Pav bhaji is a fast food dish that originated in Marathi cuisine.
It is native to Maharashtra and is popular in most metropolitan areas in India.
Pav in Marathi means a small loaf of bread. Bhaji in Marathi means vegetable dish. Pav bhaji consists of bhaji (a thick potato-based curry) garnished with coriander, chopped onion, and a dash of lemon and baked pav.
The pav is usually buttered on all sides.
The origin of this dish is traced to textile mill workers in Mumbai in the 1850s.
The mill workers used to have lunch breaks too short for a full meal, and a light lunch was preferred to a heavy one, as the employees had to return to strenuous physical labor after lunch. A vendor created this dish using items or parts of other dishes available on the menu. Later Roti or rice was replaced with pav.
Such is the popularity of this dish, that it is common to find it on the menu of most Indian restaurants serving fast food in Asia.
The recipe for Pav Bhaji varies greatly as it is essentially a fast food dish to be prepared quickly. The general procedure for making the bhaji remains the same. Potatoes are mashed on a flat griddle (tava), and made into a thick gravy after adding diced tomatoes, finely grilled onion, green peas and chopped capsicum (green bell pepper). Other assorted vegetables such as cauliflower and carrots are added. Garlic too is added at times to spice it up. A special blend of spices simply called the pav bhaji masala is added to this thick gravy giving pav bhaji it's authentic slightly orange brown color. The gravy is then allowed to simmer on the pan for a few minutes and is served hot in a flat dish with a tablespoon of butter on top.
The pav is heated on the griddle and buttered generously. The Bhaji is garnished with coriander and diced onions.