Pav Bhaji is a popular Indian street food that originated in the busy streets of Mumbai. This delicacy consists of a spicy and tangy vegetable curry, known as bhaji, served with a soft buttered bun called pav. If you are new to making pav bhaji and want to recreate this culinary delight at home, you have come to the right place. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of making pav bhaji like a pro.
Pav Bhaji is a favorite street food in India, especially in the state of Maharashtra. It is believed to have originated as a quick and filling lunch option for textile mill workers in Mumbai in the late 19th century. Over time, it gained popularity and became a staple of Indian cuisine. Today, pav bhaji is enjoyed by people of all ages across the country and has even gained international recognition.
To make a delicious pav bhaji you will need the following ingredients:
- the pea
- the carrot
- Ginger-garlic batter
- Pav Vaji Masala
- Red chili powder
- turmeric powder
- the oil
- lemon juice
- Fresh coriander leaves
Optional variations include adding boiled beetroot for a vibrant color or paneer (Indian cottage cheese) for a creamy twist. You can also customize the spice level as per your preference.
- Boil the vegetables: Start by boiling potatoes, cauliflower, peas and carrots until soft and tender. Drain the water and keep aside.
- Saute the onions and tomatoes: In a large pan, heat some butter and oil. Add chopped onions and saute until they become translucent. Then, add the ginger-garlic paste and cook until the raw smell disappears. After that, add finely chopped tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy.
- Add spices and mashed vegetables: Now, time to add spices. Add pav vaji masala, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt to the pan. Mix well and add cooked vegetables. Mash them with a potato masher or the back of a spoon until well combined.
- Simmer and adjust consistency: Cook the mixture on low heat for a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend together. If the bhaji looks too thick, you can add some water to adjust the consistency. Be sure to taste and adjust the spices to your liking.
- Toast the pav: While the bhaji is cooking, slice the pav buns horizontally, leaving one side intact. Put some butter inside the buns and toast them in a frying pan until they are golden brown and crispy.
Serving and presentation
To serve pav bhaji like a pro, follow these tips:
- Place a generous amount of fritters in a serving dish, garnish with a dollop of butter and sprinkle fresh chopped coriander leaves on top.
- Serve the fries alongside toasted pav buns, lemon wedges and finely chopped onions.
- For an authentic touch, serve some pickled green chillies and kuchkuche papads (thin and crispy lentil wafers).
- You can also serve tamarind chutney or mint-coriander chutney as a condiment.
Although pav bhaji is considered a street food indulgence, it offers some health benefits:
- Vegetables used in pav bhaji are rich in essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
- The dish is high in carbohydrates, making it an energy-boosting meal.
- By controlling the amount of butter and oil used, you can make it a healthier option.
Popular pav bhaji recipe
There are many regional variations of pav bhaji across India. Some popular ones include:
- Kolhapuri Pav Bhaji: This version is known for its spicy and fiery taste, achieved by using a special Kolhapuri masala.
- Jain Pav Bhaji: A variation popular among the Jain community, this recipe omits onion and garlic.
- Paneer Pav Vaji: For the cheese lovers, this recipe adds plenty of grated cheese on top of the vaji.
Tips and Tricks
To take your pav bhaji to the next level, consider the following tips and tricks:
- Use fresh and seasonal vegetables for best taste.
- Mash the vegetables thoroughly for a smooth and creamy texture.
- Add lemon juice at the end to enhance the tangy flavor.
- Garnish with finely chopped onions and coriander leaves for added freshness.
Avoid these common mistakes:
- Vegetables are overcooked, resulting in a spicy stir-fry.
- Skimping on butter and oil, as they contribute to the dish’s rich flavor and texture.
Making pav bhaji from scratch may seem intimidating at first, but with this beginner’s guide, you have all the tools to master this delicious street food at home. From boiling the vegetables to toasting the pav bun perfectly, you can now make lip-smacking pav bhaji with a professional touch. So gather your ingredients, follow the steps and enjoy the authentic flavors of this iconic Indian dish.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Can I make Pav Bhaji without potatoes?
While potatoes are a key ingredient in Pav Bhaji, you can experiment with alternative root vegetables like sweet potatoes or yams for a different flavor profile.
- Can I freeze leftover Pav Bhaji?
Yes, you can store leftover Pav Bhaji in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days or freeze it for longer shelf life. However, it is best to consume it fresh for optimal taste and texture.
- Can I make Pav Bhaji without butter?
Butter adds richness and flavor to Pav Bhaji, but if you prefer a healthier option, you can reduce the amount of butter or substitute it with ghee (clarified butter) or a cooking oil of your choice.
- Can I make Pav Bhaji spicier?
If you prefer a spicier Pav Bhaji, you can increase the amount of red chili powder or add finely chopped green chilies while sautéing the onions.
- Can I make Pav Bhaji without pav?
While pav is an integral part of the dish, you can enjoy the bhaji with roti, naan, or even bread if pav is not readily available.