Pav Bhaji is a popular Indian street food. Pav Bhaji is made with potatoes and vegetables cooked in a tomato base, and enjoyed with pav or dinner rolls. We will make it in both Instant Pot and Stovetop Pressure Cooker. Try this one-pot Pav Bhaji recipe in the pressure cooker and you will not make it any other way again!
Pav Bhaji was a favorite when we would visit Juhu Beach, a popular suburb in Mumbai. There were many food stalls at Juhu Beach, and two of them were must-haves - Pav Bhaji and Gola. Traditionally Pav Bhaji is made on a Tawa. See a video of pav bhaji being prepared by a vendor at Juhu Beach. In case, you are wondering Gola is flavored shaved ice on a stick.
In India, at home we would make Pav Bhaji in a stovetop pressure cooker. I have changed this recipe to be prepared in an Instant Pot and a Stovetop Pressure Cooker, as a one-pot recipe. This makes cooking pav bhaji much easier and quicker, but does not compromise on the taste.
Pav Bhaji is a great dish for entertaining, as you can make one dish for everyone. Even kids love pav bhaji. Other popular Mumbai street foods are Vada Pav and Sev Puri. Also check out our Mumbai Misal Pav which is a delicious spicy sprouts curry.
What are Pav Bhaji Ingredients?
Pav Bhaji has two parts:
Pav - This is dinner rolls. In India, they are eggless rolls which can be easily found at an indian grocery store. However you can choose to use any diner rolls or burger buns for pav bhaji. We used to even enjoy it with sliced bread.
Bhaji - It is made from potatoes and vegetables cooked in a tomato base. The main vegetables to use for pav bhaji are - cauliflower, green peas, carrots, bell pepper (or capsicum).
Traditionally, Bhaji is prepared as a two step process. The vegetables (potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, peas) are boiled until very soft in a pot or stovetop pressure cooker. Then separately in a fry pan, masala with onions and tomatoes is prepared and the boiled mashed vegetables are added to the masala. Here I will share my easy one-pot method to make Bhaji in the pressure cooker.
Pav Bhaji Masala
One of the special ingredient used in this recipe is Pav Bhaji Masala. Pav bhaji is famous enough to have it's own special spice blend.
As I always try to make my life easier with quick and easy cooking, I buy the ready pav bhaji masala from the store. My preferred pav bhaji masala brand is Everest.
If you don't have pav bhaji masala at home and are eager to make pav bhaji, then you can make pav bhaji masala at home.
Homemade Pav Bhaji Masala Recipe
For a quick homemade pav bhaji masala, combine the below:
1 tsp coriander powder + 1 tsp garam masala + 1 tsp dry mango powder (or lemon juice) + ½ tsp turmeric powder.
Another special ingredient I use in this recipe is kashmiri red chili. It helps to add the bright reddish color to the bhaji. You can buy it on Amazon using this link.
How to make Pav Bhaji?
I always want to get bright red colored bhaji, however I don't want to add any artificial colors. With my mom's suggestion to use kashmiri red chili, now I get the desired color naturally. Soak kashmiri red chili in 1 cup water for 15 mins, then grind it with ginger and garlic to a smooth paste. Set this aside, we will add this while cooking the bhaji.
How to make Pav Bhaji in Instant Pot?
- Start instant pot in sauté mode and heat butter in it. I suggest to cook bhaji in butter to enjoy the real Mumbai bhaji taste.
- Add onions and sauté for about 3 minutes. Then add bell pepper and sauté for another 2 minutes. Again here, I used red bell peppers to enhance the red color of the bhaji. Add tomatoes, pav bhaji masala, salt and the ground chili paste. Mix well.
- Then add in the veggies - potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and green peas. Mix well. Change the instant pot setting to pressure cook mode for 8 minutes with vent in sealing position. When the instant pot beeps, release the pressure naturally. Then open and use an immersion blender to coarsely grind the ingredients. You can also use a potato masher to mash the bhaji to the desired consistency.
- Change the instant pot setting to sauté mode and let the bhaji boil for a minute. Mix in lemon juice.
- Bhaji is ready to be served. Garnish with cilantro and chopped onions.
How to make Pav Bhaji in Pressure Cooker?
The main difference from the above method for instant pot is the pressure cooking time on stovetop. We will pressure cook on high flame until two whistles, then reduce to medium flame and cook for another 6 minutes. Everything else remains the same.
For pav or dinner rolls, heat a pan and melt some butter on it. Cut pav in two slices and place them on the melted butter. Lightly toast pav on both sides and they are ready to be served with the bhaji.
How to serve Pav Bhaji?
Take 1-2 ladles of bhaji in a plate. Add a dollop of butter. Sprinkle some chopped onions and cilantro on the top. Sprinkle some lemon juice on the top if you like a tangier taste. Serve with two buttered pav's on the side.
Some Common Questions about Pav Bhaji
Does the cooking time change if I double the quantity?
The cooking time will remain the same even if you double the recipe. The instant pot will just take longer to come to pressure.
Which immersion blender can I use? Can I use a potato masher?
Tips to make the best Pav Bhaji Recipe
✓ Make the bhaji with generous quantity of butter
✓ Use fresh ingredients, such as ginger, garlic and fresh tomatoes.
✓ Dont forget the butter, lemon juice, lots of chopped onions and cilantro to top the bhaji while serving.
✓ Toast the pav in ample amount of butter and serve immediately.
Try this easy Mumbai Pav Bhaji recipe and let me know if how you like it. Check out this awesome collection of 29 Best Instant Pot Indian Vegetarian Recipes.
Mumbai Pav Bhaji Recipe (One-pot)
- 2 tbsp Butter or Oil
- 2 cups Red Onions diced
- 3 cups Tomato chopped, about 5 large
- 1" inch Ginger
- 8 cloves Garlic
- 3 Whole Dried Kashmiri Red Chili Pepper
- 1 Bell pepper chopped, 130gms
- 3 Potato medium, peeled and chopped. I used russet potatoes. about 3 cups or 440gms
- 1 Carrot cut in pieces, 90gms or ⅔ cup
- 1 ½ cup Cauliflower (Gobi) cut in small pieces
- ¾ cup Green peas
- 1 cup Water
- 2 tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala
- 1 tsp Salt or to taste
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- 10 Dinner rolls (Pav) or Dinner rolls
- 2 tbsp Butter
- ½ Onion chopped
- ¼ cup Cilantro to garnish
- Soak red whole chili in 1 cup water for 15 mins. Grind chili, ginger and garlic along with the water to a paste. (Note: if you skip grinding chilies with water, then do add 1 cup water before pressure cooking and add the ginger/garlic along with the onions)
- Start the pressure cooker in sauté mode (high flame for stovetop pressure cooker) and heat 2 tbsp butter/oil in it. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add bell pepper and sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, pav bhaji masala and salt. Add the ground chili paste. If anything is stuck to the bottom of the pot, scrape it with a spatula. (See notes if you have had a Burn issue in your instant pot or using 8qt instant pot)
- Add cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, and green peas. Mix well.
Instant Pot Method
- Press cancel and close lid with vent in sealing position. Change the setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 8 minutes. When the instant pot beeps, release the pressure naturally.
Stovetop Pressure Cooker Method
- Close the lid, turn the heat on high flame and pressure cook it until your hear two whistles. Now reduce the flame to medium and pressure cook it for another 6 minutes. Turn off heat. Let the pressure release naturally.
Mash and Garnish Bhaji
- Open the pressure cooker and use an immersion blender to coarsely grind the ingredients. You can also use a potato masher to mash the bhaji to the desired consistency.
- Change to sauté mode and let the bhaji boil for a minute. Mix in the lemon juice. Bhaji is ready to be served.
- Slice each pav or dinner rolls in two halves.
- Heat butter on a pan and place the sliced pav on it. Lightly toast on one side and then turn to toast on the other side.
- Pav are ready to be served with bhaji.
Serving Pav Bhaji
- Take 1-2 ladles of bhaji in a plate. Add a dollop of butter. Sprinkle some chopped onions and cilantro on the top. Sprinkle some lemon juice on the top if you like a tangier taste. Serve with two buttered pav's on the side.
- The real Mumbai pav bhaji is always made with butter. However you can prepare it will oil too.
- I recommend using Kashmiri chili, as that enhances the color of the bhaji. You can also use Kashmiri Red Chili powder, about 1-2 teaspoons based on your taste.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
Other recipes for you to try in your Instant Pot: