Tava Idly - Pav bhaaji flavoured idlies

Tava Idly


Tava Idly are pav bhaji flavoured idlies; it is a delicious breakfast or snack recipe. If you have some leftover idlies, this will be quite a treat to use up and make them that much more interesting.

When the South Indian favourite idlies and Mumbai’s famous pav bhaji meet, you get Tava Idly. It is super yummy to consume and takes so little time to put together a fancy-ish street food style delicacy.

Nutrition Superstar – Idly

The star of this Tava Idly are the humble idlies, which are quite the nutritional powerhouse hiding inside a very soft and spongy exterior.

Idly is a steamed rice cake, which is made from a soaking, grind and fermenting the batter made from rice and urad dal (black gram).

Mini Idlies are perfect for this recipe
Steamed Mini Idlies

For us Indians, idlies are an integral part of our diet. It is also one of those yummy foods that is given to babies starting solids and equally enjoyed across all age groups. It’s no wonder.

Naturally gluten free, idlies are low in fat, easy to digest and comes loaded with iron, B vitamins and other micro-nutrients. Thanks to the lentils that go into preparing it!

Since these spongy delights are steamed,  it makes it that much more healthy to consume.

In addition, the fermentation process after grinding the batter gives it the natural good bacteria also known as probiotics. These probiotics in idlies are what makes it exceptionally easy to digest.

Besides being nutritious, idly is rather bland in taste, which according to me, makes it perfect to pair with a lot of curries, chutneys, sambhars and so.

It is the versatility of the idlies that make it a perfect hero ingredient for Tava Idly!

What Makes Tava Idly Special?

Ah pav bhaaji…where do I begin?

Scrumptious pav bhaaji is a meal in itself with carbs, good fats and nutrition from vegetables. The only (midly) disappointing aspect about it is the fact that it is quite carb-heavy and requires the use of a decent amount of butter to add to the deliciousness.

It is especially delightful to watch the chaat walas expertly prepare the bhaji (gravy) in a large griddle and toast the pav (buns) and serve them with chopped onions, a wedge of lime and a generous sprinkle of coriander.

So, I bring you the flavours of pav bhaaji without the guilt. Don’t you worry! I’ve got you covered. You can now enjoy the flavours of pav bhaaji without beating yourself up with guilt. Idly makes a substantial substitute for the potatoes & pav bun. As an added bonus, it tastes amazing!

Here’s presenting to you tava idlies to take your idly game to another level!

Fancy other snack ideas?

Veg Chutney Sandwich

Minty Chatpata Peanuts

Masala Pav

Serves: 2


  • Mini Idlies – 20 or 6 regular-sized idlies cut up into large cubes
  • Onion – 1, finely chopped, reserve about 2 Tbsp to garnish
  • Tomato – 2 finely chopped
  • Capsicum – ½ cut into small dices
  • Garlic – 6 to 8 cloves
  • Dry red chilli (mild) – 4
  • Pav bhaji masala – 1 ½ heaped tsp
  • Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tablespoon, chopped
  • Butter (optional) – 1 tsp + a bit more to serve
  • Oil – 2 tsp
  • Salt – As desired



  1. Soak dried red chillies and garlic cloves in warm water till the chillies are soft.
  2. Grind the soaked garlic and chillies to a smooth paste.


  1. Heat oil and butter in a pan.
  2. Add the ground garlic and chilli paste, sauté until the raw garlic smell is gone.
  3. Add the onion and allow it to cook and become soft.
  4. Toss in the chopped tomatoes to the cooked onion mixture. With the back of the ladle mash the tomatoes so it becomes mushy.
  5. At this stage, add the spice powders and salt.
  6. Mix well to combine the vegetables with the spice powders and salt.
  7. If the mixture is too dry, add a few spoons of water. Ensure you do not add too much.
  8. Toss in the capsicum and  cook it with the remaining masala for another 5 minutes.  Ensure the capsicum is cooked enough, but still has that bit of a crunch.
  9. Finally, add the idlies and mix them gently with the vegetable mixture.
  10. Coat all the idlies well. Allow it to combine on medium flame for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  11. Once done, sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves.
  12. Serve hot and sprinkle some of the reserved chopped onion.

Step-by-Step Photo Instructions

Step-by-step instructions
1. Soak garlic and dried red chillies.
Step-by-step instructions
2. Prepare soaked chillies and garlic to grind.
Step-by-step instructions
3. Grind soaked chilli and garlic to a smooth paste
Step-by-Step Instructions
4. Heat oil & ghee in a pan, and cook the ground paste.
Step-by-Step Instructions
5. Cook the ground paste until the fat separates from the sides and the paste thickens.
Step-by-Step Instructions
6. Add onions and cook them till soft.
Step-by-Step Instructions
7. Add chopped tomatoes.
Step-by-Step Instructions
8. Add the spiced powders and cook until the tomatoes are soft.
Step-by-Step Instructions
9. Add chopped capsicum and cook in the gravy.
Step-by-Step Instructions
10. Combine and cook the ingredients well. Add water, if required, at this stage.
Step-by-Step Instructions
11. Add the mini idlies or chopped idlies to the bhaaji.
Step-by-Step Instructions
12. Mix the idlies and bhaaji well. Sprinkle coriander and turn off the stove.
Serving suggestion
Serve Tava Idly with a sprinkle of chopped onions.

Recipe Notes:
1. I have used mini idlies as they are bite-sized and convenient to mix and eat.
2. Replace mini idlies with quartered regular idlies
3. Adjust spice levels to suit your tolerance levels.
4. I’ve use a mild chilli variety (Kashmiri chillies) for colour and not so much for the heat as pav bhaji masala and chilli powder take care of that.
5. Alternatively, you could sprinkle cheese on top before serving as a variation.
6. A squeeze of lime or lemon adds a new tangy dimension to the dish.
7. To add texture, you could include green peas or other veggies of your choice.

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