Pav Bhaji

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I adore Indian food, which is probably a good thing since we have it just about every night! But in particular I love Indian street food, or chaat as it is known in India. Unfortunately I don't get this as often, and in any case, it can never taste as good as it does on the side of the road in India, made by a guy with dirty hands and non purified tamarind water! Nevertheless, I never cease to try and replicate that taste sensation at home. While it's never the same, this pav bhaji recipe comes close...

Pav bhaji is basically a curried vegetable roll. The filling, or bhaji, is made fom all sorts of vegetables and flavoured with beautiful, pungent spices that absorb into the mixture. The pav, or Indian equivalent of a bread roll, is a small white bread roll, but usually quite sweet, similar in taste to a Maccas burger bun, which is coated in butter or ghee and lightly toasted. Combined, the two make a party in your mouth happen...

Ingredients (makes about 16 small rolls):

3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into a simialr size to the potato

1 tbs oil

1/2 cup capsicum, finely chopped

Finely chopped chilli (optional, if you like it hot)

1/2 cup peas

1/2 cup corn kernels

1 tsp minced ginger

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 heaped tbs pav bhaji masala (this can be bought at any Indian grocery store)

1 tsp butter

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp chilli powder

Salt to taste

Lemon juice and finely sliced onions to serve

1. Boil the potatoes and carrots, and then mash them.

2. Heat the oil in a kadai. Once it is hot, add the capsicum and chilli and saute. After a minute, add the ginger and continue sauteing.

3. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Allow to cook until the tomatoes have become soft.

4. Add the chilli powder, turmeric and pav bhaji masala and mix well.

5. Add the peas and corn to this mixture.

6. Lastly, add the mashed vegetables, butter and salt. All the mixture to cook well, so the flavours can combine properly together. The mixture should be a thick, paste like consistency. If it is too dry, add some water; if it is too runny, allow it to cook on a high heat so that it dries off. Keep tasting the mixture to make sure it is the right balance of tangy (tomatoes) and spicy (pav bhaji masala). Once done, remove from the heat.

7. Take the bread rolls, cut them in half and smear the inside and outside with butter or margaring and put them in an oven to toast lightly. This can also be done on a non stick frying pan or tawa on the stove.

8. Once the bread is done, fill it with the pav bhaji mix and a squeeze of lemon juice. If you like, raw onions can also be added.

Note: I didn't have the correct bread rolls, so I just used wholemeal rolls we had in the fridge. Works just as well!


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