Pav Bhaji: After a fashion

Mallika Basu - Pav Bhaji: After a fashion

Posted 15th May 2008

I’ve been hooked on a riveting BBC3 series lately.

It’s a simple idea. Take a bunch of asinine kids hooked on cheap throwaway fashion. Subject them to the reality of the Indian apparel manufacture industry. And watch them recoil at the horror of having to work 14-hour shifts, in dingy factories alongside child labourers.

When they end up in the dark alleyways of Mumbai, one of the kids remarks on what a service they are doing by buying the cheap clothes in the first place – providing jobs to these workers.

No shit, Einstein!

Consider this. Never mind ethical labelling. Buy what clothes should actually cost and give the workers half a chance. For every £3 bargain basement top, somebody is paying the price!

Something to mull over while I bite into this Mumbai street food classic Pav Bhaji, a moreish vegetable curry served with buttered bread rolls, fresh coriander, onions and liberally doused with lemon juice.

Much as I hate using ready mixed recipe masalas, the Pav Bhaji one calls for 15 masalas to source, roast and grind. Stick to the ready stuff from ethnic shops and save the time for something more worthy instead.

Feeds 4:

2 medium potatoes
1 large carrot
15-20 green beans
Handful of peas
2 medium onions
2 garlic cloves
Half inch ginger
2 medium tomatoes
3 tsp Pav Bhaji masala
2 lemon wedges
4 white bread rolls/baps
Handful of fresh coriander
2 tbsp sunflower oil
4 tsp butter
Salt to taste

First make the bhaji or curry.

Peel and chop the raw carrots, potatoes and tomatoes into small bite sized pieces. Cut the ends off the green beans and slice into one-centimetre long pieces. Chop one onion, the ginger and garlic into little pieces.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil until sizzling. Fry the onion, ginger and garlic on a high flame for two minutes until brown all over. Chuck in the potatoes, carrots and tomatoes and stir for a minute .

Now add the Pav Bhaji masala powder, enough hot water to submerge the veg, cover and cook for five minutes until the potatoes are translucent at the edges but still uncooked.

At this stage, mix in the raw beans and peas, mix well, re-cover and keep cooking until the potatoes fall apart when probed with a fork. Add salt to taste and mash the vegetables roughly. The dish should have a moist, thick gravy.

Now prepare the Pav or bread. On another frying pan or flat griddle pan, heat one teaspoon of butter. Cut the bread rolls into half and toast lightly on the inside.

Serve the bhaji hot with the buttered bread, fresh coriander, lemon wedges and a sprinkling of chopped onion.

PS = Many make this with pre-cooked veggies. But you know how much I hate adding an extra level of effort when it comes to pre-cooking.

PPS = Saying that, this is a great way to use leftover steamed veggies. Just make the onion and tomato curry base and mix in the veg.

15 responses to “Pav Bhaji: After a fashion”

  1. Swineshead says:

    Thanks for the link. Can you make me some dinner please?

  2. Asha says:

    Oh, I could eat Pav Bhaji any time of the day, looks yum!
    Have a great weekend!:))

  3. mycookinghut says:

    Hmmm..never had this before. Need to try out!

  4. ranji says:

    pav bhaji is my fav…looks delcious!!!

  5. Sonal says:

    And this recipe is not from the back of the spice packet :-)Thanks for the recipe, Mallika!
    Have a good weekend!

  6. Sonal says:! I just read the links to the TV show from your website. I wish there was a solution to child labor, but its a double edged sword. What do you think?

  7. That looks tasty as ever Mallika! Thanks for a thought provoking post to go with it.

  8. Eeshani says:


    I LOVE your blog. I’m a “probashi Bangali”, just like yourself, and somewhere down in the line, had forgotten how easy it can be to cook Indian food. Thanks for reminding me and for all the great recipes!


  9. bharat says:


    I was browsing another blog site, “Salsa samosas and smore!
    here in the US and , one click after the other i discovered ur blog!, great recipes! Thanks

  10. […] idea of making Pav Bhaji originated a few weeks back, when I read this post on Mallika’s blog. Additionally, I saw the note on Monsoon Spice, about Street Food […]

  11. […] the delights of fashionable clothes shopping. All appropriately sourced and reassuringly expensive. Naturally. So I sneaked a look at the magazine the girl next to me on the train was reading. Floral is in. So […]

  12. Deepa says:

    Hi! I am new to your site. It’s lovely!! The pav bhaaji looks great. It’s been a long time since we made it. Meanwhile, what pav bhaaji masala do you use? Everest? Or Badshah? Something else? Just curious. Thanks. –Deepa

  13. Mallika says:

    Hi Deepa – I’ll use any make. It was a night mare getting hold of anyway. My local Pakistaning shop had never even heard of Pav Bhaji!

  14. Mallika says:

    Sorry, That’s Pakistani…

  15. Harsh Rana says:

    hey mallika.. thanks for this easy recipe.. i never thought id ever be able to make authentic and delicious pav bhaji.. the pav changed places with pita.. but it was yumm nevertheless..

    thanks again. this blog of yours is great for us foodies whose culinary skills are anything but great..

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