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This Instant Pot Cauliflower Pav Bhaji comes together in less than 30 minutes, and uses a few easy tweaks to keep it a low carb Indian food meal while still keeping the integrity of the dish.

Overhead View of Instant Pot Cauliflower Pav Bhaji (Low Carb Indian Food)

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you already know how much I love Indian food. I make several Indian dishes at home, including Dal Makhani, Rogan Josh, Naan, and my personal favorite, Indian Butter Chicken.

Pav Bhaji is a great choice when you want a vegetarian option. Or if you want a veggie-rich dish, but don’t want to forgo the meat, grill up some Tandoori chicken or fish to serve along with it. In terms of low carb Indian food, this recipe will surprise you with just how flavorful it is!

Instant Pot Cauliflower Pav Bhaji (Low Carb Indian Food) with Description

What is Pav Bhaji?

Pav Bhaji is an Indian street food dish originating in Mumbai.

Bhaji is a vegetable curry usually made of potato, cauliflower, green peas, onion, and garlic in a spiced tomato sauce. It may also contain carrots, green beans, and/or bell peppers. This curry can be served chunky or mashed a bit for less texture.

Butter is typically melted down on top of the curry, which adds flavor and richness.

Additionally, garnishes can include fresh onion, cilantro, and lime or lemon wedges.

This rich vegetable curry is then served with toasted, buttered bread rolls, known as Pav.

Is Pav Bhaji Junk Food?

Pav Bhaji is street food, but not necessarily junk food. It’s commonly served as lunch or a snack, similar to how we’d buy a hot dog or taco from a street vendor in a big city. Compared with other street foods that we’re familiar with (like a burger and fries), a vegetable-rich curry doesn’t seem at all like junk food.

When you’re limiting your carb intake, Pav Bhaji isn’t usually thought of as a low carb Indian food. It may contain a few different starchy vegetables, such as potato, carrot, and green peas, and it’s also served with bread. However, if you’re looking for low carb Indian food, I have you covered with my version.

Pav Bhaji Nutrition Facts

According to Nutritionix, one serving of classic Pav Bhaji (about 1 1/2 cups with 2 rolls) has the following nutrition information:

  • 390kcals
  • 11g total fat
  • 63g carbohydrates
  • 9.4g fiber
  • 12g protein

Instant Pot Cauliflower Pav Bhaji (Low Carb Indian Food) Front View

Low Carb Indian Food

I was able to lower the carbs quite a bit without sacrificing any of the flavor. Here are the alterations I made to ensure that this dish was a low carb friendly meal:

  • I omitted the potatoes and used more cauliflower. In general, cauliflower is used frequently as a potato substitute (think: mashed cauli, cauliflower gratin, cauli hash, etc.) and this dish isn’t lacking anything by skipping the potato.
  • I only used 1/4 cup of green peas for the entire recipe. I love green peas, but let’s face it, they are high in carbs!
  • Instead of serving this Cauliflower Pav Bhaji with regular bread rolls, I served them with my Low Carb Biscuits with just a couple changes. I omitted the 2 oz sharp yellow cheddar, and omitted the garlic powder. Also, I used almond meal instead of almond flour for a “whole wheat” look.

Cauliflower Pav Bhaji with Description

Garam Masala

Garam masala is a spice mix originally from the Punjab region in northern India. It varies slightly by region, as well as by family and personal preference. Garam masala goes into many curries, and is used on its own as a seasoning.

Garam masala literally translates to “warm spice mix”, but this doesn’t refer to heat level. Warm in this sense refers to the warming Ayurvedic effect these spices have on the body.

Spices in Garam Masala

Garam masala usually contains:

  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Dried ginger
  • Black cardamom
  • Green cardamom
  • Black pepper
  • Bay leaves

And may also have:

  • Mace
  • Fennel
  • Star anise
  • Fenugreek

Is Garam Masala the Same as Curry Powder?

Garam masala is not the same thing as curry powder; although they share a few ingredients, each is its own unique spice blend. Curry typically contains quite a bit of turmeric, which gives it a bright yellow color, which isn’t present in garam masala. Also, garam masala is typically a bit sweeter than curry.

Low Carb Biscuits

Low Carb Biscuits Recipe

How to Make This Instant Pot Recipe on the Stovetop

This recipe is relatively easy to make on the stovetop, although the Instant Pot really does make very fast work of it! Here is how to make this recipe on the stovetop instead:

  1. Heat a medium to large saucepan over medium heat. Add the ghee and onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir the garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt, turmeric, chili powder, and fenugreek and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the cauliflower, water, and tomato paste to the pot. Bring to a boil, and then cover the pot, turn the heat down to simmer, and cook until the cauliflower is tender, but not mushy, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the butter, and once melted, stir in the peas and lemon juice.
  4. Serve topped with fresh cilantro leaves and minced red onion sprinkled on top, along with fresh lemon wedges to squeeze on top.

More Indian Recipes:

Close Up of Instant Pot Cauliflower Pav Bhaji (Low Carb Indian Food)
Did you make this recipe? Please rate it and leave a comment below because I love hearing from you! You can also tag @anediblemosaic on social media. To stay up-to-date FOLLOW ME on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Xoxo, Faith

Instant Pot Cauliflower Pav Bhaji (Low Carb Indian Food)

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings: 8 people
This Instant Pot Cauliflower Pav Bhaji comes together in less than 30 minutes, and uses a few easy tweaks to keep it a low carb Indian food meal while still keeping the integrity of the dish.

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Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed clarified butter ghee
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 5 large cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala spice mix
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1 3/4 lbs cauliflower about 1 large head, chopped into florets
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup frozen green peas thawed (optional; leave out to lower the carbs)
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For serving:

  • 4 Buttered rolls I used my Low Carb Cheddar Bay Biscuits
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Minced red onion
  • Fresh lemon or lime wedges

Instructions
 

  • Turn the Instant Pot on, press “Sauté”, and wait 2 minutes for the pot to heat up. Add the ghee and onion and cook until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt, turmeric, chili powder, and fenugreek and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Press “Cancel” to stop sautéing.
  • Add the cauliflower, water, and tomato paste to the pot. Turn the pot on Manual, High Pressure for 2 minutes and then do a quick release.
  • Stir in the butter, and once melted, stir in the peas and lemon juice.
  • Serve topped with fresh cilantro leaves and minced red onion sprinkled on top, along with fresh lemon wedges to squeeze on top.

Notes

  • Net Carbs: 13g per serving (1/8 of curry and 1/2 buttered low carb biscuit)

How to Make This Recipe on the Stovetop Instead of in an Instant Pot:

  1. Heat a medium to large saucepan over medium heat. Add the ghee and onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir the garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt, turmeric, chili powder, and fenugreek and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the cauliflower, water, and tomato paste to the pot. Bring to a boil, and then cover the pot, turn the heat down to simmer, and cook until the cauliflower is tender, but not mushy, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the butter, and once melted, stir in the peas and lemon juice.
  4. Serve topped with fresh cilantro leaves and minced red onion sprinkled on top, along with fresh lemon wedges to squeeze on top.

Nutrition

Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 640mg | Potassium: 676mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 790IU | Vitamin C: 71.7mg | Calcium: 221mg | Iron: 2.2mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Vegetarian Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Low Carb Indian Food

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Instant Pot Cauliflower Pav Bhaji Pin

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I believe in, which means that even though it doesn’t cost you anything extra, I will receive a small amount of money from the sale of these items. Thank you for helping to support An Edible Mosaic!

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating




16 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was amazing. So I’m just wondering could I use frozen cauliflower instead of fresh ??

    1. Nessa, Thank you so much, I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe!

      Yes, you can use frozen cauliflower instead of fresh, just know that it will be a bit softer and a bit more watery. If you want to cook off some of the additional water, you could use the Saute function and let some water cook off after you release the pressure.

      To use frozen cauliflower instead of fresh, instead of setting the Instant Pot to Manual, High Pressure for 2 minutes, set it to Manual, High Pressure for 0 minutes (it’s basically done cooking when it comes up to pressure), and then do a quick pressure release.

  2. 5 stars
    This was terrific. I omitted the fenugreek because I had none in my spice drawer. Served it with red lentil naan.

  3. I love pav bhaji and that looks so tasty.

  4. 5 stars
    Always loved them !!

  5. You can mash it a bit and it will look like a proper bhaji…
    Also it will be easy to have it with bun

  6. banazer noor says:

    5 stars
    best recipes website well done

  7. 5 stars
    I made this for lunch and it was seriously out of this world. The flavor was incredible and the texture was perfect–restaurant quality and the whole thing took maybe 20 minutes! I served it over quinoa, and can’t wait to have the leftovers tomorrow!

    1. Jamie, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it! :)

  8. Jane Davidson | Typically Jane says:

    5 stars
    Yup! This looks AMAZING! I have it pinned and can’t wait to try it. We have been doing a lot of low carb stuff, but been missing Indian food.

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