Pav-Bhaji or Bhaji-Pav It’s the same!!

Don’t get confused with the name!!  Because in Gujarat we call it Bhaji-pav and almost rest of the India calls it Pav-Bhaji. But it’s all the same. All that matters is the proper taste!

Bhaji-Pav originated in Maharastra, India. But it is one of the most popular street food all over the country. You can enjoy it as a snack, dinner, lunch etc…Bhaji is a type of curry cooked with lots of spiced vegetables and is served with pan toasted Pav (Bread Buns) and chopped onions…. Especially, on Juhu beach in Bombay (Mumbai). Whenever I used to visit my aunt in Mumbai, Juhu beach was one of my favorite places to visit. I love sea and I also love food, hence, Juhu beach was the best place for me to spend my evenings enjoying Bhaji-pav, chana masala with mangoes, cold drinks and what not. Imagine having awesome food while enjoying the never-ending sea!! Life can not get better than that! Right??

Besides that, one of my Aunt who lives in California makes the best Bhaji-pav in our family. No one can beat her recipe. I remember when she came for my graduation in Idaho she made the curry and brought it for me in one dibba (Lunch-box)! That was one of the best gifts I received for my graduation…totally loved it! So here I am going to share my modified version of her recipe. I still cannot make exactly replicate her recipe but I am close enough!!  :) Here you go!

Pav-Bhaji

Total time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes cubed – 2 medium
  • Cauliflower, roughly chopped – 1 cup
  • Green cabbage chopped – 2 cups
  • Mixed vegetables like Carrots, beans, corn, peas etc… – 1 cup
  • Eggplant diced – 1 cup
  • Green peas frozen – thawed and washed ½ cup
  • 1 big Green Bell pepper (Capsicum) – chopped
  • 1 big Red Onion – chopped about 1 ½ cups
  • Organic Tomato paste – 4 Tbsp
  • Freshly chopped tomatoes – 2 medium
  • Ginger & Garlic paste – 1 Tbsp
  • Garlic chopped – 1 TBsp
  • 8-10 cloves
  • Canola oil – 1 Tbsp
  • Butter – 3 Tbsp plus more for bread
  • ½ tsp Mustard seeds (Optional)
  • Bombay Pav bhaji masala – 2 TBsp (You can find this in Indian Grocery Store)
  • Paprika powder – 2 Tbsp (Optional)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped – 1 cup
  • Lemons, cut into wedges

Method:

Add the potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, and mixed vegetables into a pressure cooker along with 1 cup of water and ½ tsp of salt. Pressure cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes (2 whistles). If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can boil/steam the vegetables for 15-20 minutes or until very tender. Here I just boiled them in a big vessel.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan with butter on medium heat. When the oil gets hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop (it will take about 30 seconds). Now add paprika powder, chopped garlic and ginger-garlic paste and stir-fry for about 45 seconds. Now add one cup of chopped onions and sauté till light brown.

Subsequently, add tomato paste and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes while stirring continuously or till oil separates from the paste. Then add chopped tomatoes along with half the amount of bell pepper (Capsicum) and 1/4 of coriander. Mix well and sauté for about 3 minutes, then add Pav-Bhaji masala and salt to it. Mix well and let the masala cook for about 3 more minutes.

Side by side check if your vegetables are cooked and if they are ready mash them gently using the potato masher. Add the vegetables to the pan with one cup of water, mix it and bring it to boil. Let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Add frozen peas, rest of the bell pepper, salt and cook on medium heat for 2 more minutes and then it’s done!! Adjust the salt according to taste and if needed you can even add some lemon juice too (It is completely optional).

Bhaji is ready to serve!! Enjoy with Pan roasted  Pav- Bread buns!

Pav – Bread buns

Heat some butter (Ghee- clarified butter) in a non-stick pan. Slice the Bun (Pav) horizontally into two (if they are not sliced) and pan fry in butter for half a minute, press with a spatula for about two or three times or till the Bun (Pav) is slightly crisp and light brown. Remove from the pan.

Garnish the bhaji (curry) with chopped coriander leaves, a dollop of butter (Don’t skip this – This is the best part :)) and serve it hot with pav and remaining chopped onions and lemon wedges.

Enjoy!

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