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Pav bhaji

Pav Bhaji is a Mumbai street-food specialty consisting of mashed vegetable curry (the bhaji) with a ghee-toasted soft bun, and the pav (usually a white bun, but you can serve it with whole wheat). 

YIELDS
4

Ingredients

Bhaji

  • 4 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 small cauliflower, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh green beans
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water, plus extra if necessary
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided, plus extra to taste
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon Warming Garam Masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon Indian chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste

Pavs

  • 8 white dinner rolls or soft buns
  • 1/4 cup salted butter

Serve

  • Salted butter
  • Red onion, finely chopped, for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro, finely chopped, for garnish
  • 4 lemon wedges, for garnish

Directions

Bhaji 

  1. In a large pot, combine the potatoes, cauliflower, beans, red peppers, water, and one teaspoon of salt. Be sure there is enough water to cover the vegetables, adding more if necessary. Cook on medium-high heat for 25 minutes or until very soft. Drain any excess water.
  2. In a medium Tawa, wok, or non-stick pan on medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and fry until softened and light golden brown, five to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the fresh tomatoes and crushed tomatoes and stir.
  3. Sprinkle in the coriander, cumin, garam masala, remaining one teaspoon salt, chilli powder, and turmeric. Stir to combine, then add the garlic and ginger paste. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the cooked vegetables and, using a potato masher or flat utensil, mash the vegetables until smooth. Cook for 10 minutes, until all the ingredients are combined. Add a little water if necessary to make a soft vegetable curry (bhaji). The bhaji shouldn’t be too watery or runny, but neither should it be overly thick and dry. Add salt to taste.

Pavs 

  1. Slice the buns (pavs) in half, leaving one edge attached. 
  2. Apply a generous amount of butter on each and toast in a frying pan until they are crisp and golden brown. 
  3. Set aside for serving. 

Serve 

  1. Spoon hot bhaji into individual bowls. Serve with a toasted pav on the side.
  2. Add a pat of butter as a garnish on top, red onions and cilantro to taste, and a lemon wedge on the side. Add a squeeze of lemon to every bite. Enjoy! 

TIP: Pav bhaji is meant to be eaten with your hands! Break off a piece of the pav and dip it into the bhaji and pop it into your mouth! Choose a pillowy, soft bun or dinner roll to serve with this delicious curry. I like whole wheat, but in Mumbai, the bun of choice is white (made from all-purpose flour, known as maida).

 

Excerpted from New Indian Basics: 100 Traditional and Modern Recipes from Arvinda’s Family Kitchen by Preena Chauhan and Arvinda Chauhan. Copyright © 2022Preena Chauhan. Cover and book design by Andrew Roberts. Photography by Reena Newman, with photos on pages iii, 10, 18, 28, 129, 209, 255, 272by Sandy Nicholson. Published in Canada by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.


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