A flavorful mashed vegetable gravy with soft, fluffy buns. Make this easy Instant Pot Pav Bhaji to give you a taste of India's most famous street food!
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Pav Bhaji made in the Instant Pot - here to make our lives easier and packed with vegetables and flavor! This recipe is the perfect item to make for larger gatherings or even as a family friendly weeknight recipe...even my kids absolutely love it!
Do we really need another pav bhaji recipe? There's definitely an abundant amount of pav bhaji recipes out there, I know, I know! But here I am with another one for you! When I created this blog, I wanted to have a variety of recipes on here so it can be a “one stop shop” for meals…despite there being hundreds of other versions. Plus, I really wanted to share how easy this is to make in the Instant Pot and why it's become one of our family favorite weeknight meals!
What is Pav Bhaji?
Pav bhaji was created as a fast lunch time dish back in the day and has now become a popular street food of India! There are so many versions of pav bhaji. However, it’s so versatile and there’s so many ways you can make this your own. That’s what I love about all recipes, it doesn’t HAVE to be exactly the same (except with baking-I'm a big believer in following baking methods precisely, there’s a science behind the methods and ingredients of baking!). With Pav Bhaji (pav meaning the bread, Bhaji meaning the flavorful vegetables), you can easily add what vegetables work for YOU and your household.
Pav bhaji recipes make it easy to use up the vegetables in your fridge that are about to go bad but not quite bad yet. I like to make this towards the end of the week when vegetables are still good but won't be so good within the next day or two. Usually pav bhaji includes the following vegetables: potatoes, cauliflower, peas, carrots, sometimes eggplant, tomatoes, and onions. BUT, we all know I like go non-traditional and make recipes work for me! For example, I NEVER buy eggplant. But I always buy zucchini. So that's what I use in my pav bhaji!
Another plus to this recipe is that I only cook it in the Instant Pot for 10 minutes.
- Potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli
- Edamame and/or Peas: Edamame is a great source of protein, fiber. However, peas is also a great source of nutrition and a better budget friendly option!
- Zucchini or eggplant. I like to use zucchini instead of eggplant because it’s easier for me to find, and something that I use in my kitchen daily.
- For sautéing:
- Onions, ginger and garlic paste, tomatoes
- Spices & Flavors:
- Pav Bhaji Masala: I like to use the Badshah or MTR brand. However, there are so many different brands out there-some spicier, some saltier, some more flavorful. Trial and error until you find your favorite one!
- Salt, sugar, tomato paste, lemon juice.
- Garnishings-(these are highly recommended as it is part of the dish!):
- Cilantro, tomatoes, onions, and garlic chutney.
- The Pav (bread):
- You may use pav bhaji buns from an Indian grocery store, soft dinner rolls, hamburger buns, or any bread of your choice!
- Turn Instant Pot in sauté mode. Wait until hot and add oil. Let the oil heat up, sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger. Add tomatoes until pasty. Add tomato paste. Turn instant pot off. Add the vegetables, pav bhaji masala, salt, sugar, and water. Give it a quick stir. Close the IP and turn valve to seal. Press manual 10 mins. Let the pressure release naturally.
- After pressure releases, use a potato masher or an immersion blender to mash to your desired consistency. I used to like mine a little chunky and this is achieved with a potato masher! But again, my little humans control my household right now and they like their's mashed completely which I can do with an immersion blender. Add lemon juice. Serve warm with toasted pav bhaji buns! Garnish with cilantro, garlic chutney, and serve with diced tomatoes and onions.
💭 Frequently Asked Questions & Tips
- What if I don’t have an immersion blender or a potato masher?
- You can use a pastry cutter, or a fork or larger spoon. Although this will take a little more time, it
- What if I don’t have an instant pot?
- You can make this by cooking the vegetables with your preferred method (boiling or steaming, microwave or stovetop) until tender, then following the instructions by using a pot on the stove top. Since the vegetables will already be cooked, you would add the cooked vegetables to Step 4 and then mash. Steaming vegetables also preserves more nutrients-I have used this method many times and it turns out wonderful!
- What if my pav bhaji is too watery after I mash it?
- Press the "Saute" mode on the Instant Pot and let it simmer until you reach your desired thickness of pav bhaji.
Feel free to message me on Instagram or reach out via email if you have any other questions!
🍴 More Recipes
- Corn Chaat with Peanuts
- Phyllo Chaat Cups
- Instant Pot Biryani
- Vegetable Masala Tofu Scramble
- Vegan Peanut Corn Curry
- Vegetable Samosa Puffs
If you loved this Instant Pot Pav Bhaji, let me know in the comments below! I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! Subscribe for my weekly emails at the bottom so you never miss a new recipe!
Instant Pot Pav Bhaji
- 2 tablespoons oil, vegetable or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 inch ginger, blended
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 large potato, roughly cubed
- 2 cups cauliflower, roughly cut
- 1 cup broccoli, roughly cut
- 1 cup carrots, roughly cut
- 1 cup zucchini, roughly cut
- 1 cup frozen edamame
- 1.5 tablespoon pav bhaji masala
- 1 teaspoon salt + more to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- ⅓ cup water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pack pav bhaji buns, soft dinner rolls, or hamburger buns
- Turn Instant Pot in sauté mode and heat oil.
- Temper the cumin seeds then add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and cook until water is released and the mixture is a paste-like consistency. Then, add tomato paste and combine well. Turn instant pot off.
- Add the potato, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, and edamame. Then, add the turmeric, pav bhaji masala, salt, sugar, and water. Give it a quick stir and combine well.
- Close the IP, turn valve to seal, and press manual mode, and set to 10 mins. Let the pressure release naturally (this takes about 15 minutes).
- After pressure releases, use a potato masher or an immersion blender to mash to your desired consistency. Add lemon juice and combine well. Add two tablespoons of sliced butter on top.
For the Buns:
- Slit the buns in half. Heat a pan on medium heat. Spread the remaining butter on each side of the buns. Place the buns on the pan and toast the buns on each side until golden brown.
- Serve warm with the buns. Garnish pav bhaji with cilantro, garlic chutney of choice (optional), and serve with diced tomatoes and onions on the side.
- Pav Bhaji Masalas are made differently so it's best to taste test your flavors before serving according to your preferences. I use the Badshah, MTR, or Shan pav bhaji masalas.