Pav Bhaji: A Roasted Buns and Mince Veggies Maharashtrian Delicacy
Pav Bhaji is traditionally a Maharashtrian dish where pav refers to buns (we'll get to more of that soon), and the bhaji is really fried mince veggies. Even though this dish took off from Maharashtra, it has become hugely popular everywhere else. While it is one of the must-have street foods, owing to it's wholesomeness and nutritional value, it is also enormously popular in restaurants. Okay, the pavs - the pavs you'll find in most stores in India and the ones used for pav bhaji are actually a little different from the regular buns elsewhere. They are quite soft, and hence go really well with the bhaji. Also, there aren't any sesame seeds on them either. However, this dish goes quite well with any kind of bun or with bread as well.
I have boiled the veggies beforehand as it's easy to mash them this way, and thus being tender-ised, it's quick to cook as well. The pav bhaji masala is doubtlessly the key ingredient here (along with the butter), containing the tangy amchur powder (dry mango powder) which flavors up the bhaji accordingly. The butter adds a great richness to the bhaji. Pavs are generally, and traditionally roasted lightly in butter which again gives a fantastic richness to the bread.
So, here's the recipe to this must-have dish.
- 4 pairs pav (bread buns)
- 200 gms potatoes
- 150 gms each of cabbage and green peas
- 100 gms each of cauliflower and capsicum
- 50 gms each of french beans and carrots
- 3 medium size onions
- 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- 2 tbsp pav bhaji masala
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves (chopped)
- 4 green chillies (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Salt (according to taste)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 5 tbsp oil
- 1 lemon
- 3 tomatoes
1. Cut all the vegetables (except the green peas, of course), into small pieces. TThen boil them (including the peas) in little water and salt in a pressure cooker for 3 minutes after the pressure comes. Let it cool, then mash them with a masher.
2. Cut the onions and tomatoes finely. Keep a third of these aside for the salad, the rest we'll use for the bhaji or mince veggies.
3. Cut the lemon into 4 pieces.
Instructions for cooking
1. Heat oil in a pan and on a slow to medium flame, put in the cumin seeds, and when they splutter, add onions. Stir fry till they change the color. Add ginger-garlic paste to it and stir fry.
.2 Add tomatoes and green chillies to it and stir fry till they're cooked.
3. Add 2 tbsp of water, then add turmeric, chilli and pav bhaji masala powder to it. Fry for a minute, then add salt and sugar to it.
4. Now, add, the mashed veggies to it, and stir fry, adding water according to your preference for the texture of the bhaji (preferably, it should be of a thick, pouring consistency). Let it cook for 5 minutes on a medium flame. Switch off the flame. Your bhaji (or mince veggies) is ready.
5. Now that that's done, we're gonna prepare our pavs (or buns) . Cut the pav along it's mid section leaving a fourth of it intact and joined.
6. Heat a little butter on the pan and open the pav (make sure not to split them up), and dab it onto the butter on both sides till they are a little roasted, Do this for all the pavs. Your pavs are thus done.
7. For serving, take a pair or pavs (or however many you like), and the veggies or bhaji in a bowl. Then, add a little butter on to your bhaji and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with onions, tomatoes (which we had set aside during the Preparation earlier) and lemon.
8/. Your yummy Pav Bhaji is ready.
Here's a lovely variation for this dish. In Step 3 of the Instructions above, when we add the turmeric, chilli and pav bhaji masala powder, add 1/4 tsp of Kashmiri chilli powder to it and then, follow the rest of the recipe. This adds a reddish color and a wonderful flavor to the dish (check out the image for it below).
Isn't this such a fantastic dish, and how popular has it become. I had it as a kid in Mumbai and then practically everywhere else, and now I cook this myself. It really is enjoyable cooking this as the aromatic sensations are to die for, and the finished dish is just everything I hope for. I totally recommend you to cook this yourself. It really isn't all that challenging really, once you get around to it.
So, try this out and you'll love it, and enjoy.