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  • Writer's pictureAvni R.

Non-Traditional Pav Bhaji

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

I come to you with another one of the bestie’s mom’s recipes aka Mina Auntie if you didn’t see my last post! She made her Pav Bhaji while I was visiting and it was another dish I fell in love with. I ended up eating it 3 days in a row! I call this "non-traditional" because her recipe uses different vegetables and not the usual (no onion or even bell pepper), but it is insanely delicious! This one contains eggplant amongst other veggies and I pretty much hate eggplant, but I’d never guess it was in there. So even though the veggies are different than the traditional pav bhaji, you really can't tell the difference - it's all mashed anyway! I personally feel that the masala is really the game changer. 

Mina Auntie adds a twist on her Pav Bhaji by topping it off with a lasan (garlic) chutney that is soo bomb and spicy! I’d never had Pav Bhaji with chutney prior to this and it was kinda life changing - forgive me if I’m late to go the game! I’ve included the recipe for this as well in here.

Anyway, this recipe yields a lot - I thought the vegetables would shrink down and it wouldn’t be as much as it ended up being but I was wrong. I ended up removing a third of it and made it with only oil (omitting the ghee & butter) to make it vegan for some friends of mine. It ended up being equally delicious! So if you follow a vegan diet then you too can do the same!

Since it’s only my husband and I, the remaining non-vegan 2/3 of the batch was still left for us! We obviously can’t finish that much so I was able to freeze enough for two containers worth (enough to have two different times). It freezes and reheats just fine.

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I have!


Non-Traditional Pav Bhaji


For the Pav Bhaji:

  • 2 tbsp ghee

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds

  • 1 russet potato, medium size, peeled & roughly chopped

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled & roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cauliflower head*, broken into florets

  • 1/2 green cabbage*, roughly chopped/shredded

  • 1 cup green peas

  • 5 vine-ripened tomatoes (as ripe as possible), puréed

  • 2-3 tsp salt (adjust to taste)

  • 3 tbsp butter

  • 3 tbsp garlic paste

  • 2-3 tsp red chili powder (adjust to how spicy you like it)

  • Soft bread (brioche, sliced Italian roll, soft French rolls, or even hamburger/hot dog buns)

*I know I’ve written half a head of cauliflower and half a cabbage but I actually ended up using the pre-cut/pre-packaged ones. I got the 10 oz. pack of cauliflower florets and an 8 oz. bag of coleslaw so it also contained a few carrot shreds. If you’d like to add carrots that’s fine as well. This recipe once again does not have onions but you can add them in if you prefer, just toss them in and sauté in the oil until golden brown with the mustard seeds prior to adding the tomato purée.

Lasan (garlic) chutney:

  • 20 cloves of garlic

  • 2-3 inches of ginger

  • 1/4 red chili powder (extra spicy if you have it)

  • 1 heaping tbsp tomato paste

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil


  • Finely diced onions

  • Finely diced tomatoes

  • Chopped cilantro

  • Lemon or lime wedge

  • Lasan Chutney

Directions for Pav Bhaji:

1. Add potato, eggplant, cauliflower, cabbage, and peas plus 1 cup water to Instant Pot and pressure cook for 10 minutes on high pressure then open the valve to quick release the pressure when done. (If using a pressure cooker, then cook for 2 whistles and naturally release the pressure). You don’t have to drain any water. Open the lid and mash using a potato masher, you can mash it smooth or leave it a little chunky if you like. Set aside.

**Tip: your mashed veggies and puréed tomato ratio should be equal**

2. In a large pot on medium heat, add oil and ghee. When hot, add mustard seeds. Once they start sputtering, add in the tomato purée. Stir quickly to incorporate the oil-ghee mixture. Simmer for about 6-8 minutes, enough to get rid of the raw tomato flavor while stirring frequently.

3. Next, add in the mashed vegetables, Pav Bhaji masala and salt. Mix well and simmer for 6-8 minutes. Let some of the water burn out.

4. While the Pav Bhaji simmers, in a small sauté pan, heat the butter. Once melted and hot, add garlic and sauté on medium-low heat for 4-6 minutes. Sauté until raw garlic smell is gone and barely started to brown, then add red chili powder and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes. Add this chili-garlic butter mix into the Pav Bhaji and mix well. Simmer for about 5 more minutes.

5. Remove from heat and it’s now ready to serve! Garnish with any or all of the above toppings. The lasan chutney is KEY, it’s soo bomb! Serve with hot buttered, grilled bread!

Lasan (garlic) chutney:

1. Blend garlic cloves and ginger into minced paste. Set aside.

2. In a small pot over medium heat, add oil. Once hot, add garlic-ginger paste. Turn heat to medium-low and sauté for 6-8 minutes. Don’t let it brown.

3. Next, add in the red chili powder, tomato paste, salt and sauté for an additional 3-4 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature and store in glass jar. You can store this in the fridge, it’ll keep for a while since it has an abundance of oil in it.

This chutney is good on sandwiches, wraps, pizza, and even other Indian food!


Thanks again for following, hope you guys love this recipe as it’s one of my favorites! Don’t forget to tag me (@thecurriedcook) in your posts if you make my recipes!

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