This is considered a fast food dish and is a popular street food in most metropolitan areas in India, in particular in Mumbai. It's generally prepared in a huge flat pan and served with bread or a bun (the pav).
When Bharti's store was still open in downtown Kitchener, she had a freezer full of her dishes prepared ahead, including pav bhaji. The first time I tried this tasty stuff, I was instantly hooked! I loved the flavour balance, and being a spicy food lover, I was all about the chilis as well. I probably went back to the store 8-10+ times after that to buy more, at which point I thought hey, I should try to make this myself! There are of course many pav bhaji recipes online, but I wanted the Real Deal, so I asked the manager at the store if Bharti would be willing to part with the secret to its g00dness. The answer was a conditional yes - I buy her Spice of India book (which strangely enough doesn't include this dish) and she'd throw in her (hand-written) PB recipe as a bonus. DEAL!
I usually go against the tradition of the dish and serve it with basmati rice, but since the first two recipes I made this week incorporated rice, I served it on whole wheat buns instead!
The recipe below is very similar to Bharti's but with a few adjustments/clarifications. It serves about 4 people.
- 5 medium potatos
- 5 medium, ripe tomatoes
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 300 grams of frozen peas
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 green chilis, finely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp pav bhaji masala or garam masala
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp salt (to taste)
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 tbsp butter
1) Peel potatoes and boil until soft
2) Cut cauliflower into pieces and boil until soft (in a separate pot)
3) Heat oil on medium-high. Add onions and cook for about 2 minutes.
4) Add potatos and fry for 5 minutes, stirring regularly and breaking up the pieces
5) Add all spices, cauliflower and tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add a little water if the mixture is really dry/thick.
6) Add peas and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
7) Add cilantro, green chilis and butter.
8) Mix and serve with your choice of bun, toasted bread or basmati rice.
I hope you enjoyed these recipes! I plan to post more moving forward when the "inspiration" strikes! :)