Mumbai pav bhaji is an extremely popular Indian street food. Made with mixed vegetables, onions, tomatoes and spices and served with buttered dinner rolls, it is out-of-this world delish and totally addictive!
Keyword Indian street food, pav bhaji, vegetable curry, vegetarian recipe
Dice the vegetables (cauliflower, carrot and potato) into small pieces and keep aside.
Make the pav bhaji masala - put the whole spices in a grinder and grind to a fine powder. Mix in the powdered spices. If using Everest pav bhaji masala, skip this step.
Instant Pot Method
Switch the instant pot to saute mode and melt the butter. Add onions and fry until translucent (3 minutes).
Tip in the ginger-garlic paste, tomatoes, pav bhaji masala powder and salt. Saute until the tomatoes break down. Add a little water if masala becomes too dry (5 minutes).
Add the vegetables (chopped) and one cup water. Cancel the saute mode and switch on the manual (pressure cooking) mode. Make sure the vent is sealed and set the timer to 10 minutes. After the timer goes, do a quick pressure release after 10 minutes (25 minutes including the time the cooker takes to build pressure).
Open the cooker and turn on the saute mode again. If there is excess liquid, cook for 5 minutes more, mashing the vegetables with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. You'll find that this is very easy to do since the veggies are very soft and well-cooked (5 minutes).
Put the cauliflower, peas, potatoes and carrot in a saucepan along with 3 cups of water. Cook until the veggies are very soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the saucepan from the hob and let it cool down a bit. Mash the vegetables lightly with a fork. Don't throw away the excess water, if any.
Put the butter in a pan and heat it. When the butter melts, add the onion and fry until translucent.
Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes on medium heat.
Add the tomatoes, powdered dry spices made in step 2 and salt. Cook until the tomatoes soften. Add a few splashes of water to keep the masala from burning.
Add the mashed vegetables prepared in step 1 and mix very well. Cook for 5 minutes.
Squeeze the lemon over the bhaji and mix. Garnish with chopped cilantro
Halve the dinner rolls and spread the remaining some butter on all the halves. Lightly fry them on a heated frypan until they are browned and crisp.
Serve the pav bhaji on a platter with onions and lemon wedges.
Assembling the pav bhaji
Slice a dinner roll into two and spread a little butter on both halves. Place the rolls buttered side down on a hot fry pan and remove when slightly browned and crisp. Repeat for all the rolls.
Take out the bhaji in a deep dish. Sprinkle some lemon juice and mix well. Top with a knob of butter and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
Arrange two dinner rolls on a plate and spoon out some bhaji. Serve hot.
Pre-made pav bhaji masala is available in Indian stores everywhere. Everest is the best pav bhaji masala brand available and this is the one I use. Two tablespoons of this masala are enough. Buy this if you want to skip making your own masala.
If you are making your own masala, all the ingredients are available in an Indian store including fennel, mango powder (amchur), black salt (kala namak) and Kashmiri chilli powder.
If you want an authentic taste, use butter and not oil. Butter does wonders for this dish which cooking oil just cannot match up to!