Friday, March 13, 2015

Pav Bhaji-Mumbai Street Style Chat

I somehow got hooked onto the tastes of Mumbai street food. I love Pav Bhaji. Yes! I can shamelessly dump in 2 plates in one go. When it comes to Pav bhaji, I have no portion control neither the butter nor the potatoes bother me. I can simply have them for all the meals of the day.
My love for Pav bhaji started when my dad used to tell me tales of his travel, especially the frequent Mumbai trips and how the street vendor would make bhaji in minutes with butter oozing out and how soft and flavorful the buns were. Back then there were not so many North Indian chaat joints or chaat stalls in sweet shops. So I would dream about me eating Pav bhaji one day in the streets of Mumbai. Slowly few north Indian places started budding out in the city but still oweing to their questionable cleanliness dad never allowed us to eat from those places.

One fine day the famous Shree Krishna sweets decided to open a chat stall and then came their famous ghee oozing pav bhajis that were nothing less than yumm! I could never describe my first experience of eating that hot ghee oozing pav bhajis. Ahh! Nirvana it was! Still I am addicted to Pav Bhaji but the ones you get here are mean and just not right. So I have really stopped eating but then this week when I made Vada pav I had few pavs left and what else would be good enough to use those pavs other than Pav Bhaji? The house was filled with the buttery bhaji aroma which cannot be explained in words. M was speechless until he finished his first pav and said they tasted heavenly and just like the ones you get in Mumbai streets. I made these for lunch as they tend to be heavy on your tummy. I have written enough I suppose, let’s get to the recipe.
For  Bhaji:
Green Peas-1 cup
Cauliflower-1 cup
Capsicum-1/2 cup, chopped
Onion-2, finely chopped+ more for serving
Tomatoes-2, finely chopped
Ginger-Garlic paste-1 tbsp
Red chili powder- 1 & ½ tsp
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Pav Bhaji Masala powder-1 tbsp
Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek leaves-1 tsp
Black salt-1/4 tsp (optional)
Chaat Masala-1/2 tsp
Salt-as needed
Lemon juice-1 tbsp
Butter-4 tbsp
Coriander leaves- to garnish & serve
For Pav:
Pav Buns-6
Butter-2 tbsp or more
Onion-1/4 cup, finely chopped
Coriander leaves-2 tbsp, finely chopped
Pav Bhaji Masala-1 tsp
Salt-as needed
How It Happened:

Making of Bhaji:
1. Wash and peel the potato skin. Cut them into halves and pressure cook them along with peas and cauliflower for 3 whistles or until they are soft.
2. In a wide pan, add a tbsp of butter, add the chopped capsicum and cook for a minute.

3. Add ¼ cup of water to the pan and let it cook for a minute. Then using a masher mash them well.
4. Add in the pressure cooked potatoes, cauliflower and peas and using the masher mash them well.
5. Throw in chopped tomatoes and cook in medium flame for 3 minutes then mash them completely. Add 1 tbsp of butter and stir in.
6. Add ginger garlic paste, mix once and add 2 cups of water reduce the flame to simmer and let it boil. Keep stirring now and then to avoid burning.
7. In another pan, heat 2 tbsp of butter and add chopped onions and fry until they turn slightly golden.
8. Add in turmeric powder, red chili powder, pav bhaji masala, kasuri methi and salt. Sauté in well and cook for a minute until the raw smell goes off.

9. Transfer this onion fry to the simmering Bhaji. Stir in and add black salt. When the mixture starts bubbling, switch off the flame and let it rest.
10. After 5 minutes, add lemon juice & chat masala and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Preparing the Pav:
1. Cut the pavs horizontally and set aside.
2. Heat a skillet, add 1 tbsp of butter, onions and coriander leaves and fry until they get well roasted/browned.

3. Add pav bhaji masala and salt if needed and mix well.
4. Now place in the sliced pav on the spiced butter and roast them until slightly crisp and browned.
5. Gently wipe in the entire skillet with the bun so as to absorb all the flavors.
1. Serve hot roasted pav with Bhaji along with sliced onions, chopped coriander leaves and wedges of lemon.
2. Top the Bhaji with a blob of butter and serve hot.

* You can also use dried peas. Soak them overnight then pressure cook them.
* Veggies should be cooked well so that they can be mashed easily.
* Add butter at intervals. Do not reduce the butter as it greatly compromises the taste and flavor.
* Use fresh ginger garlic paste for best results.
* Though tomatoes have tanginess, lemon juice adds a sharp acidity which adds another dimension.
* You can add food color for added color or use kashmiri chili powder. I used regular tikha lal which worked fine for me.
* I used salted butter so I didn’t add any salt while roasting the buns.
* I used my new iron skillet for roasting the buns which was perfect as they gave a nice smoky touch to the buns.
* If you have prepared Bhaji earlier, then while serving heat the Bhaji with a little water in the skillet. This way the Bhaji can also be heated and also the bread will also have more flavors.

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