Pav Bhaji is a famous Indian fast food dish that originated in the central & western states of India and now well spread due to its immense popularity. Pav Bhaji as the name says comprises of a Pav (bread) that is served with a Bhaji, a thick and smooth mix vegetable curry dish. Bhaji is basically made of onion, tomato & potato gravy with the addition of other veggies like capsicum (bell pepper), cauliflower, green peas all finely mashed & well integrated with the tomato gravy. Pav Bhaji is served with the pav soaked in butter & lightly roasted & bhaji garnished with finely chopped onion, some butter & dash of lemon.
As a kid, I was fascinated to this huge iron tava (griddle) on which the restaurants or even street side vendors made pav bhaji. Ideally the pav bhaji making process calls for mashing the veggies one after other into the tomato based gravy but to simplify I used my Kitchen friend - food processor. It really helps to get things done faster & achieving the same evenly chopped/mashed-like consistency. I find Pav Bhaji as one the best way to finish your left over veggies & also great way to feed your kid a veggie they wouldn't normally eat. The only masala which I've used for this gravy is Pav Bhaji masala (store bought).
1 onion finely chopped
5 big Roma tomatoes (approx 4 cups chopped)
3 big florets of cauliflower (1cup chopped)
1/2 green capsicum/bell pepper (1 cup chopped)
3 boiled potatoes
1 cup boiled green peas
1 tsp of ginger paste
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp of green chili paste (or to taste)
1-2 tbsp of thick tomato paste
2- 3 tbsp of Pav Bhaji Masala (or to taste)
1 tsp of kashmiri red chilli powder (optional and to taste)
salt to taste
2 tbsp of oil for cooking
water as required to adjust gravy consistency.
For Serving :
Some Pav - store bought or you could make some at home (Link for Pav recipe)
finely chopped onion and coriander
few lemon wedges
Blanch the tomatoes i.e. Boil water in a deep vessel & once hot add the tomatoes to it. In 2 mins once you notice the tomato skin peeling, remove the tomatoes & add them to cold water. Once they are at a temperature you can handle, peel the skin off, chop randomly & puree them in blender. Keep aside.
In a flat bottom vessel or Tava, heat some oil on medium flame. Once hot add the onions & Saute. Once onions turn translucent add the ginger, green chili & garlic paste & saute till raw garlic smell disappears. Then add the fresh tomato puree & cook for about 2 mins.
Next add the finely grated cauliflower & mix well. Then add the tomato paste & pav bhaji masala. Mix well. Cook for 2 mins.
Now add the mashed potato, mashed green peas & finely chopped capsicum & mix. Add salt & cook for 5 mins. Add water as required to adjust the consistency.
Cook till the bhaji comes to bubbling temperature & then simmer for 10mins with stirring at regular intervals. Final touch would be adding in a tbsp of butter & coriander & mix.
- I've used a combination of Fresh tomato puree & ready made variety, but you could go for either one. However I would recommend using some amount of store bought tomato puree for the deep reddish color as fresh tomatoes don't give that rich reddish orangish color.
- I've grated or mashed cauliflower, green peas, capsicum & even potato in my food processor. Ensure they are only finely chopped & not completely pureed.
- The amount of Pav Bhaji masala can be increased or decreased to taste. The more you add the more spicy /hot your Bhaji will get. So adjust to taste.
- Ideally the Pav is served buttered on both side, but since I freshly baked my Pav I preferred serving them as is. Preference is yours.
That's it, our Pav Bhaji is ready, serve the Bhaji hot topped with some butter, finely chopped onions, coriander and lemon wedges accompanied with Pav.