Indian Sloppy Joe (Pav Bhaji)

If you go to India, then you’ll see crazy amount of food vendors on the street. If you thought NYC was creative with falafels and “nuts for nuts,” then you definitely haven’t been to Mumbai. There’s all different types of snacks, sandwiches, idlis, dosa- you name it! Plus its all vegetarian! Here’s a really popular Maharashtrian snack sandwich called Pau Bhaji. It’s really similar to the American sloppy joe, but vegetarian! It’s spicy and flavorful and popular amongst any age group! It’s also SUPER easy (one pot dinner!). Check it out below..


  • 1 bag frozen vegetables thawed (peas, carrots, beans, etc)- or you can use fresh**
  • 1 potato- boiled, peeled and diced
  • 1 beefsteak tomato- diced small
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4-5 tbsp pau bhaji masala- can be found at Indian grocery stores (or recipe above)
  • 3 tbsp chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tbsp turmeric (not necessary but adds great flavor and color!)
  • 1 small onion- diced
  • 3 cloves garlic- crushed and minced
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice (bottled is fine)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro– finely chopped
  • salt- to taste
  • coarse black pepper- a few grinds
  • 1/2 cup of water (may need more or less)
  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • PAM– original flavor
  • 1 package buns (i use indian, but hamburger buns are fine!)
  • pinch of chat masala- for the buns (optional)
  • indian pickle– for serving (optional)
  • lemon wedge- for serving (optional)

Tools: Large skillet, spoon, masher, hands

Tips on how to keep cilantro fresh longer click here

1. Spray pan with PAM and pour in oil. Heat over medium flame. Add onions and garlic. After 1 minute add chopped tomatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add pau bhaji masala, chili powder and turmeric. Saute until well combined and onions are translucent.

2. Add the tomato paste and combine with onion-tomato mixture. Saute for a few minutes. Add vegetables and potato. Make sure everything is mixed together well. Add the lemon juice. Taste to see if it needs more masala or chili powder (it should have a strong garlic- garam masala taste).

3. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and flavored well. Add some water and using the masher, mash until its a sloppy joe consistency and all the vegetables are bite-sized and combined well. Add salt and pepper (taste).

4. Mix in about 3/4 of the chopped cilantro (reserving rest for garnishing). When cooked through and ready, remove from the heat onto a serving platter. Top with remaining cilantro.

5. Cut the buns in half and spray with PAM (to save calories). Toast on a small pan or in the toaster. Serve with a generous scoop of pau bhaji. Put it together like a sloppy joe sandwich and ENJOY!

Serves about 4

**If using FRESH vegetables any combination is fine. I like cauliflower, peas, carrots, green beans, etc. The potato MUST be used, because it helps bind the whole dish together and adds substance.


-This dish is PACKED with nutrients from the vegetables, and there isn’t much fat since we substituted extra tbsp of oil with PAM. Plus it’s super filling and is a great source of fiber! It’s great for kids!

Check it out!
Indian Sloppy Joe (Pav Bhaji) on FoodistaIndian Sloppy Joe (Pav Bhaji)


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