Mumbai Pav Bhaji recipe – super quick recipe with short-cuts
Sometimes, you just want a quick pav bhaji for a mid week dinner. The spices, the medley of vegetables, the buttered and toasted pav, all work together to hit the spot!
The aroma of this dish takes me back to my home-city, Bombay, where a good pav bhaji was never too far away. I’ve been lucky to live in areas where the nearest pav bhaji was stuff of legends! But where I live in Bangalore, the closest I can get to a kickass pav bhaji is to make it myself.
The one good Pav Bhaji recipe I always resort to, is the one I learnt from my best friend, Preeti. The key trick is soaking a mix of Kashmiri and Bedgi red chillies along with peeled cloves of garlic in hot water, and then grind this to give the bright red colour, without adding any artificial colours, whatsoever. Don’t underestimate the power of the Kashmiri red chilli, yo!
But like I said, when I want quick pav bhaji in a hurry, I need to bypass the time-consuming steps. We are aiming for this dinner to hit the table in <30 minutes - 25 minutes to cook the pav bhaji, and the remaining time to set up, serve etc.
The time consuming pain point is pressure cooking whole potatoes and then trying to peel the hot potatoes. Man, these potatoes take FOREVER to cool down, epecially if you are breathing down their neck expecting them to cool down soon, so you can peel them, mash them and get on with your dinner. But hey, peeling a raw potato takes literally seconds, especially when you’re using an amazing peeler (I have a stash of these). So the time-saving trick is to peel the veggies raw, slice them or chop them and then pressure cook. So the pressure cooking of these veggies is much faster and you can straight mash them up in the cooker, no waiting for them to cool!
Since we are doing a super-fast Pav Bhaji recipe, the garlic gets mashed along with the veggies and we use red chilli powder instead of soaking and grinding the chillies. Another step bypassed.
Also, storing tetrapacks of tomato puree is a real saviour for superfast cooking like this recipe.
P.S. Please use a small 3L or so pressure pan / cooker. This cooks vegetables / rice / dal in minutes and we need full support from this smart gadget when we want curry in a hurry!
Taste verdict: This version tastes almost 95% as good as the longer process, so go ahead and give it a shot. Use a good quality Pav Bhaji Masala!
So are you ready to rock and roll?
Quick Mumbai Pav Bhaji in under 30 minutes
- 2 potatoes medium
- 1 carrot medium
- 1/2 cup green peas frozen or fresh
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 onion medium
- 1 green capsicum bell pepper small /
- 2 tbsps cooking oil
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 2 tsps pav masala bhaji
- 400 ml tomato puree tetrapack
- 3 - 4 tsps coriander fresh
- wedges lemon of
- pav or dinner rolls
- butter pav to toast the
- To prepare the pav bhaji, start by prepping the vegetables. Peel the potato and carrot. Wash the cauliflower florets well.
- Slice up the potatoes and carrot. (if you have access to frozen chopped vegetables, use them here to speed up the process)
- In a pressure pan, place sliced potatoes, carrots, cauliflower florets, frozen peas and garlic cloves. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 cup water. Pressure cook for 2 whistles and keep on sim for 5-6 minutes. Once you are able to open the cooker, open the lid and using a wooden masher or a potato masher, mash the cooked veggies to get a coarse puree.
- While the vegetables cook, using a food processor or a chopping board and knife, chop the onion and bell pepper finely.
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the finely chopped onion and bell pepper, and saute on medium flame until they are softened, around 5 minutes.
- To this, add the red chilli powder, pav bhaji masala and stir on low flame for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato puree, 1/2 - 3/4tsp salt and bring to a simmer.
- Add the mashed vegetables to this and thin with a a few spoons of water if required. Allow this to simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from flame, garnish with coriander and lemon wedges and serve with buttered and toasted pav.