Mumbai is famous for its street food; Vada Pav, Bhel, Pani Puri, Sev Puri, Ragda Pattice, Dabeli… The list is endless. My absolute favourite is Pav Bhaji. Nothing can beat a well-made, spicy, buttery Pav Bhaji is satiating those hunger pangs or cravings for junk food.
Amma used to make a good Pav Bhaji. How this was elevated to a great Pav Bhaji is an amusing anecdote. The apartment complex in which we live has shops on the ground floor. Some years ago, one of the shops that is right below one of our bedrooms was converted to a small fast food joint. We could smell all kinds of goodies being made but the one that pre-dominated was the yummy aroma of Pav Bhaji sizzling on the large pan. (As most Mumbaikars knows, restaurants make Pav Bhaji on a large iron pan in an open space.). And this place used to make an awesome Pav Bhaji.
So, one day, Amma walked down and spoke to the cook about what he does different from her. And he willingly gave her tips on how to make her Pav Bhaji better. The trick lies in seasoning the pan or kadai in which the bhaji will be made by frying some crushed garlic in it!:-)
Mumbai has many a variety of Pav Bhaji; the regular, the extra butter, extra teekha, khada (where the vegetables are not mashed), Jain (no ginger, garlic, onion, or potato), and and and…
The best places to have Pav Bhaji in Mumbai include Canon at VT, the seaside stalls on Juhu Beach, Sardar Pav Bhai at Tardeo, Sukh Sagar at Chowpatty, or the many Khau Gallis (literally meaning food street) that dot the city…. 🙂
- Potatoes – 3 Large
- Onions – 2 Medium
- Tomatoes – 2 Medium
- Peas – 1/2 Cup
- Cauliflower Florets – 1/2 Cup
- Carrots – 1 Small
- Green Capsicum – 1 Small
- Pav Bhaji Masala – 2 tsp
- Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Garlic Cloves – 3 or 4
- Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
- Butter – 2 tbsp
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Pav – 8
- Salt to Taste
- Lemon Wedges – 4
- Fresh Coriander Leaves – 3 tbsp
- 1 Finely Chopped Onion
- Butter – 1 tsp
To Prepare the Vegetables:
- Finely chop onions and set aside.
- Finely chop the tomatoes and set aside.
- Peel and chop the potatoes into chunks.
- Chop and deseed the capsicum.
- Peel and chop the carrot.
- In a large vessel, pressure cook potatoes, peas, cauliflower, capsicum, and carrot with some water till they are of mashable consistency.
- Once cooked, drain excess water and with a heavy ladle mash the vegetables.
To Make the Bhaji:
- Peel and crush the garlic cloves to a fine paste.
- In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat the oil.
- Add the crushed garlic and fry for a minute.
- Add the chopped onions and ginger-garlic paste.
- Over medium heat, fry till the onion till it turns transparent.
- Add the finely chopped tomatoes and fry till the tomatoes becomes mashable.
- Add the Pav Bhaji Masala and Red Chilli Powder.
- Mix well and fry for about 2 minutes.
- Add the boiled and mashed vegetables.
- Add a little water, if required, and mix well.
- Add about 1 tbsp butter and mix well.
- Over low flame, keep simmering.
To Prepare the Pav:
- Slice each pav along the middle.
- On a hot, flat tava/gridle, melt some butter.
- Place the slice pav face down and cook for a minute.
- After a couple of minutes, turn over and cook for 1 minute.
- Prepare all pavs.
To Serve Pav Bhaji:
- Garnish a bowl of hot bhaji with a pat of butter and chopped fresh coriander.
- Serve a bowl of Bhaji with 2 warm Pav, some diced onions, and lemon wedges.
To eat the Pav Bhaji:
- Sprinkle some onion and squeeze a lemon wedge onto the bhaji.
- Mix well.
- Break off a piece of pav, scoop some bhaji onto it and eat.
- Enjoy! 😀