On my last visit to India I realized that my appetite to eat Indian street food has diminished considerably. Yes, laugh at me if you want to because I am now the foodie who cannot eat street food back home without falling sick. Another thing is that one does not get Indian street food in the restaurants here. So I have resorted to cooking my favorite dishes at home. The final dish although tasty doesn’t taste as great as it does in India. The positive side being I can eat as much as I want without falling sick (Yippeee).
Pav Bhaji is an iconic street food across Mumbai. Having Pav bhaji with a huge dollop of butter at “Cannon” opposite CST station was almost like a pilgrimage when I was growing up. It is nothing but a mish mash of different vegetables sautéed in a very special blend of spices served with soft Buttered Pav or Bread.
I also love making Pav Bhaji when guests and friends are coming over as it is a one pot dish and a real party food. My version of pav bhaji takes just over an hour to cook and is a lighter version as I don’t smother it in Butter (mind you the butter adds to the flavor especially Amul butter which again is not available in Perth).
Here is the recipe (Cooking time 60 minutes, serves 7 – 8)
6 – 7 large Potatoes
2 medium Onions
4 medium Tomatoes
3 large Carrots
2 green Capsicums
2 Green Chillies finely chopped
1 Cup fresh or frozen Green Peas.
Finely chopped Coriander
Juice of 1 1/2 Lemon
Oil to saute the vegetables
1 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
2 tbsp readymade Pav Bhaji masala (I use Everest masala)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup Butter
Boil the Potatoes and Carrots in some water till soft. I usually stick them in a pressure cooker and give 4 whistles. Once cooked peel off the skins of the Potatoes (I did not remove the skin of the Carrots to retain the fibre) and chop the Carrots and keep aside.
Heat half of the Butter in a thick and deep bottomed pan add the chopped Onions and green chillies and sauté till the Onions have turned translucent. Now add the chopped Capsicums to this and sauté till the Capsicums are tender.
Add the chopped boiled Carrots and Tomatoes and sauté till the oil starts leaving the pan. This is an important stage because if you don’t saute the vegetables well the Bhaji tastes really raw.
Add the boiled and mashed Potatoes, Salt, knob of Butter, chilly powder and Pav Bhaji masala.
Take a Potato masher and mash the vegetables till they are all mushy and saute for 5 – 7 minutes.
Now add 3 – 4 cups of hot water, Peas and some Butter and let it cook on a low flame for atleast 15 – 20 minutes till the Butter has separated on top. Add the juice of 1 1/2 Lemon once you have turned off the gas.
There is a special way in which this dish is plated. For it you need:
Fresh Pav (Soft Bread). I could not find Pav in Perth so I used Hot dog Rolls instead as they have the same texture.
Thinly sliced Onions
Pav Bhaji masala to sprinkle on top.
Heat a pan and Butter to it and roast the Pav. Sprinkle some Pav Bhaji masala on top. Plate it up hot with the Bhaji and I can bet the first bite will take you back home.