Pav Bhaji — A Spicy Indian Appetizer

I could never understand why Pav Bhaji is called an appetizer because it is mostly eaten as main course meal. Even if it is gobbled as a piece de resistance, it never satisfies my hunger pangs!

But one thing is for sure… The bhaji is extremely tasty and spicy. Prepared with loads of vegetables; it is also good from nutrition point of view. People enjoy eating it along with fried pavs and butter. Ah!! It takes a whole lot of ingredients to make it but preparation is not that complicated. Why not try it at home instead of heading to market every time for relishing it…

Preparation time: 50-55 minutes

Serves: 5-6


15-20 pavs
2 tsp pav bhaji masala
5-6 tomatoes
4 medium sized potatoes
4-5 medium sized onions
Half a bowl peas
3-4 tsps vegetable oil
2-3 tsps butter (or as required)
Salt as per taste
2 tsps cumin powder
2 tsps ginger-garlic paste
5-6 green chillies (as spicy as you want)
1 ½ tsp red chilli powder
A tsp garam masala
2 medium sized capsicums
10-12 French beans
A handful of cauliflower florets
A tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp sugar
2 carrots
½ tsp lemon juice
A bunch of fresh cilantro

Recipe Pav Bhaji

Start with peas… They need to be cooked separately-boil them on medium heat in a pan until they become tender enough to be nibbled easily. You can also add a little salt while boiling. When done, stain water and mash the peas with a big spoon. Keep them aside; they will be used later.

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Wash capsicum, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, and French beans. Cut them into fine pieces. Set these aside too.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat vegetable oil. Chop onions finely and fry them in oil. Keep the gas-flame on medium heat. Fry until they become tender and acquire a golden reddish tint. As they get sautéed, add to them ginger-garlic paste. After blending it with onions, let it cook for a minute.

Supplement the mixture by adding tomatoes, coriander powder, turmeric, cumin powder, salt, and red chilli powder. Ladle well all. Stir the mixture intermittently until nice puree of tomatoes is formed. Frying should be continued until oil starts leaving the sides.

This is the time you add minced vegetables to the mixture. Don’t forget to add mashed peas. Cook these along with 2 cups of water. Check if the salt is as per your taste. Ad more of required. Increase the gas flame and let the mixture come to a boil. Lower the flame after that.

Start mashing the vegetables while they are getting cooked by pressing them with a scoop. Do until a nice and semi-solid gravy is formed of them. Dust pav bhaji masala all over the mixture. Mix in the sugar. Shut off the flame after about 5 minutes or so. Sprinkle garam masala over it and pour some lemon juice.

Before serving, garnish bhaji with chopped leaves of fresh cilantro.

Heat a skillet and pour butter over it. As it melts completely, fry a bun in it till it becomes crispy hot. Do the same for all the pavs.

Serve pavs with bhaji, mango pickle, long-sliced onions, and pudina chutney.

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