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Pav bhaji served on steel plate topped with butter and cilantro with pav, onions and lemon on side

Pav Bhaji Recipe

Shweta Arora
Pav bhaji is a popular Mumbai street food made of spicy mashed vegetable curry served with soft butter-toasted dinner rolls, crunchy onions, and lemon. It is an easy, hearty, and delicious meal that is a crowd-pleaser and perfect for dinner or even parties. Here is how to make an easy Mumbai street-style Pav Bhaji recipe at home using a stovetop and Instant Pot (or traditional pressure cooker). 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 586 kcal

Ingredients
  

For Bhaji

  • 3 tablespoons butter Amul butter preferably, divided
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 onion finely chopped 1 cup chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced.
  • 1.5 tablespoons garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon green chili paste adjust to taste
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped approximately 1 cup chopped
  • 3-4 Roma tomatoes 500gms tomatoes, 2.5 cups chopped)
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 3 potatoes 500 gms, 2.5 cups roughly chopped
  • ½ cup green peas
  • ½ cup beet root peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons Pav Bhaji Masala adjust to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder optional and to taste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kasuri Methi dry fenugreek leaves
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • 2 cups water plus as required to adjust consistency.

For Toasting Pav

  • 12 Pav dinner rolls
  • 6-8 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 tablespoon Pav Bhaji Masala optional
  • Some cilantro

For Serving

  • 1 medium red onion finely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoon butter cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges or slices

Instructions
 

Prep work

  • Rinse all the veggies. Finely chop veggies like onions, bell pepper, and tomatoes. You can also puree the tomatoes in which case roughly chop them.
  • Make fresh ginger garlic and green chili paste and keep aside.
  • For Instant Pot (pressure cooking) - Peel and roughly chop potatoes, peel and grate beetroot and cut cauliflower into medium size pieces.
  • For Stove top - Boil, peel and mash or grate potatoes, green peas, beetroot and cauliflower

Making Instant Pot Pav Bhaji

  • Start Instant Pot on Saute (normal). Add 2 tablespoons butter and oil each. Once the butter melts, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
  • Now stir in the onions, ginger, garlic and green chili, and saute until onions are translucent.
  • Add bell pepper, tomatoes, and salt. Mix well. Cover and cook until tomatoes are soft and mushy.
  • Add tomato paste, and spices like turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, and Pav Bhaji Masala. Mix and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  • After this follow one of the cooking method using Instant Pot, sove
  • Stir in the chopped veggies - potatoes, cauliflower, green peas, and beetroot Add 2 cups of water and mix well.
  • Turn off the Instant Pot, close the lid with a vent in sealing position. Pressure cook at high pressure for 8 minutes. Once cooking completes, allow a natural release (pin drops). Open the lid, start Instant Pot on saute again.
  • Mash the Bhaji with a potato masher or use an immersion blender to get a puree-like consistency. It should neither be too thick nor too thin so adjust the consistency using water as needed. I added 1.5 cups more.
  • Taste test and add more salt or red chili powder or more pave Bhaji Masala as per taste.
  • Crush Kasuri methi between your palms and add it to bhaji along with lemon juice, more butter (1-2 tablespoons), and cilantro. Mix well, cover with a glass lid to prevent bhaji from splattering. Simmer for 5 more minutes or until heated through. Pav Bhaji is ready to serve.

How To Make Pav Bhaji On Stove top

  • In a pan, heat the butter and oil on medium heat. Add cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle.
  • Then add the onions, and sauté until the onions are translucent. No need to brown them.
  • Stir in the ginger garlic green chili and sauté for a few seconds until fragrant, Take care not to burn the garlic.
  • Add bell pepper, tomatoes, tomato paste, and salt. Mix well and cover and cook until tomatoes are soft and mushy.
  • Now add spices like turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and Pav Bhaji Masala. Mix and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in the boiled veggies, cauliflower, green peas, potato, and beetroot. Mix well.
  • Using a potato masher, mash the veggies until well mixed with masala.
  • Add ½ to 1 cup water and mash. Keep simmering, adding little water at a time, and mashing for the next 10 mins or until the veggies are nicely mashed and mixed with the masala and the bhaji is almost smooth.
  • You can also use an immersion blender to make a puree-like consistency. It should neither be too thick nor too thin so adjust the consistency using water as needed.
  • Taste test and add more salt or red chili powder or more pave Bhaji Masala as per taste.
  • Crush Kasuri methi between your palms and add it to bhaji along with lemon juice, more butter, and cilantro. Mix well, simmer for 2-5 more minutes and Pav Bhaji is ready to serve.

Pav bhaji in Traditional Pressure Cooker

  • Heat the pressure cooker on medium heat. Follow the same steps as mentioned above for Instant Pot.
  • For cooking, close the lid with the weight on. Cook for 5-6 whistles or about 15 mins.
  • Once the pressure releases, mash the bhaji using potato masher or immersion blender.
  • Crush Kasuri methi between your palms and add it to bhaji along with lemon juice, more butter, and cilantro. Mix well, simmer for 2-5 more minutes and Pav Bhaji is ready to serve.

Toast Pav

  • While the bhaji is simmering, Toast the pav.
  • Heat up a tawa or frying pan on low heat and add 1-2 tablespoons of butter to it. Once the butter melts, add Pav Bhaji Masala (optional), and cilantro, and mix well. Spread evenly on the pan.
  • Slice the pav (dinner rolls) in half such that it opens up giving two equal parts. Place the pav (open side white portion) on the butter.
  • Press gently and move the pav so it absorbs the butter and is evenly coated. Now you can apply more butter on top and flip so the tops are toasted too.
  • Keep flipping and pressing gently until done. Remove on a plate. Tossing the pav in butter makes them soft and easy to scoop with bhaji. If you prefer crispy, toast them longer.

Serving suggestion

  • Serve bhaji hot topped with butter, cilantro with side of butter toasted pav, chopped onions and lemon.
  • To eat, first top bhaji with onions and cilantro (as much as you like).Then squeeze some lemon juice over and mix the bhaji with a spoon. Break a portion of the pav and scoop a generous amount of bhaji on it and enjoy!!

Video

Notes

Vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, bell pepper, and green peas work best for making Pav Bhaji. Carrots can be added too but they will make the bhaji sweeter.  In addition, cabbage can be added too. I like adding beets as it gives a nice color to the bhaji but it is completely optional. 
You can also use dry green peas instead of fresh ones. Just soak them overnight, pressure cook until done (30 mins in Instant Pot), and then use in the recipe.
For vegan Pav Bhaji, substitute butter with neutral oil or vegan butter. 
For gluten-free options, substitute pav with gluten-free dinner rolls or bread. The bhaji is gluten-free. 
You can adjust the spice levels of bhaji by adding more or less Pav Bhaji Masala, red chili powder, or green chili.  Highly recommend using Kashmiri red chili powder as it gives good color to the bhaaji without making it too spicy. 
While making bhaji in an instant pot or pressure cooker, just chop all the veggies, no need to boil them. 
For variations, top the bhaji with grated paneer or cheese (of choice). 
Pav bhaji masala is the key ingredient for this recipe and provides its signature taste. It is very readily available in most Indian grocery stores and online. I prefer either Badshah or Everest or the MDH brand of Pav Bhaji Masala. 
If you cannot find Paav bhaji masala, you can mix the following spices to make pav bhaji masala - garam masala, coriander powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, amchur powder (dry mango powder), and cumin seeds powder. The taste will be different (not authentic) but still delicious!!

Nutrition

Calories: 586kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 1265mg | Potassium: 945mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1247IU | Vitamin C: 69mg | Calcium: 212mg | Iron: 5mg
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