Pav Bhaji – fast food made healthy

A flavorful melange of vegetables

Pav Bhaji is a street food delicacy very popular in Maharashtra. The street vendors make a version that is ooey gooey, spicy, buttery and so rich in color that it completely smells and looks like you have found your food soulmate !! What is with me and the hyperboles you ask? Oh how I wish I knew…..it is the love for this dish that makes me go gaga over it and describe it like I saw an UFO or something 😁!!

Anyways, the street side version is dunked in butter, dabs and dabs of butter which clearly adds to the flavor profile, but it is impossible for me to make myself use that much butter in this dish when I make it at home. So, I started adding half oil and half ghee (clarified butter), that worked well for us. An extra dollop of ghee brings down the heat level for the kids considerably and for the grownups who don’t have the luxury of indulging in dabs of butter, you won’t miss it , I am pretty darn sure about that. This version is our absolute favorite and we eat it like a stew in a bowl, guilt free !! Making it in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, makes it easy, takes less time with no compromise in flavor.

The ingredient list is long, but do not let it intimidate you. It is a very easy recipe. If you do not have Pav Bhaji masala, just add some Garam Masala and some lemon juice to imitate that flavor with what you have. You can also add some curry powder. More than 50% of the taste is from the vegetables alone.

Make it vegan by using coconut oil or vegan butters. It tastes brilliant even when you omit the ghee or butter.

Pav Bhaji – Kids Plate- with extra ghee

Recipe : Pav Bhaji

Prep Time : 15 minutesCook time : 15 minutes
Spice Level : 🌶🌶🌶Ease level : 😃
Serves – 4 to 6Appetizer/Entrée

Ingredients :

  1. Mixed vegetables chopped – 1000 grams – Carrots 2, Green Beans 10, Sweet peppers – 4, Red potato – 1 large, Cauliflower florets – 10 to 12, a handful of baby spinach leaves(sneak it in when you can !)
  2. Onion chopped small – 1 medium
  3. Tomatoes – 2 medium – roughly chopped
  4. Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  5. Green chili – 1 – chopped
  6. Ginger paste – 1 teaspoon
  7. Garlic – 1 teaspoon
  8. Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
  9. Cumin Powder – 1 teaspoon
  10. Chili/Cayenne powder to taste
  11. Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon (for rich color)
  12. Pav Bhaji masala – 1 tablespoon
  13. Salt to taste
  14. Oil and Ghee to your liking
  15. Cilantro for garnish – optional
  16. Lemon wedges for the extra zing and to cut the heat – optional

How To :

  1. Wash and roughly chop all the vegetables and set aside.
  2. Chop the onions and tomatoes and keep aside.
  3. Set the Inner pot of the Instant Pot on Saute mode and add the oil and ghee and once it heats up, add the cumin seeds and chopped green chili.
  4. Next add the chopped onions, tomatoes and the ginger garlic paste to the IP.
  5. Now add all the veggies to the IP and then add the spice powders over the veggies. if the spices are on the top, we can avoid burning them and the flavor remains intact as well.
  6. Next add a cup of warm water, so that we don’t drop the temperature of the Instant Pot, around the veggies, and some lightly over the spices so that they stick to the veggies and do not dissipate with the steam.
  7. Set the IP on Pressure Cook High for 5 minutes. Seal the vent and turn off Keep Warm. Once timer is done, release pressure carefully by opening the vent. Remove lid only when the pin goes down.
  8. Mash it well with the spatula so it all comes together like a thick, hearty stew. This can be eaten as is, dip any bread of choice or omit it, makes for a hearty meal. Check for salt and add more if you like.
  9. But if you want the mashed, street side consistency , use an immersion blender and mash it up well. Like a thick soupy consistency. Makes for a great texture if you are feeding kids who don’t like to see what veggies they are eating !!
  10. M and I eat eat it like soup in a bowl, topped with some crunchy onions, sev, cucumbers, etc.
Chopped Veggies
In the Instant Pot inner pot add the oil and ghee and once it heats up, add the cumin seeds and chopped green chili.
Next add the chopped onions, tomatoes and the ginger garlic paste to the IP.
Add all the veggies to the IP and then add the spice powders over the veggies.
Drizzle in a cup of water around the edges of the veggies and some over the spice mix as well.
Set the IP on Pressure Cook High for 5 minutes. Seal the vent and turn off Keep Warm. Once timer is done, release pressure carefully by opening the vent. Remove lid only when the pin goes down.
Mash it well with the spatula so it all comes together like a thick, hearty stew. This can be eaten as is, dip any bread of choice or omit it, makes for a hearty meal.
Mashed up with an immersion blender to a finer consistency, to imitate the street side Pav Bhaji texture.
Toast bread of choice in ghee or butter or vegan butter, best are the Pav buns from an Indian store or good quality sweet dinner rolls from any grocery store.
An extra sprinkle or raw shallots and cilantro for the adults!

This is a very forgiving recipe. It is a homestyle recipe, that you can indulge in weekly once, especially on the days you are running out of time and need a good hearty meal. Make it your own and enjoy it, remember leftovers taste twice as delish !!! Thank you for stopping by !!

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