Sunday, 2 March 2014

"Pav Bhaji"- Mumbai/Indian Street Meal

One of Mumbai's main street meal is the humble Pav Bhaji.
This dish is supposed to be an innovation that arose out of necessity of providing a nice hot meal to the hurried man on the streets of busy Mumbai. A complete meal in itself...
Pav is a type of bread, high in carbohydrates and fats (if served with butter) while bhaji is the vegetable-based curry portion, high in carbohydrates and proteins. 
This recipe uses the standard famous "Pav bhaji masala" which is a blend of spices like red chilli, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, cinnamon, clove, black cardamom, dry mango powder, Fennel seeds, turmeric powder that took Mumbai by storm. 
I have tried making the "Pav Bhaji" masala at home but you never get the perfect Mumbai taste, for that you need to use MDH or Everest Brand of the "Pav Bhaji" masala.
Today this dish is not just available on the streets of Mumbai but all over India and even some countries abroad, and now served in 5 star restaurants as well as weddings/functions.
I often make this at home and infact I learnt this dish from my grandmother who had it written in her hand written cook book and the source she mentioned was the famous tarla dalal. My grandmom would travel often to Mumbai to see her sister and in one of those trips she got hold of this recipe.
Serves 3

For the pav
Pavs - 6
Butter - 4 tbsp
For the bhaji
Potatoes - 
1 1/2 cups - boiled and mashed
Cauliflower - 1 cup - finely chopped
Green peas - 1/2 cup 
Carrots - 
1/2 cup - chopped
Onion - 1 cup - chopped
Capsicum - 1/2 cup - finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2 1/2 cups - chopped 
Turmeric powder - 
1/2 tsp 
Red chilli powder - 
1/2 tsp 
Pav bhaji masala - 
1 1/2 tbsp 
Black salt - 
1/2 tsp 
Butter - 
4 tbsp 
To be ground into a chilli-garlic paste
Dry kashmiri red chillies - 
3 to 4 - soaked in warm water
Garlic - 4 to 6 cloves 
For serving
Onion - 
1 large sized - chopped
Lemon wedges
Coriander leaves - c

For the bhaji:
Boil the cauliflower, peas and carrots till they are soft. Drain out the excess water.
Heat the butter in a large pan, add the onion and capsicum and sauté for 2 minutes. Then, add the prepared chilli-garlic paste and sauté till the onion softens.
Add the tomatoes and simmer till the oil separates.
Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, pav bhaji masala, black salt and salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the boiled vegetables and potatoes and mash thoroughly using a potato masher, adding ½ cup of water if required.
For the pav:
Slice each pav into 2 horizontally. Apply a little butter to each side, Heat a large tava and cook the pav on both sides till the pieces are lightly browned.
How to proceed:
Serve the hot bhaji on 4 individual plates and top with the onion and coriander.
Serve with the hot pav and lemon wedges.

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