Pav Bhaji

Soft bread rolls (Pav) served with a savoury mixed vegetable curry (Bhaji). A common take-out meal originating from the Maharashtra state of India, this is a great dish to prepare as a snack for a small crowd or as a filling family meal loaded with vegetables.

The vegetables are boiled, added to a temper and mashed. The result is a thick flavourful curry, perfect for spooning onto the fresh soft rolls. Without the addition of the green chillies this dish has a low to medium level of heat, so if you like spicy add the chillies. Normally we would encourage you to prepare your own masala, but Pav Bhaji Masala can contain more than a dozen different spices, so in this case it just makes more sense to buy a prepared masala blend.pavbhaji2

Quidee and I compared notes on our favourite bread-roll recipes only to discover her Pav recipe was nearly the same as the roll recipe I learned from my grandmother.  The world is small and love of bread is universal! These rolls are soft and buttery with a hint of sweetness that pairs perfectly with savoury dishes.pavbhaji3

Serve with a wedge of lime, diced onion and some green chutney. Use the pav as a tiny delicious plate on which to customize every bite to your taste, or like the perfect scoop to mop up the spicy goodness.

Pav Bhaji

Makes about 6 portions.

Bhaji Ingredients:

1 cup Cauliflower florets
1 Green Bell Pepper
3 Medium Potatoes
1 cup Peas
3 tsp. Salt
2 ½ cups Water
1 Medium Onion
1 cup Cilantro
4 Small Tomatoes
2 tbsp. Ginger Garlic Paste
2 Green Chilies
2 tbsp. Butter
½ tsp. Cumin Seed
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Kashmiri Chili Powder
2 tbsp. Pav Bhaji Masala

Pav Ingredients:

1 ½ cups Milk
4 ½ tsp. Instant Dry Yeast (2 Sachets)
2 tbsp. Sugar
4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Salt
5 tbsp. Melted Butter


  • Begin by preparing the pav:
    • Warm the milk until it is warm to the touch but not scalding.
    • To the milk add the yeast and sugar. Stir to combine and let the yeast activate.
    • Whisk together the flour and salt.
    • Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture and combine with your hands to a rough dough.
    • Add 4 tbsp. melted butter to the mixture. Reserve the remaining butter for brushing the tops.
    • Knead the dough for 4 to 5 minutes, stretching and folding until it is soft and smooth.
    • Let the dough rise in the oven with just the light on for heat until it has doubled.
    • Once doubled, press down the dough.
    • Cut into approximately 24 evenly sized chunks.
    • Roll the dough into smooth round balls and arrange in a greased baking dish.
    • Cover with a wet tea towel and let rise to double.
    • Preheat the oven to 4000F.
    • Bake on the middle rack for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
    • Remove from the oven, brush with melted butter and let cool.

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  • Peel and quarter the potatoes.
  • Dice the bell pepper.
  • In deep pot or a pressure cooker, add the cauliflower, bell pepper, potatoes, peas, 2 cups water and 1 tsp salt.
    • If using a pot, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender.
    • If using a pressure cooker, heat on high until the cooker begins to whistle.IMG_2785
  • Finely dice the onion, tomato, garlic and chilies.
  • In a wok or deep skillet, heat the butter on medium heat.
  • Add the cumin seed, garlic ginger paste to the wok and sauté about 3 minutes.
  • Add the onion and 1 tsp. salt to the wok, stir to combine and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until onion is browned.
  • To the wok add the tomato, stir to combine, cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • To the wok, add the Kashmiri chili powder and turmeric stir to combine. Add the green chilies at this time if desired.
  • Carefully add the vegetable mixture to the wok.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Add the masala mix and half the coriander
  • With a mixing spoon or ladle, gently mash the mixture until there is a course but even consistency.

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  • If the mixture is very thick add up to ½ cup of additional hot water to thin the mixture.
  • Stir in the butter and salt to taste.
  • To serve:
    • Slice the pav horizontally.
    • To a hot skillet, add a small amount of the Bhaji.
    • Place the pav in the skillet cut side down on top of the Bhaji and toast for 1 to 2 minutes. Move the pav around the skillet to absorb the liquid and crisp evenly around the edges.
    • Serve 3 to 4 of the pav per person, with a serving of the bhaji.
    • Additionally, serve with a wedge of lime, diced onion and green chutney.pavbhaji