Pav Bhaji Masala (Spice Mix)
The joy of adding your own homemade spice powders to any dish that you are making at home is unmatched. This is the reason I at least try and prepare mine at home. Just like this Pav Bhaji Masala, a spice mix that is essential for the famous Mumbai street food special recipe of Pav Bhaji. With this amazing Pav Bhaji Masala recipe, you’ll be able to make this spice mix easily at home.
More on Pav Bhaji Masala
Speak of Mumbai and you cannot let go without mentioning the most popular Pav Bhaji served on the streets here.
It is basically a buttery, spiced mashed vegetable mix cooked with a typical spice powder called the Pav Bhaji Masala, and served with butter toasted pavs or dinner rolls. Delicious from the word go!
This strong and fragrant homemade Pav Bhaji Masala recipe is going to make it all the more easier for you to prepare the pav bhaji, just like the ones available outside. It ain’t no secret to rustle up that perfect pav bhaji anymore.
This spice mix will definitely make it better. Moreover my recipe does not give you a spicy or pungent masala like the packaged ones.
I make this Pav Bhaji Masala by altering the proportions of the garam masala and adding a few more ingredients to it.
The end result is a masala which is not spicy or pungent and so amazing and powerful that it takes the flavors of the pav bhaji (or whatever it is added to) notches high. Phenomenal is the word!
The recipe card in this post has all the quantities (in grams, cups, tablespoons) of spices to be used for this Pav Bhaji Masala recipe.
Once prepared, besides using it obviously for pav bhaji, you can add a dash of this spice mix in your veggie stir fries or sautéed vegetables, masala rice, Tawa Pulao and Masala Pav.
Tips Before You Begin
This Pav Bhaji Masala recipe is fairly simple and not requires not much efforts. These following suggestions are going to help you further:
- Check Spices: When working with the spices, check whether there are any stones in them. They have to be perfectly clean with no hidden mold in them, for a good quality homemade Pav Bhaji Masala.
- Freshness of Spices: The spices also have to be fresh. Don’t even think of using stale old ones.
- Cinnamon type: Remember especially while using cinnamon; you have to use the true Ceylon cinnamon and not the cassia variant. Read up about these on the web before starting with the recipe.
- Dry red chillies: I have here used moderately hot red chillies that are not very spicy or hot. Feel free to reduce the red chillies or use the variety of red chillies that are less spicy like Kashmiri red chillies or Byadagi chillies. These will also give a nice orange or red color to the spice mix. You could also swap red chillies with kashmiri red chilli powder.
- Usage: Since this Pav Bhaji Masala is robust, it’s better to add just 2 to 3 teaspoons while making a bhaji for 4 to 5 servings.
Drying The spices
You will have to dry the spices used in this Pav Bhaji Masala recipe either in the sun or by roasting them in a pan or oven. Whichever way is feasible for you.
I usually sun dry spices when making other spice blends like Garam Masala or Sambar Powder as well. For this Pav Bhaji Masala, you can sundry the spices for 2 to 3 days. Next, use a dry grinder to grind the dried spices to a fine powder. Then, bottle and store.
For times when there’s a dearth of sunlight, roasting the spices is a good idea. Do it one by one in the pan till aromatic. Set aside to cool and then grind to a fine texture.
Or in the oven: Set the temperature of your oven to the lowest (range is anywhere between 50 degrees C/122 degrees F to 80 degrees C/194 F). Depending on this range, drying will require about 6 hours to 15 hours.
How to make Pav Bhaji Masala
Prep and Sun Dryin Spices
1. First, take all the whole spices, and not the powdered ones on a plate or tray. Keep in the sun for 2 to 3 days. The spice list is:
- ¼ cup cumin seeds – 26 grams
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds (saunf) – 15 grams
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds – 11 grams
- 1 tablespoon mace – 3 grams
- 1 tablespoon cloves – 6 grams
- 1 tablespoon black pepper – 10 grams
- 2 black cardamoms – 5 to 6 grams
- 3 star anise – 2 grams
- 1 small nutmeg – 5 grams
- 5 cinnamon sticks – 4 grams
- 5 to 6 dried red chilies, seeds removed – (4 grams)
2. Cover with a fine wired mesh lid or a muslin or loosely woven cotton napkin, so that dust does not fall on the spices when they are being sun-dried.
During the day, I would keep the spices out to sun dry. At night, I would keep the plate inside with a loose lid covering it.
3. The below picture shows the spices after being sun-dried for 2 days. After getting sun dried, whatever moisture the spices may have is not there and they also become slightly crisp.
Make Pav Bhaji Masala
4. Before you begin grinding the sun dried whole spices, take the small nutmeg in a mortar-pestle and crush it coarsely. Keep aside.
5. Now, add all the whole spices in the dry grinder jar. You can also use a coffee grinder. Add according to the capacity of the jar.
6. Then, add the coarsely crushed nutmeg powder.
7. Grind to a smooth and fine powder. Tiny grits of the spices are fine in the masala.
8. Then, add 1 tablespoon dried ginger powder (saunth).
9. Next, add 2 tablespoons dried mango powder (amchur powder).
10. Next, add 2 teaspoons black salt. If you do not have black salt, then you can add edible rock salt or regular salt. You can even skip adding salt.
11. Lastly, add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder. Turmeric powder is optional and you can skip it too.
12. Again grind just to mix everything well.
13. If you want, you can sieve the powder and grind the tiny bits left on the sieve. Let the powder cool down.
You can spread it on a plate or allow it to cool in the jar itself. Then, spoon the masala powder in a clean glass jar.
14. Cover tightly and keep in a cool dry place. You can also keep the Pav Bhaji Masala Powder in the refrigerator or freezer. This recipe yields about 100 grams.
I don’t think so you should add curry leaves. By doing so, the flavor of the Pav Bhaji Masala will change completely.
Since the homemade Pav Bhaji Masala is quite intense, adding 2 to 3 teaspoons is sufficient in a bhaji for 4 to 5 servings.
After grinding and cooling, put the masala in a clean, dry glass jar, cover tightly and store in a cool and dry place. Freezing or refrigeration also works fine for this masala.
You can omit adding turmeric powder. For the remaining spices, consider skipping only ginger powder.
You can use regular salt or edible and food grade rock salt.
More Indian Spice Mixes To Try!
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Pav Bhaji Masala (Easy Homemade Spice Mix)
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
First take all the whole spices in a plate or tray. Exclude dry mango powder, dry ginger powder, turmeric powder and black salt.
Check and pick the spices for stones if any. Also check if there are molds on them.
Sun drying spices
Keep the plate or tray with the whole spices in the sun for 2 to 3 days.
Cover with a fine wired mesh lid or a muslin or loosely woven cotton napkin, so that dust does not fall on the spices, when they are being sun dried.
During night, keep the plate or tray with the spices covered loosely with a lid in a dry place in your kitchen.
Making pav bhaji masala
Before you begin, grinding the whole spices, take the nutmeg in a mortar-pestle and crush it coarsely. Keep aside.
Now add all the whole spices in the dry grinder jar. You can also use a coffee grinder. Add according to the capacity of the jar.
Then add the coarsely crushed nutmeg powder.
Grind to a fine and smooth powder.
Then add ginger powder, dry mango powder, black salt and turmeric powder.
If you do not have black salt, then you can add edible rock salt or regular salt. You can even skip adding salt. Turmeric powder is also optional and you can skip it too.
Again grind just to mix everything evenly.
If you want, you can sieve the powder and grind the tiny bits left on the sieve.
Let the pav hhaji masala cool at room temperature. You can spread it in a plate or allow it to cool in the jar itself. Then spoon the pav bhaji masala in a clean glass jar.
Cover tightly and keep in a cool dry place. You can also keep the pav bhaji masala powder in the fridge or freezer.
- Use spices that are in their shelf-life. Check for hidden moulds in the spices before you begin.
- You can also choose to roast each spice in a small frying pan or skillet until fragrant instead of sun-drying them. Transfer each roasted spice to a plate or tray. Cool them at room temperature and then grind in a spice grinder or mixer-grinder to a fine texture.
- For a pav bhaji recipe that calls for 4 to 5 servings, you can add about 2 to 3 teaspoons of this pav bhaji masala in it.
- The approximate nutrition info is for 1 tablespoon of pav bhaji masala made from this recipe.
Pav Bhaji Masala (Easy Homemade Spice Mix)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 29 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Vitamin A 84IU2%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 2µg2%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 1µg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This Pav Bhaji Masala recipe from the archives first published in June 2016 has been republished and updated on 10 June 2022.