Walking down the streets of Mumbai, you cannot miss the distinct "tak tak" sound along with a mouth-watering aroma floating to you from the street-side eateries. This is the sound & aroma of "Pav Bhaji" (Spicy Mixed Veggies served with Toasted buns) being prepared - a favorite street food of Mumbai (one of India's biggest cities). A visit to one of the many popular Pav-bhaji eateries is a must-do for any tourist visiting this great city. As the name implies, Pav Bhaji is a combination of bhaji (spicy mixed vegetable curry) served with hot buttered pav (bun).
Pav Bhaji is the epitome of Indian fast-food snacks. It is such a wholesome dish that it also serves as a great substitute for a full meal. Said to have originated as a easy-to-prepare and quick-to-eat dish among the workers of Mumbai's textile mill industry, this dish has now won the hearts of billions of people all over India and the world. It is highly recommended for small evening get-together or for family gatherings. Since "bhaji" is prepared by mashing all the vegetables, it leaves a person clueless to the ingredients used to prepare the dish and is a great way to sneak those veggies into your kid's meal. Time to bring the favorite flavor of Mumbai on your dinner table!
AUTHENTIC MUMBAI PAV BHAJI RECIPE
Serves : 3-4
For preparing Bhaji:
1/4 Cup Green peas (fresh or frozen); boiled till soft & lightly mashed
3/4 cup finely chopped Onion
1/2 cup finely chopped Green capsicum
1/4 cup grated Cauliflower
4 medium-size Tomatoes; finely chopped
1 tsp fresh Ginger paste
2 tsps fresh Garlic paste
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh Cilantro (Coriander) leaves
1 1/2 tbsps Pav Bhaji Masala; available in Indian Grocery Stores
1 tbsp dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi)
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (Red Chilli powder) or to taste
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 1/2 tbsp Butter
1 tsp Oil
1 tsp Lemon Juice
4 tsp Butter
1 tsp Pav Bhaji Masala
4 Lemon wedges
4 tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro leaves
How to make Mumbai Pav Bhaji
- Heat oil & butter in a deep non stick pan on medium heat. Add chopped onions & sauté till it turns light brown.
- Add ginger & garlic paste & sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add capsicum & cauliflower and sauté for 1 more minute.
- Add tomatoes & cook till the tomatoes become mushy.
- Add salt, pav bhaji masala, red chilli powder & turmeric powder. Saute for 2 minutes.
- Add the mashed potatoes, green peas & 1 cup of water. Mix well.
- Mash the mixture till the mixture becomes an inconsistent paste & the ingredients are unrecognizable. Keep stirring occasionally. Add water accordingly from time to time if the mixture becomes too dry.
- Add dried fenugreek leaves & mix well. Adjust salt to your taste. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes or till it gets a thick consistency.
- Add chopped cilantro leaves & lemon juice. Mix & cook for a minute.
- Yummy Bhaji is now ready. Turn off the heat.
- Slit all pavs horizontally and keep aside.
- Place a non stick griddle on medium heat & add 1/2 tsp butter.
- When the butter melts, Sprinkle some pav bhaji masala. Mix & spread the mix evenly on the griddle.
- Split open one pav and place both halves on the mixture. Press down the pav halves 2 to 3 times. Cook both sides of the pav halves till the pav halves are light brown and crisp on both the sides. Add more butter if required.
- Similarly cook the remaining pavs.
- Place 1/4 th of hot bhaji on one half of the plate. On the other half, place 2 pavs alongside 1/4 cup of onions and a lemon wedge.
- Garnish the bhaji with chopped cilantro leaves and top it with a blob of butter. Serve immediately.
- The mixture can spurt up as it boils, so keep a lid on it when you are not actively stirring it.
- I feel it is healthier to avoid red chilli powder, so I prefer to instead add 1-2 chopped green chillies(such as Serrano) to the dish. You can use whichever option you prefer.
- Again, being health-conscious, I skip the blob of butter which is served separately on the plate.