Quick Pav Bhaji Recipe | Vegetable Pav Bhaji Recipe | Indian Recipes
Street foods! Aaaah, brings wonderful memories of my childhood growing up in northern parts of India. What is candy/chocolate to many a kid, Chaat was to me when I was little. And it holds true till date. While I am a self proclaimed "sweetest person around ", :p I do not posses high tolerance for sweets/desserts when it comes to my food. I am a savory lover and my faults lie in binging on all things crispy, crunchy and/or spicy! And bread. I LOVE bread.  Street foods has all that and more. It has a wonderful balance of taste, texture, aroma and heartiness that speaks to my palate.
Quick Pav Bhaji Recipe | Vegetable Pav Bhaji Recipe | Indian Recipes
But street foods have an unfortunate reputation - as junk food! So how do you stay away while comforting your sensory needs? You make it yourself, that's how :). Sadly, who has time nowadays? Especially to do things that actually mean a lot for one's sanity?  How to you solve this issue?  Take this Pav (bread) Bhaji (vegetable curry) for example. An uncomplicated dish where a spicy (almost) smooth textured vegetable stew is served with a nicely toasted buttered bread. Nothing fancy, in fact its easy to put together.  But depending on the ingredients and your skill level, it takes anywhere from 40 minutes to 1 hour to make with multiple cooking included (boiling potatoes, peas separately etc etc) If it did not look like such a deal breaker before, trust me, after this post it will.
Quick Pav Bhaji Recipe | Vegetable Pav Bhaji Recipe | Indian Recipes
Using pressure cooker is one thing. I am sure many have done so already. But the real essence to this method lies in this OPOS technique. Cooking the vegetables in their own juices enhances the taste multifold. Adding fat becomes a perk, not a necessity for flavor!  High heat and minimal cooking retains most of the nutrition. Best of all, its all in one pot - so saves you time and energy. Usually a red food coloring is added to give that deep color. I opted to use some red beets instead, along with Kashmiri Chilli powder (provides color with heat) which does the job beautifully. The amount of spices all depend on your preference and the quality of the ingredients used. So play around with it next time around until you hit your sweet (err, savory?) spot. :)
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 2-3 people
  • Yields: Around 2 cups
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped Tomato
  • 1 cup small dice Potato
  • 1/2 cup grated/shredded Cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup grated/shredded Cabbage
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Capsicum/Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated red Beetroot
  • 1/4 cup frozen Green Peas
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp >OPOS Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves), crushed
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1-2 tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala, or to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly squeezed Lemon Juice, to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp finely chopped Cilantro, to garnish
  • 4-6 Pavs
  • 1-2 tbsp Butter for topping (optional)
Vegan & Gluten Free Options

1. Butter: You can use Vegan Butter or simply additional neutral flavored oil.

2. Bread: Opt for wheat free rolls, either homemade or store bought to make this Gluten Free . A wheat free bread that you normally would eat for toast also works.
1. Please follow the recipe EXACTLY as stated for the first few times.  Standardize your pressure cooker before starting the recipe if you have not done so earlier. This is done to ensure that the timings work the same way as it works for OPOS recipes.  Take a 2L/3L pressure cooker. Add the butter, oil and 2 tbsp water . Give it a good whisk until combined.
2. Next arrange the onions and tomatoes half and half covering the base. These cook and release additional moisture that aids cooking. So we are cooking in veggies own juice instead of watering it down thereby increasing flavor.
3. Next goes in potatoes.
4. Next layer is cauliflower and cabbage.
5. Bell Peppers/Capsicum and grated beets go in next. You can also add finely cubed beets as well.
6. Then goes in frozen green peas.
7. The final layer is the spices. You can vary the amount based on your preference. Start with this proportion and then adjust accordingly next time around.
8. Close the lid, place the weight and cook on HIGH. . The flame should cover the bottom of the cooker.  Make sure it does not extend to the sides. Will cause the handles to burn. Set the timer to 6 minutes especially as a precaution so that you don't go away anywhere. You need 2 Whistles
9. The pressure valve will pop out around 5-6 minute mark. Keep a watch out for it.

Note: If it does not in another minute or so, check if steam is leaking out the sides of your lid. That means gasket is at fault. In that case switch off the cooker and open the lid. If cooked, proceed with Step 12.  Otherwise, add some (1-2 tbsp ) water, stretch your gasket and place it again for 1 Whistle.
10. Switch off at the second whistle. I got my second whistle at 6:55 minutes. I was using 3L litre
11. You can release pressure immediately for a more vibrant color. Usually if it was just a side dish, I would release pressure. But in this case, we need  nicely mashed veggies for Pav Bhaji. Hence, I let the cooker settle down. Takes around 6-8 minutes.
12. On opening, this is how it looks like.
13. Give it a good mix. - See the color coming together from the beets? :)
14. Now give it a good mash until you cannot discern one vegetable from another.
15. Squeeze some lemon juice and combine. Adjust seasoning to suit your taste. If little sour from tomatoes, you can add a pinch of sugar to balance.
Serve hot/warm topped with some butter and a garnish of cilantro. Toasted Pavs (dinner rolls) along with finely chopped onions and sliced lemons. Delicious Pav bhaji is all ready. Don't be surprised if the time taken to finish it is same as the time you took to cook it :)
Quick Pav Bhaji Recipe | Vegetable Pav Bhaji Recipe | Indian Recipes

Ideal Accompaniments

Quinoa Dinner Rolls By DK on Apr 1, 2009
Bulgur Wheat Dinner Rolls By DK on Aug 5, 2009
Graham Honey Bread By DK on Sep 3, 2011

Recipe Reference

My recipe notes using OPOS® method

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By Devi on Dec 28, 2020

Lovvvvved the bhaji- it was bang on in terms of flavour.. this is definitely a party recipe and a keeper for sure! I have tried most of your opos recipes- kurma and mysore pak were just amazing!!

By Kamna on Aug 23, 2020

Hi. Cooked pav bhaji in a 2 lt magic pot today. While the favours were great, faced charring at the bottom. Did 2 batches - first batch with buffer layer as mentioned in the recepies. Batch 2 with 3 tbsp butter and 1.5 tbsp oil, 2 tbsp water. Not sure what the reason could be. Only change to your recepie was that I skipped cabbage as didn't have any at home.

Cabbage should not be the problem. What was the timing? Was the charring on the sides or bottom? --DK

By BJ on Jul 4, 2020

I tried Pav Bhaji recipe today and we all loved it. It was flavorful and delicious. I missed to add the water but it didn’t burn. Thank you for the clear direction.

So happy to hear your feedback BJ. Appreciate it :)--DK

By Anjali on May 26, 2020

Which veggies can i substitute? I have beans, carrots , peas and capsicum..no cabbage, cauliflower or beets! Thanks..

Just use whatever you have after the onion/tomato layer. It acts as the buffer to prevent burning. --DK

By bkl on Mar 28, 2020

I'd love to try this but wouldn't onions, tomatoes and garlic taste uncooked.

Never had that issue in all my 2+ years of OPOS cooking. --DK

By Rashmi on Sep 17, 2019

Thanks for the recipe.. I do it often and it’s a hit

By Suriya on Feb 19, 2019

What brand pav bhaji masala?

Don't have any favourite brand as such. You can use whatever you prefer. --DK

By Nutan on Jan 18, 2019

When u have written the measurements as 1 cup , can u let me know 1 cup means exactly how much? TIA

I use US cup which is 240ml. --DK

By Bharati Adhyapak on Oct 8, 2018

Very interesting... will try very soon and get back to you

Will look forward to it Bharati :) --DK

By Cressida on Jul 30, 2018

Made this on a rainy day for lunch and was pleased with the results especially since it only took 6minutes and I already had all the required vegetables in my fridge This will now be on my weekly menu for sure :)

YAY - that's a fabulous choice. I love me some hot spicy pav bhaji on a winter/rainy day as well with "buttered" pav :p. Thanks for leaving me a feedback Cressida. Appreciate it :) --DK

By Neha on Mar 9, 2018

How much water do you add in here? When you say cooking in the juice.. does that mean you are not putting any water what so ever

Only 2 tbsp of water (step 1). Thats about it. The flavor is intense this way and you get the complete goodness of the veggies in their full glory :) If you want to add water for consistency, add some warm water after its cooked. If such less water worries you about burning, then add 1/4 cup at the onset and when comfortable slowly reduce the amount after few trials. --DK

By Siri on Feb 20, 2018

Oh boy! Pav Bhaji looks so darn good. We both are HUGE pav bhaji fans and I have bookmarked this to give a try. Love, Siri

:) <3 --DK