Pav Bhaji


Pav bhaji is a classic Indian street food of lightly spicy mashed-vegetable-and-tomato sauce seasoned with warming spices, serrano chiles, and ginger. Served with buttery, toasted rolls, it’s hearty enough to stand in for a full meal.

Pan Bahji Recipe
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Thom Driver
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins


  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cauliflower florets

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots

  • 1 cup chopped green cabbage

  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen English peas

  • 1 cup chopped peeled russet potato

  • 6 1/2 cups water, divided, plus more if needed

  • 2 tablespoons pav bhaji masala (such as MDH), divided

  • 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (10 ounce), divided

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red onion, plus more for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh serrano chile

  • 1/2 cup tomato paste

  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chile powder or Hungarian hot paprika

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish

  • 12 Soft dinner rolls (such as Martin’s Dinner Potato Rolls or King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls), split, buttered, and toasted


  1. Place cauliflower, bell pepper, carrots, cabbage, peas, potato, 6 cups water, 1 tablespoon pav bhaji masala, and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; set aside.

  2. Melt 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high until butter is bubbling. Add onion, garlic, and ginger; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, serrano chile, and remaining 1/2 cup water; cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, red chile powder, and remaining 1 tablespoon pav bhaji masala; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is the consistency of chunky tomato sauce, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add drained cauliflower mixture; mash using a potato masher until mixture resembles the consistency of chili, adding water as needed to loosen.

  3. Stir lemon juice, cilantro, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt into vegetable mixture in skillet. Cook over medium, stirring often, until mixture is warmed through, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Divide among 6 bowls; top each with 1 tablespoon butter. Garnish with additional red onion and cilantro, and serve with dinner rolls.

Make Ahead

Bhaji vegetable mixture can be covered and chilled up to 2 days.

Suggested Pairing

Fresh, zesty rosé.

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