Pav bhaji is nothing but a mish mash of vegetables that is simmered in onion and tomato sauce and spiked with a wide variety of spices. To me, the Pav bhaji is much much more than just a snack or a fast food. It is a quick meal that can be made in a hurry or that can be grabbed on the go. It is that perfect combo meal of butter toasted rolls and a vegetable gravy which again has oodles of butter? Still with me?? Good!!
This dish almost always takes me back to my growing years in Bellary. My sister and I would frequent this fast food joint. This joint was actually a small push cart with "Himalaya Paani-Puriwala" written in bold letters. To us girls, he made the best street food in the world. Even to this day, I cannot think of anyone else who makes a better kachori chaat than he does. Apart from his Kachori chaat, one thing that we really enjoyed was his Pav bhaji.
The memory of "bhaiyya" (that's what we called him) making the bhaji and toasting the rolls on a huge skillet is still fresh in my memory. First he would place this skillet which was at least a foot and a half in diameter on a kerosene stove and add a very large dollop of butter. Then went the vegetables and then went this pre made sauce. We would watch in awe as bhaiyya mashed the vegetables and the curry changed color right before our eyes. Then he would tear a packet of rolls, slit them and slather them with butter. And these rolls would be roasted on the same skillet along side the bhaji. To me, it was nothing short of magic. All my senses would come alive and by the time the pav bhaji would be served, we would be salivating.
As I said earlier, to me Pav bhaji is a full meal. I normally make Pav bhaji for dinner and round it off with a huge glass of lassi. If you think the quantity of the bhaji is a little too much, then do not fret. Because they taste even more delicious the next day. With enhanced flavors, they can be eaten either with rotis or sandwiched between two slices of bread. The recipe that I share today was given to me by a friend in Dar. I have made quite a few changes to her recipe. I have made this quite a few times and it has always been a hit with my family and friends. I really do hope you like it!!
Pav bhaji recipe:
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 25min
Ingredients for the bhaji:
Onion- 1 large, finely chopped
Ginger- garlic paste- 1tsp
Potatoes- 2 large, peeled and cubed
Carrot- 1, large, peeled and cubed
French beans- 10, chopped
Cauliflower- about 12-15 florets
Peas- 1/2 cup
Bell pepper- 1 small, finely chopped
Tomato- 3, 1 finely chopped and two pureed
Salt- to taste
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Paprika powder- 1tsp
Pav bhaji masala- 1tbsp
Black salt- 1/2tsp
coriander leaves to garnish
For the Pav:
8-10 ladi pavs
Butter to toast the pavs
Pav bhaji masala - optional
One large onion- finely chopped
Coriander leaves to garnish- 1tbsp
Lemons- 2 chopped into wedges
For the bhaji-
- Heat butter in a thick bottomed pan and add the chopped onion. Once it turns transcluscent, add the ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes.
- Add the potatoes, carrots, beans and peas and fry till they are tender.
- Stir in the Cauliflower florets, chopped bell pepper, salt, sugar, turmeric and paprika powder and sauté for 3-4mins more.
- Add the chopped tomato and tomato puree, mix well, add two and a half cups of water and cook covered till the vegetables are completely cooked.
- Mash the mixture with potato masher. Add the pac bhaji masala and black salt and mash some more.
- Allow the bhaji to simmer for five more mins. If you feel the mixture is thick then add half cup of water and allow the mixture to cook for two mins more.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with toasted PAv
For the Pav:
- Slit the Pavs vertically and spread butter generously on the insides of the bread.
- Place the pac buttered side down on a pre heated skillet and toast till brown and crisp.
- Turn the pac and toast on the other side as well. Use more butter if required.
- Place a cup of bhaji, two toasted Pavs, chopped onions and lemon wedges on a plate.
- Top the bhaji with extra butter and pav bhaji masala if required and garnish with coriander leaves and serve immediately.