Mumbai Pav Bhaji is a popular street food in India. Pav are dinner rolls and bhaji is potatoes and other vegetables cooked with tomatoes and spices. It's super flavourful and an extremely easy to cook vegetarian recipe. Kids and adults love this dish, and it holds a special place in every Indian's heart.
My kids love Pav Bhaji and it is among their favorite foods (along with Bhature and Pindi Chole.) I also make fresh homemade Eggless Ladi Pav/Burger Buns /dinner rolls to go with this. The most important difference between street style and homemade pav bhaji is that at home, quite a few vegetables are added and it has less of a spicy flavour. However, both are just awesome in taste.
If your kids are picky eaters, then this is the best opportunity to feed them vegetables without them knowing. Hiding vegetables is super easy in this dish, and they will love it.
Street style Pav Bhaji is traditionally made on a huge tawa/flat griddle. Since at home, we don't have that available, making it in an Instant pot or on a stove top is quite convenient.
What Type of Spices are Used in Mumbai Pav Bhaji?
Personally, I like to use store bought pav bhaji masala. I don't think in today's world, when we have something to do every second, there is any harm in taking help with store bought spices. It's easily available in all Indian grocery stores. In addition, there are several brands and my favourites are MDH or Everest Pav Bhaji Masala. If for some reason you do not have access to store bought ones, you can certainly make at home.
Tips for Making a Wonderful Pav Bhaji-
- Try to buy / make soft bread /dinner rolls. Any good quality buns will work well.
- An important trick is to use at least a few basic vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, carrots and peas.
- If you can use butter, make bhaji in butter. It will enhance the taste wonderfully.
- Mash the vegetables to give the bhaji a soft and smooth appearance.
- Saute the spice mix with onions and tomatoes till it releases the oil.
- Sprinkle some lemon on bhaji before serving.
- Garnish with chopped fine onions and fresh cilantro.
- Red colored bhaji looks amazing, and for that, you need to use the less spicy version of kashmiri red chili powder. It will give a beautiful color minus all that excessive spicy flavour.
How To Make Bhaji in the Instant Pot-
Chopping Vegetables- Chop all the vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, green peppers, and green chili. Then, chop fresh cilantro and wash the peas.
Making Ginger-Garlic Paste- You can certainly buy store bought paste, but I always make my own. They taste more flavourful and the bhaji becomes so amazing. To do so, grind equal amounts of ginger and garlic to make a fine paste. You can store leftover ginger-garlic paste in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Sauteing Vegetables- Turn the saute mode of Instant Pot on. Add Oil/Butter. I always prefer to use butter combined with oil. When it's hot, add chopped onion to it. Saute till it looks transparent. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is gone. Add all chopped vegetables to it and saute for 1-2 minutes. Scrap if you find vegetables sticking to the base.
Pressure Cooking Vegetables- Mix 1 cup of water, turmeric, and salt to it. Stir well and secure the lid. Set the pressure release to seal in position. Set the timer for 7 minutes. Perform the manual release or if you do not want to, wait for natural release.
Mash the vegetable mix with a potato masher. I do not like to use an immersion blender because a little texture increases the taste.
Stir the pav bhaji masala, kashmiri red chili powder, and tomato paste. Mix it well and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir continuously to avoid sticking. Cover it with a lid if it splatters. Add a little bit butter at this point. Avoid butter if making vegan bhaji.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Butter the rolls and heat them. Chop onion and cilantro for garnish. Sprinkle some lemon juice. Serve with onion, cilantro, and hot buns.
Then, enjoy the Pav Bhaji!
Mumbai Pav Bhaji
- 4 Tbsp Butter/Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Red Onion Chopped
- 1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- ½ Tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1.5 Tbsp Kashmiri red chili powder (Optional),you can reduce the quantity as well.
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- Salt According to the taste
- 3 Tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala
- 1 Big Potato Cubed
- 1 Cup Cauliflower ,break in to small florets
- 1 Cup Carrot ,Cubed
- ⅓ Cup Frozen Green Peas
- 1 Medium Tomato ,Chopped
- ½ Cup Fresh Chopped Cilantro
- Lemon Wedges
- 1 Cup Chopped onion (For Garnish)
- 1 Green Chili Chopped
- 8 Dinner Rolls
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- Turn the saute button of instant pot on.When its displays hot ,add butter to it .
- Add chopped onion to the melted butter and saute it for 1 minute or till it looks transparent .
- Add ginger garlic paste to it and saute till all the raw smell is gone .
- Add all the vegetables ,little salt and turmeric to it .Saute for 1 minute .If it feels like sticking to the bottom scrape it with the spatula.
- Add 1.5 cups of water and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes.
- Open the lid by releasing the pressure manually or if you are too scared let it release naturally.Take a potato masher and mash all the vegetables in to a smooth mash.
- Now add tomato paste ,pav bhaji masala ,kashmiri red chili powder and mix it well.
- Let it cook for 2 minute .Stir it continuously to avoid sticking .
- If it looks too thick for you ,add little bit of warm water .
- Add 2 tbsp of butter to it .If you are making it vegan do not use any thing at this time .
- Cook it again for 1 minute .Bhaji is ready to enjoy with pav.
- Brush dinner rolls /Pav with butter and toast them till they look golden.
- Serve with chopped onion,cilantro and lemon wedges.
- Enjoy your pav Bhaji.