The ultimate lip-smacking food of the streets of India......PAV BHAJI is the spicy and flavorful mad mash of vegetables cooked in tomato-onion gravy served with crunchy onion and a dollop of butter on the top, complemented with butter oozing, hot crispy bread rolls called pav.
Pav bhaji is the comfort food for all of us at home. It is more than a snack, it makes a hearty lunch/dinner on weekends. The leftover bhaji sandwiched between bread sliced and toasted in butter on screaming-hot-tava makes the most devoured lunchbox recipe the next day to school for kids.
Pav bhaji is perfect to serve if you are hosting a party as it is loved by kids as well as adults. Recently I had hosted a farewell dinner for my Bahai neighbors who moved to a new house. As they all love Indian food, my theme for farewell dinner was Indian Street Food. When it comes to Indian Street food you can not do without Papdi Chaat, Pav Bhaji, and Dahi Bhalla on the menu. We all enjoyed the food and had a well-spent evening. The best part was assembling the Papdi chaat and relishing Pav Bhaji with drizzles of tamarind chutney.
Coming on to Pav Bhaji
Pav bhaji is a combination of two elements: Pav and Bhaji
Pav - These are the bread rolls or dinner rolls usually eggless. You can use any buns, hotdog rolls, burgers, or even bread slices toasted in butter.
Bhaji - The crazy mash-up of boiled vegetables like potato, cauliflower, and carrots are cooked in tomato-onion gravy. Make sure you add capsicum as it gives a nice flavour to the bhaji. Adding other veggies like peas, bottle gourd is optional. Some add beetroot also to give a nice deep red colour to the bhaji, again it is totally up to you.
Some tips to make lip-smacking bhaji
Bhaji calls for a lot of tomatoes and onion. For smooth bhaji use finely chopped onion and pureed tomatoes.
Do not skip adding capsicum as it gives a nice flavour to the bhaji.
The real taste of Pav Bhaji comes out with loads and loads of butter, do not skimp on the butter.
One of the most important spices that give bhaji its unique flavor is Pav Bhaji masala. I strongly recommend using Everest brand Pav Bhaji Masala which you can get in Indian Store. I add around 3 tablespoons of this masala at three different stages while making bhaji. The first tablespoon goes in while making the tomato-onion base for the bhaji. The second goes after I add the boiled and mashed vegetables to the tomato-onion base. The last one just before switching off the flame when bhaji is done.
Cuisine : Indian
Course : Snacks/Appetizer
Prep time : 30 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Servings : 6
4 Tbsp butter or oil (or take half butter and half oil)
4 Large onion finely chopped
3 Large tomato pureed
2 Tbsp ginger-garlic-green chili paste
1 Medium-sized capsicum finely chopped
4 Big-sized Potato peeled and cubed
1 Carrot Cut into roundels
10-12 Cauliflower florets
1/4 Cup Green peas (frozen /fresh )
1/4 Cup cabbage finely chopped
3 Cups Water
3 Tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tsp turmeric powder
2 Tbsp Lemon juice
Fresh coriander leaves (for garnish)
1 Small onion chopped (for garnish)
Dollops of butter (for garnish)
Tamarind chutney (for garnish), optional
12 Pav/Bread rolls
1. Ginger-garlic-green chili paste - Using mortar-pestle to make a fine paste of 4-5 garlic buds, 1" big ginger piece, and 2 green chilies and keep it aside.
2. Chopp and puree - Finely chop the capsicum, cabbage, and onion. Blend the tomatoes to make a smooth puree. Keep it ready to use it later.
3. Peas - If you are using frozen peas, microwave them for a minute and keep it ready to use it later. If you are using fresh peas boil them for 5 minutes in water to use it later. I have used frozen peas in my recipe.
4. Boil and Mash veggies - Peel, wash, and dice the potatoes and carrot. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and wash thoroughly. Add diced potato, carrot, and cauliflower florets in a pressure cooker along with 1 cup of water and cook up to 3 whistles and then let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid of the pressure cooker and mash the vegetables with the help of a masher in the cooker itself. There won't be much of water left in the pressure cooker as we added only one cup so no need to drain the water. Transfer the boiled and mashed vegetables to a clean bowl and keep it aside to use it later.
5. Tomato-onion base curry - Take a heavy-bottomed pan/ Kadai and add butter to it. Once the butter starts melting add ginger-garlic-green chili paste to it. Saute for two minutes and then add finely chopped onion and saute for five minutes on low flame until it becomes pinkish in and translucent.
6. Add finely chopped capsicum and cabbage and saute for another 5 to 7 minutes till onion becomes golden brown in colour also cabbage and capsicum becomes soft and tender.
7. Now add peas and tomato puree. Mix it well and add salt, turmeric powder, and 1 tablespoon of pav bhaji masala. Saute at medium flame for around 7 to 8 minutes.