Street food culture is a prominent & delightful feature observed in India. I have grown up savoring plates of various chaats in the form of street food and have a very fond memory. Not only is the food usually hygienic and freshly prepared, the yummy offerings are hugely popular, very affordable and wonderfully delicious.
India – a country of vast diversity, each region has their own interpretation of street food and that brings a lot of variety and a huge palate to cater to everyone’s desires. For a tourist, probably eating street food would be the best way to get familiar with the food palate of India.
Pav Bhaji is a popular Maharashtrian dish. It is spicy, tangy and absolutely delicious mixture of various vegetables & curries. Originated in Mumbai, it is now widely spread across north and western regions of India and is a popular menu item amongst Indians.
Mumbai Pav Bhaji
Mumbai Pav bhaji
For the Bhaji
- 2 medium sized Potatoes – Boiled and mashed
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/2 cup carrots
- 1/2 cup cauliflower- grated
- 1/4 cup beans- finely chopped
- 1/4 cup corn kernels (optional)
- 1 capsicum – finely chopped
- 1 large onion – finely chopped
- 1 spring onion – finely chopped (optional)
- 2 large tomatoes – grated
- 1 inch ginger – finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic – minced/ finely chopped
- 2 green chilli – finely chopped
- 3 tsp oil / butter
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of Asafoetida
- Red chilli powder – as per taste (use Kashmiri red chili for extra red color)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder – or as per taste
- 1 tsp raw mango powder. You can replace this with tamarind chutney/ tamarind paste. Find the recipe for Tamarind chutney here.)
- 1.5 tsp Pav Bhaji masala (or make your own. Ingredients listed below)
- 2 tsp lemon juice – freshly squeezed
- 2 drops red food color (optional for an intense reddish colored bhaji )
Spices for Pav Bhaji Masala
Roast all the dry whole ingredients (except dry mango powder) till nice aroma is released, cool down completely and grind into a dry powder. Will yield about 5-6 tsp Pab bhaji Masala.
- 4 whole red chillies
- 3 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp black pepper corns
- 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 2 black cardamom
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp raw mango powder (amchur)
For the Pav*
*For the pav dough, follow the same recipe as that used to make Bread. You can find the recipe for making the bread on my blog here.
For the Pav
- After the dough has risen once, punch to remove excess air and divide into 6 equal balls and bake at 375 F for about 20 minutes. You can sprinkle sesame seeds on the bun before baking.
- Once the buns are baked, let it cool down completely.
- Slit each bun vertically and roast on the griddle/tava with butter till crisp. Serve hot. As an interesting twist, you can also convert your pav buns into garlic bread and serve with Bhaji.
- In a pan, add the butter and let it melt. To this, add the asafoetida. Now add the onions and fry till transparent.
- Now add in the spring onions & capsicum and saute on high flame for 2 minutes.
- Now add the ginger, garlic, green chillies and grated tomato paste. Add in the salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Cover with lid and keep in simmer for 5 minutes. You can also add the red food color here if desired.
- Take the peas, carrot, cauliflower, beans and corn in a bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. Alternately, you can also steam these vegetables or pressure cook till 1 whistle.
- Now add these steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes in the tomato curry pan and add 1/2 cup of water. Add salt, pav bhaji masala and keep on high flame till the bhaji comes to a boil. Cover with lid and keep on simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the amchur or tamarind chutney (see the recipe here) and lemon juice.
- Garnish the bhaji with finely chopped coriander, capsicum and onion and add a dollop of butter for luster and extra flavor.
This Bhaji is a versatile vegetable dish which can be eaten with various breads. I have served this with Garlic naans/ bread and even as a side dish with upma and it blends in perfectly with each. Usually this will yield a good amount of bhaji and can be kept in the fridge for over 2 days. In fact, i have observed that the bhaji tastes better after a few hours as the masalas blend in well and make the bhaji taste even better. I would recommend making this bhaji about 5-6 hours before serving.
Keep reading DSB’s post as the next recipe is an exciting take on using the left over Bhaji in form of Bhaji Rava Pancake