Mumbai Masala Pav

Mumbai Masala Pav

Mumbai Masala Pav

Mumbai Masala Pav is a beloved street food from Mumbai, consisting of sliced Ladi Pav filled with a savoury mix of buttery, spiced onions, tomatoes, and green peppers.  Traditionally made with Ladi Pav, this dish can also be prepared with any type of soft, fluffy bread roll.

Mumbai Pav, or Ladi Pav, is a distinctive bread from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. The name ‘Ladi Pav’ comes from the arrangement of the buns in rows (ladis) as they are baked in large pans. In Hindi, ‘Pav’ signifies a quarter or ¼ᵗʰ and also ‘feet’. The Portuguese introduced this bread, and originally, bakers would knead the dough with their feet, hence the name ‘pav’ or ‘pao’.

The Masala Pav recipe originates from Mumbai’s beloved street food, ‘Pav Bhaji’. This is my version of Masala Pav as there are numerous variations, some using potatoes in the masala. In my version, I typically use a base of onions, tomatoes, and green peppers. Moreover, it is incredibly simple to prepare masala pav at home, especially when you have pav readily available. Topped with finely chopped onions, fresh coriander, it is a delicious snack on the move!

Like pav bhaji, I cook the masala on a flat iron pan, which gives a more authentic flavour to the dish. However, you can make the masala in a regular pan too.

At the same time having grown up in Mumbai, this dish is my personal favourite. It is perfect for those times when we are short on time but craving the spicy, buttery flavours of garlic and pav bhaji masala.

Other recipes you might to try are-

Pav Bhaji,

Maharashtrian Misal Pav,

Tawa Pulao,

Ladi Pav,

Usal Pav,

Maharashtrian Kothimbir Vadi and

Khekada Bhajia/Onion Bhajia.


3 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon oil
4 teaspoons garlic paste
1 cup finely chopped onions
¼ cup finely chopped green pepper
1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
2 teaspoons pav bhaji masala
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves

For Pav
6-7 ladi pav
1-2 teaspoons butter

For Garnishing
1-2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon finely chopped coriander



Heat butter and oil in a pan. I would highly recommend using an iron pan as it imparts a delicious flavour and also enhances the colour.

Next add the garlic paste and onions. Sauté on medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until the onions turn translucent.


Next, add the green pepper, tomatoes, salt and ¼ cup water. Mash the vegetables with a potato masher to soften them.


After that, add red chilli powder, pav bhaji masala and lemon juice. Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes and then add the coriander leaves.


To serve, heat a nonstick pan.

Slit the pav horizontally leaving one edge intact. Spread some butter and toast it lightly on the hot pan. I prefer to toast it for 30 seconds to a minute just enough for the pav to absorb all the butter. Turn the pav over and apply butter (optional) and toast the other side too.

Spread the prepared masala evenly on the inside of the pav and cover it with the other side of the pav.

Spread a spoonful of the masala and garnish it with finely chopped onions and coriander leaves.


Tips & Variations

  1. You should add a little oil when adding butter to the pan as butter will not burn.
  2. While it is mandatory to use butter for an authentic street style flavour, you can even use oil to cook the masala.
  3. You can keep the masala ready. But toast the pav and spread it on them just before serving in order to enjoy the maximum.
  4. Though Masala Pav tastes fab when a little spicy, it can be adjusted according to the preference of your spice levels.
  5. You can also sprinkle some fine sev or grated cheese on the Masala Pav.
  6. You can use Kashmiri red chilli powder for the vibrant red colour.
  7. Iron skillet is recommended but you can cook in any pan.
  8. Use a potato masher to mash the vegetables. No other equipment works as well as this simple masher.
  9. Masala pav paste can be stored in the fridge for a day or two. Like some of the other Indian dishes Masala Pav tastes even better the next day.
  10. Use fresh and soft ladi pavs. In the absence of ladi pav you can use dinner rolls or burger buns
  11. Make sure to cook the onions and tomatoes into a very mushy paste that is spreadable.