I’m trying to cross off Bucket List Item #3 – Learn to Cook Like Ma. Flavorful, authentic vegetarian Indian food made from scratch. What’s not to love?
Today’s dish is actually one of my aunt’s specialty dishes. But she made it frequently for big family gatherings, so it still screams home to me. Plus, it has a fun, superhero name. We eat Pav (pronounced Pow!) Bhaji with toasted soft bread rolls, finely diced sweet onion and cilantro as a garnish.
If you have a pressure cooker, you will find this dish much easier to make. I’ve found that pressure cookers can vary greatly from model to model, so make sure to understand how yours works and don’t just blindly follow my directions below. Sorry if that’s common sense and not something I need to warn you about.
- 1/2 head of cauliflower
- 4 medium-sized potatoes
- 1 bell pepper
- 3-4 large tomatoes
- 4 cups of frozen mixed vegetables. (Normally a mixture of carrots, corns, peas and green beans)
- 1/2 of a large onion
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Soft bread rolls
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 tsp pav bhaji masala
- 3 tsp salt
- 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp chili powder
- Get your sous chef to dice the onion, the cauliflower, the potatoes and the tomatoes roughly.
- In a pressure cooker add the oil, the onion, the mustard seeds and the cumin seeds.
- Let cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Add in the remaining diced vegetables from step 1 and the frozen vegetables.
- Add in the salt and 2 (of the 3) tsp of pav bhaji masala.
- Stir well.
- Add in 2/3 of a cup of water.
- Close up the pressure cooker and let cook until the steam beckons you with its whistle.
- Shut off the heat.
- When the pressure is relieved from the cooker, you should then be able to open the cover.
- Do NOT force the pressure cooker to open if it’s still pressurized. Also, pressure cookers are different, so yours might not whistle. Read the instructions that came with it.
- Mash the mixture well. My aunt uses a masher. I just looked on Amazon and it’s technically called a “potato masher”, but I’m pretty sure it’s legal to use it on all the vegetables.
- Put the heat on low.
- Finely dice the green bell pepper.
- Add the diced peppers to the pot. It will give the dish a bit of crunch.
- Add in the final tsp of the pav bhaji masala and all the brown sugar.
- Add in the chili powder and the lime juice.
- Cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
- Toast the soft bread rolls.
- Enjoy with approximately eight of your family members.
There are probably too many acceptable deviations to count, but here are some of the obvious ones.
- You can add cilantro and sweet onions as a garnish.
- You can use any type of bread you’d like.
- I put fresh lime on all Indian food.
- You can use any frozen vegetable mixture you want.
- You can ditch the cauliflower.
This recipe makes a giant batch that will serve 8 people. It contains a ton of ingredients, so the costs do add up, but if you tailor the recipe to include vegetables that are on sale, you can probably cut this cost down considerably.
- 1/2 head of cauliflower – $1.25
- 4 medium-sized potatoes – $0.45
- 1 bell pepper – $0.30
- 3-4 large tomatoes – $2.00
- 4 cups of frozen mixed vegetables – $2.00
- 1/2 of a large onion – $0.15
- 1/3 cup of olive oil – $0.45
- 1 tbsp lime juice – $0.10
- Soft bread rolls (12 pack) – $4.10
- 1 tsp mustard seeds – $0.02
- 1 tsp cumin seeds – $0.02
- 3 tsp pav bhaji masala – $0.19
- 3 tsp salt – $0.01
- 1.5 tbsp brown sugar – $0.03
- 2 tsp chili powder – $0.02