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Food is the basic necessity we work for.. And decades back in Mumbai, this seemed to be the problem. Lunch breaks for workers of textile mills would fall short for the full meal and hence arrived a new dish "Paav Bhaji". It is well said "Necessity is the mother of inventions" !!

Paav Bhaji

Paav Bhaji – A part of every Mumbaikar


The origin of Paav Bhaji is traced to the heyday of the textile mills in Mumbai. 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. Roti or rice was replaced with pav and the curries were amalgamated into the delicious spicy ‘bhaji’.


Recipe – Paav Bhaji

Serves: 4

30 minutes for preparation, 60 minutes for cooking


  • 3 large size potatoes
  • 2 large size tomatoes
  • 2 large size onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 green chilies
  • 5 florets cauliflower
  • 1 carrot
  • 10 french beans
  • 6 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoon garam masala
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 4 pairs Paav Bun

Pav Bhaji - 1Method:

  1. Boil the potatoes and let them cool.
  2. Peel the garlic and crust it a bit, do not make it a paste; we need to get the flavor in the paav bhaji recipe with the garlic just crushed.
  3. Slice the onions, chilies and tomatoes in small pieces.
  4. Cut the florets of cauliflower, carrots and french beans into medium size pieces.

Part I:

  1. Put two spoons of butter in a frying pan and let it melt (Do not let it turn to ghee, only melt it a bit).
  2. Add the crushed garlic in the just melted butter and saute it.
  3. Do not let the garlic turn red. Add onions that were cut in small pieces and mix them till they turn pinkish in color.
  4. Now add the tomatoes and mix them till the tomatoes soften.
  5. Add green chilies, salt as per taste and garam masala.
  6. Do not add too much of the masala lest you end up making a very spicy paav bhaji.
  7. Remove the pan from the gas stove and let it cool.

Part II:

  1. Cut the peeled boiled potatoes, cauliflower and carrot is small cubes, and french beans into small pieces (Please note: you can add more vegetables if you want).
  2. Put two spoons of butter in a frying pan.
  3. Add cauliflower and carrot to it and let it saute too.
  4. Add the sliced potatoes to it and keep stirring till all the vegetables are well mixed.
  5. When done add the french beans and let it saute too.
  6. Now add the sliced boiled potatoes to it and keep stirring till all the vegetables are well mixed.
  7. Add some salt to it, remember you have added salt to remaining stuff in Part I too. S
  8. o be careful with the amount of salt you add.
  9. When all the vegetables are 80 percent cooked and well mixed and remove it from the gas.

Part III:

  1. Take a flat frying pan or a tawa and add 1 spoon of butter to it.
  2. Add the vegetables prepared in Part II to it and collect them in a circular shape.
  3. Now add the mixture prepared in Part I along the sides of the vegetable.
  4. Add half glass of water to it and let it cook on low flame.
  5. This will make the bhaji cook at its own pace absorbing each and every spice to its taste.
  6. Slowly start mixing some of the vegetables (Part II) and some of the mixture (Part I) on its side and mash them with a spatula as you mix them. Let it cook again for a few minutes.
  7. Do the above steps slowly and patiently. Do not turn the flame to high lest you burn the spices and end up with a bitter tasting paav bhaji.
  8. Keep adding half glass of water whenever you see that the water has dwindled and let it cook again.
  9. The whole process of cooking this bhaji will take around 35-45 minutes.
  10. Once you receive a consistency in the grave and the color add half glass of water and let it boil.
  11. Stir it once and then remove it from the gas stove. Garnish it with coriander leaves.
  12. You are now ready with the bhaji part of paav bhaji.

Part IV:

  1. After you remove the bhaji from the pan in Part III, add 1 table spoon of butter to the bun and keep the gas flame to medium heat.
  2. Take the pav/bun and cut them into two equal halves.
  3. Place the sliced buns in the pan and let them soak the butter and get a slight reddish color.
  4. Remove the buns from the pan and serve them with hot bhaji.

This ends giving you a delicious paav bhaji!!

Pav Bhaji - 3

Recipe By: Priya Chepte

Image By: Yogesh Singh

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