Monday, December 14, 2009

Pav bhaji (Indian Sloppy Joe's)

Pav Bhaji is one of my favorite dishes and my husband loves it as much as I do so it is made often.  It is also quintessential Mumbai street food. Back home there is a restaurant called Swadesh which makes the best Pav Bhaji I have ever eaten. Whether it was a celebration or a casual dinner, the order was always the same. The bhaji was made on a huge pan on the patio and you could smell the vegetables and masalas sauteing in butter as you entered the restaurant. Tangy, spicy, tomatoey bhaji with pav smothered in Amul butter. I have tried to make it as similar to that as possible. This recipe is a bulk portion. I always make it for 3 meals else it doesn't feel like we've had any!


1 cauliflower head
3 large potatoes
1 can (28 oz) tomato sauce
1 green bell pepper
1/2 cup peas
1 large (not huge) onion
3-4 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger minced
3-4 green chilies
3-4 tablespoons oil or butter
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Pinch asafoetida (hing)
1 tablespoon Garam Masala
2 tablespoons Mumbai pav bhaji Masala
2 teaspoons chili powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons dhania - jeera powder (cumin coriander)
1 stick cinnamon
4-5 cloves
Butter for topping and sauteing
Red Onion
Chopped cilantro leaves

Boil the cauliflower and potatoes. If using fresh peas, blanch the peas and set aside. In a large vessel, heat the oil or butter. Add the hing, cumin and mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add the onions, garlic, peppers, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and chilies. When onions are translucent and the peppers are cooked, add the tomatoes and the remaining spices. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the boiled cauliflower and mash. Then add the potato one at a time and mash till all the potatoes are used up. If the bhaji is very thick, add some water to it to make it easy to stir. Add salt and peas, mix well and cook for 10-12 minutes till it starts bubbling. Taste the bhaji for salt, tanginess and spiciness. Add more salt, tomato or masala if needed and cook for a few more minutes.

Split pav (or dinner rolls) into halves and saute in butter. Chop some red onion and cut some lemon wedges. Serve the Pav bhaji piping hot with a pat of butter and chopped cilantro on top, with the pav, onions and lemon on the side.

An interesting variation is cheese pav bhaji. On the bhaji plate a liberal amount of shredded processed cheese is added as a topping.


Priya said...

My all time favourite, looks fantastic.

chakhlere said...

Pav Bhaji is favorite dish of mine too. Yours look very yummy and has come out with nice color.

Malar Gandhi said...

Its so good to discover your blog. You have some unique collection, love it:) Pav bhaji is very tempting.:)

Pavithra said...

Pav Bhaji is really tempting.. where did you get this pav in US?


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