Pin It Now! As a sandwich is to the Americans so is the pav-bhaji to us desis (as we are called here in US Of USA). There are endless versions of this classic dish. Every household,every hotel in India has their own recipe.And almost all of them are equally delicious. Over the years I have experimented over the ingredients, perfect procedure, and the right combination of spices to finally arrive at this version of pav-bhaji.
I like my food to look good I mean it should be a feast for the eyes too.:) So I like to have my pav-bhaji in slightly reddish orange color. A touch of paprika comes in handy here. Also I omit the cauliflower in the list of veggies since it makes the bhaji slightly bitter. I use less potato to reduce the carbs and increase the quantity of peas,carrots,string beans.
Here is my version of it :-
1 boiled potato grated
1 cup mixed veggies ( I use mixed veggie bag from the grocery store here)
1 medium onion finely chopped
2-3 tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 green pepper finely chopped
( I use twice the onion+green pepper and tomato in 1:2 combination. Tomatoes should be twice that of onions and green pepper together.)
1 heaped tbsp ginger-garlic paste (amount of ginger > garlic )
salt to taste
1 heaped tbsp pav-bhaji masala ( I use Everest brand )
1 tsp chilli powder
pinch of sugar
cilantro and chopped onion for garnish
3-4 tbsp oil and butter for garnish
1. Heat some oil in a kadai and when its a level less than smoky add the ginger-garlic paste. Add the onion,chopped green pepper and fry till the raw smell of onion and ginger-garlic paste reduces. Cover and cook for 3-4 min. The onions should be soft.
2. Add the tomatoes and spices(chilli powder,pav-bhaji masala and paprika).Mix and cover and cook for 3-4mins.
3. Pressure cook the mixed veggies and mash to a paste.
4. Add this mixture to the pan and saute. Mash again if not completely mixed.Add the grated potato.
5. Add water to get required consistency. The mixture tends to splatter so be careful out there.
6. Cover and cook for 4-5 mins taking care that mixture doesnt dry up.
7. Add salt,lemon juice,sugar and taste. Adjust the spices to desired level.
8. Server with cilantro,dollop of butter and onion.
I think the key to making the perfect bhaji is that the spices should be given the time to mingle and release their flavor.So the cooking time at every stage is really important. Feel free to add cauliflower if you wish.
I also had plans to make laadi pav but its not materialized till now.
We enjoyed it with a nice crusty bread and papads for a weeknight dinner.