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pav bhaji served with diced onions, pickle and papad
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4.81 from 126 votes

MUMBAI PAV BHAJI

The perfect Indian street food! As teenagers, my friends and I would gather around a small street stall to eat freshly made pav bhaji. Buttery bread is topped with spiced veggie mash, onions, and cilantro and finished with a squeeze of lime juice.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6
Calories: 397kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 to 4 tablespoons salted butter plus 4 tablespoons, at room temperature
  • 1 large yellow onion finely diced
  • ½ green bell pepper seeded and diced
  • ½ red bell pepper seeded and diced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger grated
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 5 cups cauliflower florets 1-inch florets
  • 2 large Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 plum tomatoes cored and diced
  • ½ cup frozen green peas
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons pav bhaji masala see Note
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri red chili powder see Note
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 12 potato buns
  • 1 medium red onion finely diced
  • 1 lime cut into wedges

Instructions

  • Select the high Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the yellow onion, ginger, garlic, and bell peppers and sauté until the onion turns translucent about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, peas, and 2 teaspoons salt; pour in the water; and stir well with a wooden spoon, nudging loose any browned bits from the pot bottom.
  • Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press the Cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 6 minutes at high pressure.
  • Perform a quick release by moving the Pressure Release to Venting. Open the pot. Select the normal Sauté setting and mash all the veggies with a potato masher. Stir in the tomato paste, pav bhaji masala, red chile powder, and turmeric, followed by 2 tablespoons butter (optional but highly recommended). Cover the pot with a glass lid (or another non-locking lid that fits), as the bhaji will start to splatter, and cook until heated through about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, paavbhaji masala, and chile powder if needed. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Sprinkle with the cilantro.
  • Just before serving, use the remaining 4 tablespoons butter to spread 1 teaspoon room-temperature butter on the cut side and over the top and bottom of each potato bun. Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over high heat. Add the buns and toast each side until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes each.
  • Spoon the bhaji onto plates, sprinkle with the red onion, and serve with the toasted buns and lime wedges on the side.

Video

Notes

NOTE
For a spicier bhaji, add more pav bhaji masala or red chili powder.
VEGAN VARIATION
Substitute neutral vegetable oil for the butter.
Here is my quick recipe to make your own homemade Pav Bhaji Masala
  • 4 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 6 Kashmiri red chilies, less if using a spicier variety
  • 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 green cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Dry roast all of the above spices on medium heat. Allow the spices to cool down. Add the roasted spices along with 2 teaspoons of amchur {dry raw mango} powder to a spice grinder and make a fine powder, Store in an airtight container.
Here are other substitutions to pav bhaji masala in a pinch – Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of homemade garam masala, 1 tablespoon of ground coriander, 1 tablespoon red chili powder, and 1 to 2 teaspoons amchur or dry mango powder.

Nutrition

Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 557mg | Potassium: 782mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 1127IU | Vitamin C: 73mg | Calcium: 361mg | Iron: 7mg
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