We know it’s just Tuesday (and Wednesday in some parts of the world) and everyone is already waiting for Friday! Since we can’t make Friday come any sooner why not think about what you could make for Sunday brunch? Or maybe Saturday brunch too but somehow brunch on a Sunday makes Sunday a Sunday! Anyhow, so we made Pav Bhaaji last Sunday for brunch- yes we are always two days behind in posting our recipes but then we knew you would be too busy on a weekday to make this. No, I’m kidding. Since we are new to blogging, it takes us a wee bit longer to get everything in place and post. I am sure you’ll understand. So jokes apart, Pav Bhaaji is ultimate comfort food for us and takes us both back to our days as kids at our respective homes. Obviously ours is not even close to what our mum’s make but Nikhil’s dedication and effort to get it right has sort of come close to it. I am quite clear on this one- I don’t even try to make it.
Almost every home in India probably has their version of Pav Bhaaji. There is an “authentic” Bombay pav bhaaji, we Punjabi’s have our own Punjabi version of it and I’m sure others do too. Whichever way you make this- you can’t really go wrong. It just has to be awesome. Our version is based on what we remember having as kids and so here is how Nikhil made it-
For the Pav Bhaaji Masala*
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
3-4 dried red chillies
cardamom seeds from 1 pod
1 small cinnamon stick
2-3 star anise
1 teaspoon whole black pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon asafetida (hing)
1 tablespoon garam masala powder
*(Pav Bhaaji Masala is a blend of Indian spices specifically prepared & used for this dish. It is also available ready made as one spice in Indian stores. If you are using store bought Pav Bhaaji Masala you should use approx. 1 1/2- 2 tablespoons)
For the Bhaaji
2 tablespoons oil
1 small dried bay leaf
½ teaspoon ginger paste or finely chopped ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 onion, puréed or finely chopped
3 tomatoes, puréed or finely chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 cups of chopped vegetables of your choice (we used our usual suspects- corn, zucchini, beans, spring onions, carrots, cabbage etc.)
2 medium potatoes, boiled & roughly mashed
Salt to taste (start with about a teaspoon)
1 tablespoon butter (optional if you are health conscious )
2-3 tablespoons coriander, chopped
Juice from 1 lime
1 ½ – 2 cups water
2 lime wedges for garnish
1/4 onion, finely chopped
½ tablespoon butter
For the Pav Bhaaji masala
In a pan, dry roast the coriander, cumin, dried red chilli, cardamom seeds, cloves, cinnamon, star anise & black pepper for about 3-4 minutes to get more flavor (this is usually because the oils in the spices heat up). Allow this to cool. Then put these in a spice grinder together with the fennel seeds, asafoetida & garam masala powder and coarsely grind. The pav bhaaji masala is ready. You may choose to double or triple the recipe and keep some for another time.
For the Bhaaji
- In a pan with the oil on medium heat, add ginger, garlic & green chillies. Sauté for about a minute and add in the puréed onions. Roast for about 2 minutes.
- Next add the puréed tomatoes, a pinch of salt and roast for about 4-5 minutes until it starts to dry a bit.
- Add in the Pav Bhaaji masala & turmeric, mix well and roast for about a minute.
- Add in the chopped vegetables and mix well. Sauté for about 3-4 minutes until the vegetables look a bit roasted. Add about ¼ cup water & mix.
- Then add the mashed potatoes and mix well. Roast this for about a minute or so.
- Then add about ¾- 1 cup of water depending on how dry the mix already is. Add in salt to taste. Then, allow it to simmer on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. Add in the butter & lime juice.
- Your spicy Pav Bhaaji is ready!
Garnish & Serve
- Garnish with fresh chopped coriander, onions, lime wedges and another small dollop of butter.
- Serve with slightly toasted (sweet-ish) bread. Typically these are served with Pav (buns) which have a hint of sweetness but we had a really nice loaf of sweet Italian bread which we toasted on the pan with some butter!
You may of course chose to adjust the amount of green chillies/ dried red chillies you add depending on how spicy you like your food- we like it extra hot.