My theme for this week’s blogging marathon is ‘Weekend Special Dishes‘. My husband travels quite a bit during the weekdays and he tries to be home during the weekends. So I try and make sure to cook something special for all of us.
Pav Bhaji was one such special dish that I made for our weekend dinner. To be honest, I probably ate a proper pav bhaji only once or twice in my life that too years ago. I still remember going to a tiny restaurant in India some 20 years ago and tasting my very first pav bhaji. It was quite spicy, but the soft pav and the butter made me fall in love with it. Growing up, we were not allowed to eat outside that much, so I never got a chance to eat it again.
After moving to the states, I tasted and made pav bhaji myself quite a few times, but nothing really came close to the one (I believe I still remember) I tasted years ago. So I googled for Mumbai style Pav bhaji and found this youtube video of the making of Pav Bhaji. I think that video changed my life (not really — but you know what I mean).
I made Pav bhaji using the recipe from the video a few times and it always turns out yummy. There are tons of recipes that use all kinds of different vegetables but I think using too many veggies changes the flavor of the bhaji. This is a minimalist recipe with just potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and green peas. Spices are used liberally and Pav bhaji masala is an essential spice powder here. I’ve never made it home, I always buy either Badshah or Everest brand masala.
Even the pavs are roasted in a spicy butter mixture giving them a nice flavor. Make your own pav buns, if you so feel like it or if you are lazy like me — use good quality store bought ones — no one will complain when they taste it with this bhaji 🙂
1tspChili powderRed , divided use (adjust as per taste)
1½tspsGinger+garlicpaste, divided use
1Onion- small, finely chopped
1tbspPav MasalaBhaji , divided use
½cupCilantro, finely chopped
Pav Buns- as needed
Onion- finely chopped
Cilantro- finely chopped
wedgesLemon- as needed
Butter- as needed
Prepare Bhaji: Heat 1tsp oil and 2tsp butter in a pan, add capsicum and cook till tender -- add some water to help in cooking.
Next add mashed potatoes, tomatoes, green peas, ½tsp red chili powder, 1tsp ginger+garlic paste, turmeric and add some more water to cook the veggies.
Mash the veggies with a potato masher until very smooth. If the mixture looks too thick, then add some water to thin it out. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Add 1tsp pav bhaji masala, salt and chopped cilantro. Keep mashing and cooking till the mixture thickens.
In a small pan, melt 2tsp butter, add onions and remaining ½tsp of ginger+garlic paste, ½tsp red chili powder, 1tsp pav bhaji masala and lemon juice. Cook till the onions turn translucent.
Add the onion mixture to the veggie mixture and mix well. Cook for 4~5 minutes, mashing the curry to get a very smooth mixture. Now the Bhaji is ready to serve.
Prepare Pavs: Melt some butter on a tawa/ griddle along with some chopped cilantro, pinch of pav bhaji masala and pinch of red chili powder. Roast the split pav buns in the butter until lightly toasted.
Serve immediately with the bhaji along with finely chopped onions, cilantro, lemon wedges and a generous blob of butter.