Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Pav Bhaji With Madelynn

Hello my dear friends! How are you all doing? If you celebrate during this time of the year, how has the holiday season been for you?

For the holidays, I wanted to give my dear friend Madelynn a recipe of an Indian dish she really enjoys. But I thought--it would be even better to make it with her, and then give her the recipe (and even more food to take home with her, of course :)).

Doesn't she look like a sweetheart? It's because she is ;D.

So we made Pav Bhaji. I've made this a few times for potlucks and group gatherings, and it's usually been a crowdpleaser. Since it's beloved by many that I know, I decided that my first post would be on this as well.

Pav Bhaji is a street food you find in India. Normally, you'd have two buttered, square buns, called pav, with a mish mash of spicy vegetables, called bhaji. You can also call it Bhaji Pav if you wish. This is all garnished with limes, cilantro, and chopped onions for taste. The base is usually made out of regular potatoes, but my mother adds sweet potatoes for a bit of a sweeter, and even more colorful, dish. 

You can use any type of bread or bun. I used bread slices, because my family and I won't be able to finish all the buns before leaving to travel (We're going to India--which means we'll have even more food like this, hopefully!). Plus, you have to go to an Indian grocery store to find the Pav Bhaji buns, and I only invest in that if a lot of people will be eating. 

 If you're foraying into Indian cooking for the first time, this is a relatively easy recipe to start with. 

All you have to do is take the various vegetables--potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, and cauliflower--and chop them. You'll end up cooking them in a pressure cooker, if you have one on hand, with spices. 

You can cook it in a covered pot as well; it just takes longer.

 Once it's cooked, you'll mash it with a masher and add more of the spices--pav bhaji masala, which is imperative to have for this recipe, so if you don't have it, go to your closest Indian store (or friend) and get some; red chilli pepper; and salt.

You'll also add some cooked green peppers and peas that you cook on the side, but don't cook them for too long. You want them to give your dish crunch and color.

The bhaji is placed in a traditional Pav Bhaji Plate, with 3 spots: one for the bun, one for the bhaji and one for the garnish.

Garnish with cilantro, and then just add spices, lime, and onion to taste. 

Toast some buttered bread or put buns on the griddle, and spread some of the deliciousness on it. 

See? Super Simple. 

This photo is from another time, when Madelynn had come with a few of my other friends. I was too hungry to take a photo of her while we were eating this time around!

I would love to hear how this recipe goes for you! I'm sure it'l be wonderful. 

Pav Bhaji Recipe

Serving Size: 4-6

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes


  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c. cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/2 or 3/4 c. peeled eggplant, chopped (optional, though I think it gives a better texture to the bhaji)
  • 1/2 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium/large potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4-6 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 c. green peppers
  • a handful of green peas
  • approx 2 tbsp. oil
  • approx 1/2 stick of butter
  • about 2 limes
  • salt
  • Pav Bhaji masala
  • red chilli pepper
  • cilantro, for garnish

Note 1: 

This dish, like many other Indian dishes, is very flexible. It's okay to have more of one vegetable, and less of another--so long as you have enough tomatoes to make it mashable, and enough potatoes to keep it together. In the dish I made with Madelynn today, I didn't put eggplant in it.

I would suggest it if you have it on hand, however. You can also add cabbage, but I think it becomes a bit too watery if you do. I prefer it without.


  1. Chop all the veggies. It doesn't matter how; they'll get mashed.
  2. In pressure cooker or large pot, pour just enough oil to cook your onions and garlic properly. It should cover the bottom of the pot, but no more than that.
  3. Place your onions and garlic in the pot. Add some salt and chlli pepper, and sauté for a few minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, and sauté for a few more minutes.
  5. Add the rest of the vegetables--except for the chopped green peppers and peas--and roughly 2 heaping spoonfuls of pav bhaji masala. Add about a spoonful more of chili pepper.  Note 2: In Indian cooking, there is never an exact measurement of spices. You just put as much as you'd like, based on how you want your dish to taste. I very rarely will write out the amount of spices you need, because I honestly don't even know. I just taste test often.
  6. Cover the pot. If using a pressure cooker, let 2 whistles pass on medium heat. Turn the heat off and wait for a third whistle. If using a regular pot--cover and cook on medium until the vegetables are mashable and tender. This might be 20-30 minutes.
  7. In another, smaller pot, heat ghee or butter. Place chopped green peppers and peas. Cook until shiny yet crunchy.
  8. Open the pressure cooker or large pot, and mash the bhaji with a masher. Add more spices, salt, and lime. Pour the green peppers and peas in the large pot, and mix. Add 1/4-1/2 stick of butter, and mix again.
  9. Taste test once again. The way I know it's ready is that I taste the flavor of spices, instead of the flavors of the vegetables, when I first eat it. I feel like I put at least 1/2 c. of the Pav Bhaji masala in it.
  10. Garnish with cilantro.
  11. Butter bread slices and cook. Spread the Bhaji onto the bread, adding extra lime, cilantro, or chopped white onion to taste. Share with family and friends, and enjoy!

            Much Love,