Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pav Bhaji

Last week my wife wanted to have a snack which had too many preconditions - not too oily, not too sweet, not too spicy, not too heavy, not too filling, not too far from home and something different than usual egg puffs, fruit bowls, idlis & dosas, pizzas or burgers.  After much pondering over what else was left I took her to Shanti Sagar in Vijayanagar and told the cashier "vond pav bhaji kodi, haage vond extra pav" (an order of pav bhaji with extra pav) and coughed up 50 bucks for the most insipid pav bhaji I had ever eaten.  I promised my wife I'll make pav bhaji atleast ten folds better than what she just ate and I lived up that promise over the weekend and here is how I did...

Ingredients:
  • pav bhaji masala (any brand is fine, I did with MTR)
  • pav (ask for pav bhaji bread in supermarket, but can make do with Iyenger bakery ones too)
  • 5 onions (3 for cooking, 2 for garnishing)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 capsicums
  • 3 potatoes
  • mixed frozen vegetables (carrot + beans + peas combo works well)
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • lemon sized ginger
  • 3-5 green chilies
  • coriander leaves
  • butter (loads of it, some for cooking & some for roasting pav)
  • lemon
Method:
  • Over cook the potato so that it's really soft, peel and mash it well
  • Make paste out of chillies, garlic and ginger
  • In a wide shallow vessel drop a big lump of butter and wait for it to heat
  • Add the aforementioned ginger-garlic-chili paste and roast till the raw smell is gone
  • Add chopped onions and roast it till it turns golden brown (adding a pinch of salt speeds up)
  • Add chopped capsicums and roast it for a while
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric powder and pav bhaji masala; mix and roast the mixture for a while
  • Add mashed potatoes and assorted vegetables; add water, mix well, cover and allow the mixture to get cooked
  • Keep mashing the the entire mixture using a masher every now and then, so that the texture of the gravy becomes uniform more or less
  • Don't forget to add salt wherever/whenever you feel is apt
  • Add finely chopped coriander in the end
  • Drop another big lump of butter once the baji is cooked
  • Baji is ready now
  • Roast the pav with butter 
  • Serve it with chopped onions and lemon

Eaters, dunk your pav in baji, sprinkle chopped onion on top and squeeze few drops of lemon and relish the dish.  This one's particularly famous in the state of Maharashtra, I've never been there and eaten the authentic pav baji, but whatever I had prepared gave me lotsa pats on the back.
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