Pav Bhaji

Written By Reena on 5 Feb 2010 | 05:00

Steve and I will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary on Monday!  I would claim it is a miracle that we have made it this long (especially given the amount that we bicker) but actually I think Steve is a saint for putting up with all of my oddities.

Joan and Bryan (my mother-in-law and her husband) have recently transferred the footage of our wedding in Gujarat onto DVD and it has been a fantastic trip down memory lane reliving each day of the wedding celebrations.  One of my fondest memories is Bryan tucking into more food than seemed humanly possible at one of the ceremonies.   Joan had been concerned that Bryan couldn't live on vegetables alone during his stay in Gujarat - in fact he was vegan for five days and he certainly didn't starve!

This recipe is for a dish that was served during the course of the five day celebration.  It is aromatic, comforting, street food.  Bryan - I can't claim that it is as good as the food that we ate in India but I hope that you enjoy it.

Serves 4

  • 2 medium potatoes - peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 large onion - finely chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons light tasting vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic - crushed
  • 5 grams root ginger - peeled and finely grated
  • 1 small green chilli - finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 
  • 2 cloves 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 400g chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander-cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 80g shelled garden peas
  • 8 soft white bread rolls 
  • 5g of chopped coriander leaves
  1. Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes or until cooked.
  2. Set aside 40 grams of the chopped onion for garnishing.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and cook the remaining onion until soft and transparent.
  4. Next add the the garlic, ginger, green chilli, cinnamon,  fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, cloves,  fennel seeds and star anise into the pan and stir.  Let this mixture cook for a minute or two.
  5. Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir.  
  6. Now add the salt, chilli powder, coriander-cumin powder, turmeric, garam masala and lemon juice.  Stir well.  Place a lid on the pan and let it cook for a few minutes.
  7. In the meantime place the peas in a bowl with a tablespoon of water.  Cover the bowl and cook on the highest setting in the microwave for a minute.
  8. Mash the cooked potatoes.
  9. Add both the potatoes and the peas to the pan and mix thoroughly.  Place the lid on the pan and let it cook on a low heat for a further five minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.  Stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the pan.
  10. When you are ready to serve, lightly toast the bread rolls.  If you are not vegan you can butter the rolls to give a richer flavour.
  11. Serve hot with the rolls and garnish with the remaining chopped onions and the coriander.

About Reena


  1. Hi Reena,
    We made the pav bhaji the other day without the chilli powder so we could give it to our almost 21/2 yr old and she LOVED it! It was simple and delicious.. yet again, you inspire me to cook more. We had a dinner party last Saturday for 8 and one of your dishes was the killer chicken curry... huge hit! Thanks again!


  2. Hi Smrithi. That's a fantastic idea - I guess it does look like baby food! Keep cooking and stay in touch. Reena

  3. Me dan tantas ganas de probar esta deliciosa comid o de hacerla, pero en mi pais no vende muchos de los ingrdientes que mencionas, vivo en Guatemala a la par de Mexico.........:(

  4. I am so sorry you can't obtain the ingredients. Next time you are in London let me know and I'll cook it for you! Take care. Reena