Pav Bhaji - a fast food that goes equally well as a lunch or dinner item. Isn't that a live-saver! :)How many times it has come to my rescue when I felt too lazy to cook!
I loved the analogy in Wikipedia entry for Pav Bhaji what states that "The connection of pav bhaji is to western India is similar to what pizza is to Italy or the hot-dog is to America. ". And whoever thought of calling these "Indian Sloppy Joes"..ha ha. Well, they are right in a way! An interesting article that chronicles the history of Pav Bhaji is here.
Well, I should mention that even though I had been making Pav Bhaji before, my dear friend Meenal's tips have definitely taken it to a completely different level. Thanks, Meenal! I can never forget how we gobbled the Pav Bhaji prepared by her on our Wintergreen Resorts (Virginia, US) trip. This is a mountain resort and we did a lot of walking around in the morning. So you can guess how hungry we were and to add on, hot yummy Pav Bhaji for lunch -- it just doubled our appetite and we just gobbled and gobbled :) (Gobble, gobble, gobble - Remember "Everybody Loves Raymond" episode where the twins are teasing their sister). Coming back to the topic, here is my version of Pav Bhaji recipe.
Ingredients (makes 6 servings)
Potatoes - 4, boiled and mashed
Onion - 2 large, chopped
Ginger - 2 tbsp, grated
Tomato - 1 large, chopped
Tomato Paste - 1/2 can of 6 oz. can
Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Jalapeno/Peppers - as per taste (optional)
Cauliflower florets - 1/2 cup boiled (optional)
Pav Bhaji Masala - 3 tbsp (I use MDH brand, thanks to my friend Meenal!)
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tbsp or as per taste
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Dry Bay leaves - 2
Sugar - 1/8 tsp
Canola oil - 1 tbsp
Chopped Coriander Leaves - few sprigs
Onion - 1 large, chopped
Masala Pav Ingredients
Pav or Bun
Pav Bhaji Masala
Boil the potatoes and cauliflower and mash it.
Heat oil. Temper with sugar, cumin seeds and dry bay leaves. Add chopped onion and let it cook till it is transparent but not brown. Add grated ginger paste and let it cook. Once the ginger is cooked, add the chopped tomato. Once it is slightly cooked, add the tomato paste, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, salt and the Pav Bhaji Masala. This provides the orange enchanting color to the bhaji. Add mashed potatoes and cauliflower and mix well. Add the green peas and chopped jalapenos to the mixture. Add 1/2 cup water at a time to get the desired consistency. We prefer it a little bit runny, not exactly dry. Garnish with chopped Coriander Leaves, chopped onion and a lemon wedge. A dash of butter also as garnish enhances the taste.
Melt some butter. Sprinkle Pav Bhaji Masala and mix. Toast the bread in this butter.
For a different take on Pav Bhaji, check Nupur of One Hot Stove's version. Link here.