Indian Street Food: Pav Bhaji

The charm of Indian streets is sure to engulf you like the proverbial snake charmer, that the country seems to be famous for.
By Anamika Arun

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!!

So sharing a popular Indian street food from our own Mumbai (Bombay) – Pav Bhaji, for all those times when you can’t be on the Indian streets. Pav Bhaji and Mumbai have a rock-steady relationship for generations. It was born out of sheer necessity to serve hot food to people on the move. Hence buttered dinner rolls was served with piping hot mashed & spiced vegetables to quench the hunger pangs of thousands of daily travelers. Soon it was a very popular dish across the country, taking the pride of place as Mumbai’s answer to the Big Mac.

Pav Bhaji Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 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
Method
  • 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 bhajimasla 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.
Notes:

 

  • 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.

Anamika Arun

Anamika Arun is a country-hopping and passionate foodie. Her love for food has reached new levels by chronicling it in her cookery blog Taste Junction. Anamika's taste buds are primarily Indian, but she loves flirting with new cuisines and recipes from across the world.

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7 Comments
  1. Anamika,

    There’s a certain charm in your writing. Like the way you have explained the Indian street food scene. Pav Bhaji is such a typical Mumbayya food, we love it too.

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