Pav Bhaji – A quintessential Mumbai Street Food Delight made Vegan

Pav Bhaji – A quintessential Mumbai Street Food delight that is chock full of veggies and made into an indulgent treat with generous lashings of butter. Today’s recipe is a vegan version of this treat.

Pav Bhaji

Today has me longing to get back to normal. Back to the days where we could travel freely, explore, meet up with loved ones and all that good stuff. It’s probably the weather, which is cold, wet and grey here in Sydney. It’s days like this that also have me longing for some comfort food. For me, personally, comfort food changes from time to time. Sometimes, its a big bowl of soup, other times its a big bowl of steamed broccoli. I know, right! Broccoli = comfort food? At times I wonder whether thats normal. Well that’s a mystery for another day, but on more normal days, comfort food is usually Indian food and more often than not, the Street Food kind.

Today, I’m going to treat you to one of my favourites – the good ol’ Mumbai style Pav Bhaji. Never heard of it before? Well, there’s 2 components to it Pav – bread (not any bread, but a dinner roll thats split in two, buttered and lightly toasted.) and Bhaji – a mixed vegetable mash that has been cooked in butter with some beautiful, mild, but warming spices and topped off with some more butter. Usually the bread is toasted on the same pan the veggies are cooked on and it absorbs some of the flavours of the veggie mix, but today we’re keeping things simple. I’m just going to use another pan.

Pav Bhaji - Pav
Buttered and lightly toasted Bread Rolls

If you’d like to try your hand at making some delicious Laadi Pav, try this recipe out. It works like a charm. In the spirit of keeping things simple, I’m just using some store-bought bread rolls today.

The Bhaji or vegetable mix is a really versatile component. Everyone that makes a Pav Bhaji, has their own version. A lot of recipes call for a Pav Bhaji Masala. You can find this at almost any Indian grocery store, but I usually refrain from buying something like this spice mix that has just one use. And seeing how Pav Bhaji is an indulgent treat, we don’t make it very often. So after some experimenting, I figured out a combination of simple spices that works really well. The best part is that these spices are really common and if you cook Indian food, you most likely already have them in your kitchen.

So let’s get cooking.

Pav Bhaji (a Vegan version)

Recipe by Trisha VazCourse: MainCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Pav Bhaji – A quintessential Mumbai Street Food delight that is chock full of veggies and made into an indulgent treat with generous lashings of butter. Today’s recipe is a vegan version of this treat.


  • 1 potato, peeled and cubed

  • 1 carrot, cubed

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets

  • 1 cup green peas

  • 1 teaspoon oil

  • 3 tablespoons of butter, plus more to butter the bread

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1/2 green capsicum, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder (or any other mild variety)

  • 1 teaspoon + 1/2 tsp garam masala powder

  • 1/4 cup Passata

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

  • Fresh coriander, chopped

  • 5-10 bread rolls (This depends on the size of the bread rolls as well as portion sizes, which on an average may be 1-2 rolls per person)

  • Toppings –
  • Butter

  • Onion, finely chopped

  • Fresh coriander finely chopped

  • Some lemon / lime wedges

    The amount of each of these toppings depends on how much you’d like to add to each portion.


  • Boil the potato, carrot, cauliflower and green peas in sufficient water and a little salt (I use about 1/2 teaspoon of salt) till tender.
    (I use a stovetop pressure cooker and this typically takes me 10 minutes. This will vary depending on your pressure cooker.)
  • Heat the oil in a large pan and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the onions for a couple of minutes till they start softening.
  • Add the chopped capsicum and cook till they soften a little.
  • Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute.
  • Next, add the turmeric, freshly cracked black pepper and chilly powder and 1 teaspoon of garam masala powder. Stir well and let the spices cook off for a minute, making sure they don’t burn.
  • Add the Passata and stir through. Cook this mix for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the boiled vegetables to the pan and stir through. Add a little cooking liquid (from the boiled vegetables) about 1/4 cup. Let this cook off for about 8-10 minutes. If needed, add small amounts of the vegetable stock to get the desired consistency. You don’t want it very runny, but you are looking for a loose consistency.
    (Please see the recipe video below.)
  • Using a potato masher, mash all the vegetables to a chunky mash consistency.
  • Check for seasoning and add more salt, as needed.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala powder and stir through.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter and stir through. Take the pan off the heat.
  • Split the bread rolls in two and butter both sides and toast off lightly. The bread is best buttered and toasted just before serving, so toast as many as you intend serving immediately.
  • To serve, spoon out a portion of the Bhaji, top with a knob of butter, some chopped onion and fresh coriander and some lime / lemon juice. Serve hot with the buttered and toasted bread.


Recipe Video


  • Cooking time will depend on how you boil your vegetables. It takes me about 10 minutes in my pressure cooker. Your pressure cooker may take longer or if you’re cooking it in a pot on the stove, it could take longer. Please consider this while calculating cooking time overall.
  • Leftover bhaji keeps well. Reserve some of the vegetable stock in a little jar and refrigerate along with the bhaji. The next day, heat the bhaji on the stovetop. If it is too thick, add a splash of the reserved vegetable stock to get the desired consistency.
  • The bread is best buttered and toasted just before serving. So toast only as many as you intend serving immediately.

Bombay Street Food Special #12 – Papdi Chaat

Now that you can make the very tantalizing Sev Puri at home, I’m eager to show you how to step this already amazing treat up a notch, into something spectacular. The trick is adding a little whipped yogurt. That’s it. So basically, without the yogurt you have what we call Sev Puri and with the yogurt, you have a completely different treat called Papdi Chaat. That’s how easy and simple it is.

The trick to a good papdi chaat is getting the right balance with the whipped yogurt. Unfortunately, there is no accurate measure here, because the tartness of the yogurt varies greatly. You could use regular pot set yogurt or greek yogurt here, either way, it has to be plain, unflavored and unsweetened yogurt. I start off with half a cup of yogurt for a single plate of chaat or 1 cup for 2 plates or portions. Trust me here, you’d rather have more of the whipped yogurt dip at hand, instead of falling short or running out of it.

So let’s get straight to it then. The list below is an approximation. You add as much or as little of each of the ingredients to suit your preferences. The quantities below make one plate or 1 portion. You can easily double or multiply the quantities to make more. Also I used chickpeas here, you could use boiled potato instead or a combination of both.

Papdi Chaat
For 1 portion

6-7 puris (also called Papdi)
1/2 cup boiled / canned chickpeas, roughly mashed
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/4 tomato, finely diced
Mint Chutney
Date and Tamarind Chutney
Fresh coriander, chopped
Some chaat masala / amchur (dried mango) powder
1/2 cup plain, unflavoured and unsweetened yogurt
A pinch of salt
Sugar, to taste (superfine sugar)

To make this chaat, start off my making the yogurt whip. The mixed yogurt needs to sit for about 5 minutes for the flavor to develop.

Place the yogurt, a scant pinch of salt and 1 tsp sugar and stir together to combine. Taste and add more sugar if you need to. You are looking for a slightly tangy, slightly sweet taste with a faint hint of saltiness as well. If your yogurt is not too tart, start with 1/2 tsp sugar and add more if needed. Set the bowl aside while you assemble the chaat.

Place your puris on your serving plate.

(These puris can be made at home. I haven’t tried making them yet. For now, I use the store bought version. I get mine in packets that look like the one below).

Over the puris, arrange the mashed chickpeas in a layer. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the chickpeas layer but here’s one of the boiled potato slices. The trick here too is to not overload the puris. They will get difficult to manage.

Top that with the chopped onion. Use as much or as little as you like. But make sure you use some.

Top this with some chopped tomato.

Now add your green mint chutney. I would start of with small quantities of this as this is on the spicy side.

Now you add the Date and Tamarind Chutney. This is the sweet and tangy stuff, so feel free to add some.

At this stage, add a dollop of the whipped yogurt on each puri. I like a little extra yogurt on mine, but go with what you think you’d enjoy.

The next layer uses sev. Sev is basically little fried crispy noodles made out of chickpea flour. Again, this can be made at home, but I haven’t tried that yet. I simply use a store bought packet.

Add a layer of the sev to the puris.

It’s almost done. But there are a couple of flourishes that will take this treat to a whole new level. Sprinkle the puris with a pinch of chaat masala / amchur powder. Use this sparingly as a little goes a long way. Lastly garnish with some freshly chopped coriander.

Serve immediately.

There is only one way to eat these puris. You get a whole puri with its toppings in your mouth at one go.