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Pav Bhaji

Extract from Chai, Chaat & Chutney • By Chetna Makan • Published by Mitchell Beazley


$ $ $ $ $
• • • • •

Chai, Chaat & Chutney
Serves 4

This is another very popular dish from Mumbai, which is
now found across India. My version is simple and healthy,
but there are many other ways you could make it. When eaten
on the streets, what makes this dish amazing is all the extra
butter they put on the pav and bhaji, but I have tried to
keep this to a minimum.

Posted by Octopus Publishing Published See Octopus Publishing's 53 projects » © 2022 Chetna Makan / Mitchell Beazley · Reproduced with permission. · Chai, Chaat & Chutney by Chetna Makan, is published by Mitchell Beazley £25 (, published 6 July 2017. Photography by Nahima Rothacker & Keith James.
  • Step 1

    To make the bhaji, heat
    the oil and butter in a wide
    saucepan over medium heat.
    Add the onion and cook
    for about 5 minutes, until it
    begins to soften. Stir in the
    tomatoes, grated cauliflower,
    green pepper and 250ml
    (8fl oz) of the measured water.
    Bring to a boil, then cover
    the pan with a lid and cook
    for 20 minutes, until the
    vegetables are cooked.
    Stir the salt and Pav Bhaji
    Masala into the pan and
    cook for 2 minutes, until
    well combined. Now stir in
    the grated potatoes and the
    remaining 350ml (12fl oz)
    measured water and cook
    for 10–12 minutes, until
    everything is cooked through.

  • Step 2

    Use a potato masher to mash
    the whole mixture while it is
    still in the pan, then cook for
    a final 2 minutes. Sprinkle over
    the coriander and as much
    extra butter as you would like
    and keep hot.
    To serve, melt 1 tablespoon
    of the butter in a frying pan
    over medium heat. Put the
    2 halves of 1 bread roll into
    the pan. Cook for 1 minute
    on each side, then remove
    from the pan. Repeat with the
    remaining rolls and butter.
    Serve the rolls with the
    piping-hot bhaji and lime
    wedges for squeezing over.

  • Step 3


    This spice blend is the key to producing great Pav Bhaji
    (see page 130) of distinct flavour. It combines some of the basic
    spices used in Indian cookery, but it’s the specific quantities
    of these spices that make it so different to other masalas.
    Try it in other dishes using lentils and meat, too.

    2 tablespoons coriander seeds
    1 tablespoon fennel seeds
    2 teaspoons cumin seeds
    1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
    4 dried red chillies
    seeds from 4 green cardamom pods
    2 cloves
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 whole mace
    1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    1 teaspoon mango powder

    Heat a dry frying pan over
    low heat. Add the coriander,
    fennel and cumin seeds along
    with the peppercorns, chillies,
    cardamom seeds, cloves,
    cinnamon and mace and toast
    for a few minutes, stirring
    occasionally, until the spices
    begin to change colour.
    Take the frying pan off the
    heat. Stir in the turmeric and
    mango powder, mix well and
    leave to cool.
    Transfer the mixture to a
    spice grinder and process
    the mixture to a fine powder.
    Transfer the spice blend to a
    clean, dry jar and store in a
    cool, dark place. Use within
    6 months.

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