Pau bhaji is not a dish I never ate as a kid but got introduced to it by my husband who had spent some time in Mumbai and Pune as a kid. This is a popular street food in Mumbai. Pau means bread and bhaji is the name given to the curry which accompanies the bread. Apparently, this dish got invented in Mumbai because factory workers wanted a light and quick meal during their lunch break.
A lot of the Indian grocery shops carry boxes or packets of ready made pau bhaji masala. I couldn't believe it when a friend told me that even Amazon is selling these mixes. I have not used that masala as I do not know how good they are. One box I picked up asked you to use 4 tablespoons of the masala for 4 servings which to me sounds too spicy. If any of you have used it and can recommend a brand - I would be interested in trying some.
I use my own concoction of spices and have managed to get a taste the family enjoys. Lots of the recipes I have looked up seem to use a lot of potatoes. As this dish is eaten with bread, I didn't want to have too many carbs so I have tried to use lots of vegetables and just one small potato for my pau bhaji. I also made my own bread rolls by making adaptations from a previous bread rolls recipe of mine.
Ingredients for 4 servings
Time: 15 minutes
4 -5 cups of mixed frozen vegetables (baby carrots, beans, cauliflower and beans)
1 yellow pepper
1 cup of tomatoes ( you can used tinned, fresh or pasata)
1 tablespoon of tomato puree ( you won't need the puree if you are using pasata)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of blended ginger, garlic and green chillies mixture
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dhana jiru (mixture of coriander and cumin powders)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon of jaggery (or you can use sugar or any artificial sweetener)
1 tablespoon lemon
For the garnishing when serving:
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped tomato
1 finely chopped pepper or green chillies (as per your taste)
1 fresh lemon to taste (optional).
Fresh coriander (unfortunately I had run out so had to do without coriander).
1. Wash and the potato into very small cubes and add it to the frozen vegetables.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add in the cumin seeds. Once they are brown, add all the vegetables and mix so that the oil coats the vegetables.
3. Add the salt, turmeric, dhana jiru and the ginger garlic and chilly mixture.
4. Add half a cup of water, stir and cook on high for 5 minutes in the microwave. (For those of you who prefer to cook on the stove, allow this to cook until the potato looks soft).
5. Check that the potatoes are soft. Mine were soft within 5 minutes. If not, stir and allow to cook for a couple more minutes.
6. Once the potatoes are soft, add the tomatoes. I used a cup of pasata as it is thick and much richer than tomatoes.
7. Add the lemon and jaggery (or sugar or sweetener).
8. Add the garam masala.
9. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
10. After cooking your bhaji for 10 minutes, it will look like a mixed vegetable curry
11. Using a Potato masher, mash the bhaji. I don't mash mine completely as I don't like my Vegetables too mashed. Once mashed, cook this for 2-3 minutes more in the microwave.
13. Some recipes ask you to boil the vegetables and blend them before tempering them but I never do that as I really don't like my vegetables looking like baby food. Plus, I feel that if you are going to boil the vegetables and throw away the excess water, you would be throwing away a lot of the vitamins from the vegetables as well.
14. I served my pau bhaji with hot home made garlic rolls. The traditional way is to serve them in a toasted and buttered burger roll.
Here's some poetry describing pav bhaji
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