Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pav Bhaji

 Pav bhaji (also transliterated as pao bhaji and pau bhaji) is a classic fast food dish native to Maharashtrians and is popular in most metropolitan areas in India, particularly in the Maharashtrian city of Mumbai and Pune. "Pav" in Marathi means bread. "Bhaji" is a term for a curry and vegetable dish. 

The origin of this dish 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 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 that usually go with Indian bread or rice were amalgamated into just one spicy concoction-the 'bhaji'. 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. Such is popularity of this dish, that it is common to find it on the menu of most Indian restaurants serving fast food in Asia (especially Singapore, Hong Kong), America, UK (London), Switzerland and elsewhere.

It is consumed as a snack, between lunch and dinner, particularly by individuals in western India. Pav bhaji is available on hand carts. It is also available in almost all hotels and eateries. In recent years, pav bhaji is also being consumed as a light evening meal, and is also a party favorite.

To sum up its a fast food that is a dream of every mom- an ideal way of getting kids to eat a medley of veggies with no resistance!

So here's the classic Pav Bhaji with just one small twist. In addition to all the regular veggies used for this dish, I also use Drumstick/Moringa.

It is known to be a great source of calcium and a blood purifier.


Veggies 1

2 large potatoes
1 carrot
3 florets of cauliflower
1 drumstick

Veggies 2
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 onion minced
2 tomatoes minced
1/2  green pepper/capsicum minced
1/2 cup green peas
1-2 tsp Pav Bhaji masala
(availabe at stores, if you cant get it, it contains a combination of the following spices)
ground cumin
ground pepper
ground cardamom
chilli powder
ground fennel
ground cinnamon
salt to taste

To serve-
Lemon juice
freshly chopped coriander
Pav/ wholemeal buns


  • Boil "veggies1"- Cut the drumstick into 2 inches sticks and boil with other vegetables.
  • When done peel the potatoes, open the drumsticks and scoop out the flesh and seeds.
  • Then mash all the vegetables roughly.
  • Heat oil in a pan, saute the onions and garlic.
  • Add the green pepper and peas, cover and cook.
  • Add the tomatoes, cover and cook.
  • When "veggies2" are all cooked, add salt to taste and pav bhaji masala.
  • To this mixture add 1/4 cup water and the mashed veggies1.
  • Stir till well combined.
  • Switch off the heat
To Serve-

  • Slit the buns in the centre, butter them and toast lightly on a girdle/tawa, till they are crisp on one side.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over the bhaji, garnish with freshly chopped coriander.
  • Drop a cube of butter in the centre. This is placed over the pipping hot bhaji such that it melts and infuses into the dish before your eyes.


  1. I enjoyed learning the history and this looks very yummy, can't wait to try!

  2. this looks great. I have some drumsticks in the freezer. Just to be clear, I boil them, scrape out flesh and seeds and then can use both flesh and seeds? Haven't used them yet because I've been a little unsure as to how to prepare them.

  3. oh yummy love this my sis in laws fav the competition is only for the US so sorry love rebecca

  4. I love how your fast food involves tons of veggies while ours involve tons of fat. This sounds delicious!

  5. This looks interesting. By googling I learned drumsticks are very nutritious, look a bit like green beans and taste like asparagus or mushrooms. I'll have to check at my Indian store but I have never been too impressed with the quality of their produce.

  6. What a colourful, refreshing, healthy and delicious dish. I can eat a big plate.

  7. Hi Shirley, I got this link from orkut communities. You have got a very nice blog here. And very practical recipes. I am waiting for the vacation to try all of it. Kids will love them. Thanks for enriching our lives. The name is worth it :-)

  8. Always loved it when Mom made Pav bhaji.. I make it on some weekends for a light snack. Never used drumsticks before; never liked them as a kid. Will kids eat them as willingly as they would lap up the rest of the bhaji?

  9. This is a really delicious dish and your pictures are so vibrant!
    Is it not wonderful how simply prepared and tasty dishes got their humble beginnings with the working people? I love dishes like this!

  10. Hi Shirley, oh yes, I have seen a few pau bhajis on the Internet and they all look really delicious. Yours is no exception!

  11. I've eaten those drumsticks before, long, long ago, can't recall the taste though. Your dish looks nice, I like the bread!

  12. Kathy,
    Yes you boil,scrape and use flesh and seeds. Just keep in mind that the drumsticks are green and fleshy, if they turn dry the seeds turn bitter.
    Welcome! Good to see you. Thank you for your kind comments.Do check out other recipes and enjoy yourself.
    That's the whole idea! Pav bhaji is a good way of getting a veggie as nutritious as the drumstick down even without knowing it.
    Christy, Nazarina, Ju,
    Welcome! Good to see you!

  13. what a great recipe!!!! I will have to try this



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