Instant Pot Pav Bhaji

Pav bhaji is a popular street food from Bombay, India. It is typically a tangy mix of vegetables and spices cooked down with butter on a ‘tawa,’ or large skillet. It is served with some fresh toasted loaves of bread or “pav,” sharp onions, cilantro, lime, and more butter! This version is a quicker take on the street food classic. Instant pot pav bhaji will be ready to sop up with bread in less than 30 minutes!

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November 14, 2019
Serves 4-6 Total time:
30 Minutes
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Directions

1

Set the Instant Pot to the sauté setting.

2

Add 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp oil and 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds. As the oil heats, the cumin seeds will begin to sputter. Add green chilies and onions and allow the onions to soften for 2-3 minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste and stir to combine.
Note: To make the ginger-garlic paste,  grate or grind 2 cloves garlic and ½ inch nub ginger.

3

Add 1 tsp fennel seeds, ½ tsp turmeric, 2 tsp cumin powder, 2 tsp coriander powder, 2 tsp red chili powder (to taste), 1 tsp amchur powder and stir to form a paste. Add 2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder or paprika, optionally, for the red color.

4

Add tomatoes and allow them to cook down for 3-4 minutes. Add 1 tsp garam masala powder and the remaining vegetables. Add 1 cup water and 2 tsp salt (to taste).

5

Close the lid securely and set the Instant Pot to manual for 8 minutes. Make sure the vent is in the center sealing position. Quick release the pressure until the stopper goes down and it is safe to open.

6

Once the pav bhaji cools a little, mash it or pulse 2-3 times with an immersion blender.
Note: you do not need to puree, so just pulsing a few times will ensure you get the correct, chunky consistency.

7

Adjust seasoning to taste, adding more salt, red chili or garam masala as desired.

8

Set the Instant Pot to the sauté setting and allow the Pav Bhaji to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes with the lid slightly covering it.
Note: Be very careful, and keep it partially covered, as it will splatter.

9

Turn off and mix in 1 dollop of butter and a few squirts of lime or lemon juice.

  • If you find the pav bhaji has released too much water, feel free to cook down for a few more minutes on the sauté setting to evaporate the water.
  • Butter is a key ingredient to pav bhaji. If you are not able to consume dairy, try vegan butter such as Earth Balance. You may also use ghee or a mild vegetable oil like canola or sunflower, but butter is preferable.
  • In pav bhaji, you may use whichever vegetables you like, but avoid adding water releasing vegetables such as cabbage, zucchini or squash.
  • If you prefer to use a pav bhaji masala, rather than creating your own spice blend, add 2 tbsp of a pav bhaji masala such as MDH, Badshah or Everest brand. If using pav bhaji masala, you may skip adding any of the spices on step 5.

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