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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.

May 2020


Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Recipe Summary test

1 hr 10 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.