 

  1. Steam cauliflower florets until soft. 
  2. While cauliflower is steaming, water sauté the onion, garlic, chili peppers and ginger. Add the masala spices when the onion is soft and translucent. 
  3. Add the chopped tomato, sugar, liquid aminos and remaining veggies except for the peas. Cook until all is soft. 
  4. Add the steamed cauliflower and mash everything with a potato masher. 
  5. Keep cooking on low and mashing until it’s all combined. 
  6. Add the peas last. Don’t mash them. They add a nice color and contrast to the mashed veggie mixture. 
  7. Add the lemon juice and stir. 
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves. 
  9. Serve with warm buns. (I use a gluten free bun like Udi’s) 

Pav Bhaji Masala spices

Pav Bhaji Masala Powder

  • 5 black cardamoms 
  • ¼ cup coriander seeds 
  • 1/8 cup cumin seeds 
  • 1/8 cup whole black pepper 
  • 1 ½ TBS fennel seeds 
  • 10 whole red dry chilies 
  • 1 TBS ground cinnamon 
  • 2 TBS dry mango powder 

  1. Dry roast all the ingredients except mango powder and cinnamon for a few minutes on low to medium low heat until the spices release an aroma. 
  2. Add dry mango powder and cinnamon and roast another minute or so. 
  3. Remove from heat, cool thoroughly and grind using a spice grinder to a fine powder. 

This recipe makes a ton. Serves 6-8. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

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