An attempt to bring the magical smell and taste of Pav Bhaji and the streets of Bombay to Tempe
Who hasn’t had eaten street food and wondered why it tastes “oh so good”. Somehow it never is the same when cooked at home. I have always wanted to make pav bhaji at home that tastes like the pav bhaji you get at restaurants and street side stalls. In this never-ending quest of mine, I have made pav bhaji a zillion times but never managed to make something close enough to the pav bhaji you get in Bombay. That is till I saw the video of the pav bhaji being made at a stall at Juhu beach. I have seen them make it so many times but you don’t exactly pay attention to the exact process and ingredients. I have posted the video at the end of this post for anyone interested in watching the exact process. I have tried making this recipe a few times now and it has been a hit each time I have followed the steps as per the video. In the video they do not give exact measurements, but after having made this half a dozen times now, I have managed to decide on the exact amounts for all the ingredients.
The recipe from start to finish takes about an hour if you have to start with boiling the vegetables etc. If you do have all the chopped and cooked vegetables at hand, then it should take you about half hour to prepare. This recipe yields pav bhaji for 2-3 persons.
For the Bhaji
- 2/3 cup chopped green pepper (Capsicum)
- 2 1/2 medium-sized boiled potatoes
- 2 tomatoes
- 2/3 cup cooked green peas
- 1 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
- 2 + 1 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1.5 + 1 teaspoon pav bhaji masala
- 2 + 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 2/3 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
- 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
- salt to taste
For the Masala Pav
- 6 dinner rolls / pav
- butter (to spread on the bread)
- 1 teaspoon pav bhaji masala
- 1 tablespoon coriander leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
- Heat some oil in a flat pan. Add the green pepper / capsicum. Add water to soften it. Keep adding enough water to cook the green pepper without burning it.
- Once the green pepper has softened and cooked, add the chopped tomatoes, boiled potatoes, cooked green peas, 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, 2 tablespoons ginger – garlic paste & 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder.
- Add enough water (about 1/2 cup) and allow the vegetables to cook and prevent it from sticking to pan. Keep adding enough water to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add 1 teaspoon butter and stir till the butter has melted.
- Mash all the vegetables till it’s a soft paste.
- Add 1.5 teaspoons pav bhaji masala, salt and 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves to this and let it simmer for a few minutes.
- While the vegetables are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a separate pan. Add the chopped onions, 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste, 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon pav bhaji masala, dried fenugreek leaves, hing (asafoetida), 2 tablespoons coriander leaves and lime juice.
- Fry this mixture for a couple of minutes.
- Now add this onion mixture to the vegetable mixture.Continue mashing the vegetables together till all the vegetables form a smooth paste.
- The Bhaji is now ready to be served.
For the Masala Pav
- Pre heat the oven at the broiler setting.
- Slice the bread / dinner rolls / pav into two halves. Spread butter on each side.
- Meanwhile heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan (you can use the same pan you used to fry the onions). Add the pav bhaji masala, red chilli powder and coriander leaves to this and fry it for a couple of minutes.
- Now spread this on the bread / pav / dinner rolls.
- Place the bread in the oven on the top rack of the oven. The bread is ready in a couple of minutes or less, therefore so keep a very close eye on the bread.
- Once the bread is ready, serve the Pav Bhaji with some onions, lime wedges and some coriander leaves as garnish.
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I loved making it. I think it came very close to the food I have eaten in Bombay. I quote Amit here, he called it “awesome and brilliant”. This is a spicy pav bhaji recipe. Just spicy enough to make you want to drink something cold along with the pav bhaji.
Oh and here’s the You Tube video. Watch this video if you want to see how exactly pav bhaji is made at the street side stalls.