To the spirit of Mumbai- Pav Bhaji

It's so ironical that I'm posting this when Mumbai is trying to spring back from it's most recent setback. The blasts!! My heart is filled with anger, empathy, fear and hatred in equal measures for those who escaped once again from the hands of law. Seems as if has to pay the price of being the heart of India, in every sense of the word. Just that this post was written well in advance for my first appearance on Honest Cooking and now its my dedication to the spirit of this effervescent city. 

No one can stay untouched from the charm of Indian streets. It is sure to engulf you like the proverbial snake charmer that the country seems to be famous for. The deafening noise levels, the myriad hues of colors, the diversity of culture in India is bound to make an everlasting impact on your mind & hearts. Once you get over grudging about the auto wallah, who cheated you like crazy and people, who sent you in opposite directions, when asking for help; the madness will settle in and you will start enjoying it all. 
After all it’s eclectic, chaotic, vibrant, buzzing and action packed all at the same time. topping this is is the fact that it’s deal hunter’s ultimate destination and a foodie’s paradise. So get ready to enjoy the feasts of Indian street food, whenever you pass those lanes and by lanes. But if you like your ‘golgappas’ to be served with gloved hands, then probably you should try recreating them at home!!

Pav Bhaji Recipe:

8 Pavs/ Dinner rolls
3 medium potatoes - boiled & mashed
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup chopped cauliflower
2 carrots - chopped
1 medium capsicum - finely chopped
3 tomatoes chopped
2 red onion - finely chopped
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp pav bhaji masala (Depends on the brand. Add less first, taste and then add)
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (Optional)
1-2 tsp lemon juice 
3 tbsp -  Oil
2 tbsp - butter

For garnish/ to serve:
1 onion - finely chopped
2-3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
2 slit green chillies
2-3 Lemon wedges
1 tbsp butter, cut into cubes

  • Boil cauliflower, carrot and peas with a pinch of salt. Drain excess water, retaining 1/2 cup.

  • Heat oil in a pan and fry the onions till light pink. Now add capsicum and saute for 2-3 mins.

  • Add the chopped tomatoes and let it cook till it softens. 

  • Then add the cooked vegetables along with mashed boiled potatoes. Add salt, turmeric, red chilly powder, pav bhaji masla and sugar and cook the vegetables on medium- low heat till done, about 5-6mins. Keep mashing with a potato masher or the back of the ladle to blend it all.

  • Add 1/4 cup water and to ensure that the bhaji doesn't dry out. Add 1 tsp lemon juice and mix it well.

  • Check seasoning and keep it aside.

For the pav
  • Heat a non stick pan or tava and melt butter. Cut the pav/ rolls horizontally into two and cook them on the pan, till lightly browned.

  • Place a large spoonful of hot bhaji on a plate. Top it with chopped onions, coriander & green chillies. Serve it with browned pav and lemon wedges. And add the finishing touch by topping the bhaji with a small cube of soft butter cube for the "melting" moment. 

  • Pav Bhaji masala is easily available in most of the grocery stores. I normally use MDH, Ashoka & Everest brands.

  • Using 1-2 tsp of ginger-garlic paste is also common in bhajis. You can try adding that too, though I prefer without it. If using, just add it after the onion turns pink

  • Topping the bhaji with butter does add to the flavour and softness, by lending moisture but to make it lighter you can avoid that

  • The joy of this dish is when its hot, so either try to brown the rolls while the bhaji is cooking or reheat it; but do ensure that its' hot.

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