Mumbai Pav Bhaji is one of my favorite street food from my college days in Juhu. Pav Bhaji and Mumbai identify each other, as much as pav bhaji symbolises Mumbai, mumbai is fast quick and burst of colors and flavors, am not good with words, but hope you get the essence.
Pav bhaji and amul butter also compliment each other so so well, it brings back memories of the bustling Mumbai chowpatty stalls, where the guy would churn up bright red coloured bhaji with dollops of amul butter wholeheartedly, the very sight would be so so exciting that you cannot move to the next one before savouring a plate or two.
I have been making pav bhaji for years now, but until beginning of this year was never very satisfied with the results. My aunt Jai, is know to make the best pav bhaji in the family, and i can vouch for it. I closely observed her method and learnt a few tricks, experimented a little myself and i guess I am very close to the taste i like, like that from the streets.
Guess with age comes the ease to experiment in the kitchen, i remember i used to be so so careful while adding more water to the bhaji while cooking, and then it would be this blobby bhaji, colorless, and bland, the fear to add more water to get the right consistency, the fear to add more chilli powder to get the right hit and color, the fear to add more masala to get the right tang.
I have tried to write down the recipe in details, more so the tips i used to reach this consistency. Hope it helps some of you who are trying to get that right street-style consistency.
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 4-5 florets of cauliflower
- 1/2 cup cabbage roughly chopped
- 3 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 20-25 french beans, cut in big pieces
- 1 cup of frozen green peas
- 4 big onions, finely chopped
- 5 big tomatoes, peeled and chopped.
- 1 big green capsicum finely chopped.
- 1 tbsp, fresh ginger garlic paste
- 3 + 2 tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 50 gms amul butter
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 drop of food coloring, if tomatoes aren’t red enough.
- Microwave the potatoes for 10 minutes, or boil as you like it.
- In a cooker, add all the washed and cut vegetables, except the onion, tomatoes and capsicum, remember it should be big chunks.
- Pressure cook on high for 3-4 whistles. Let it rest.
- Now in a heated, wide bottom pan, add half of the butter and 2 tbsp oil and let it heat.
- Now add the onions and ginger garlic and let them fry till they become light brown, and the oil separates.
- Now add the capsicum pieces and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
- Now add all the masalas(only 3 tbsp of pav bhaji masala), and fry for 30 secs.
- Add the tomato paste now, and fry till it starts separating oil again.
- Meanwhile, the veggies would be cool, open the cooker, and drain the veggies, save the water.
- Give a quick grind in a grinder, till it just becomes a paste, you don’t want a sticky mess, a little coarse is good.
- Mash the peeled tomatoes separately.
- Now add all this into the onion tomato paste, and mash for 1-2 minutes with a pav bhaji masher.
- The mixture will be thick, Add all the liquid we saved from the veggies, and 2 more cups of fresh water, and cover with a lid, let it cook for 4-5 minutes on medium high flame.
- Now the color will get darker, at this stage, heat some butter, and add the remaining pav bhaji masala and red chilli powder and a drop of food colouring if you like.
- Cover it and cook again, add 1 more cup of water, and see the color get darker after every 5 minutes of cooking.
- Patience at this step is key, to get the right color. Taste, and add more masala if the tang doesn’t seem right. In 1/2 hour, the bhaji should be ready.
- I highly recommend Everest Pa bhaji masala for the right color.
- For the times i use food color, it is ameri color, never tried the powder colors.
- Also Kashmiri lal mirch helps in the color.
- Feel free to add more water, as it will thicken with time while cooling.