Our culinary adventure in Indian street food continues and this time we travel to western India to explore their famous Pav Bhaji… or as Maharashtrians call it: Pavachi Bhaji.
According to food historians, this popular dish dates back to the 1860s when the American Civil War sent the demand for Indian cotton skyrocketing. The Bombay Cotton Exchange buzzed with activity and the brokers had to work late into the night, waiting for the latest cotton rates to be telegraphed from America. By the time their work ended, it was too late to go home for dinner. So the food vendors outside the Cotton Exchange came up with a makeshift dish in which they would fry whatever leftover vegetables they had (Bhaji) and serve it with buttered bread rolls (known as Pav). And that’s how the famous Pav Bhaji was born.
Later, at the height of Bombay’s textile industry boom, the Pav Bhaji became a quick way to give thousands of mill workers a nutritious and filling meal during the lunch break. The heydays of the textile industry are long over – but the enormous popularity of the Pav Bhaji continues unabated.
We will make our homemade version of Pav Bhaji with ordinary bread slices – but if you have Pav (or any other bread roll) you can serve your dish just like the street vendors do.
Bread: 6 slices
Tomato: 1, medium-sized
Onion: 1, medium-sized
Green Chillies: 2
Mustard Oil: 3 tablespoons
Mustard Seeds (Rai): Half-a-teaspoon
Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: Half-a-teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder: One large pinch
Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: Just a pinch
Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 50 grams
Salt: to taste
The ingredients given above are for a single serving (“one plate” as it is called in Mumbai). Increase or decrease the quantities proportionately depending on the number of servings you require. As mentioned earlier, we are making this version with ordinary bread slices – but if you have Pav, serve the dish with two pieces of Pav (for a single serving).
Chop the tomato.
Wash and peel the onion and chop it coarsely.
Wash and peel the potato and cut it into small cubes/pieces.
Finely chop the green chillies.
Finely chop the coriander leaves.
If you are using bread, cut each slice into small squares.
Heat a tablespoon of Mustard Oil in a pan on a Medium flame, and add the mustard and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter, reduce the flame to Low and add the remaining Mustard Oil. Next, add the onion and green chillies. Cook till the onion pieces take on a translucent quality.
Add the potato pieces and stir well to mix the onion, green chillies and potato.
After a couple of minutes, add the tomato pieces and keep stirring.
Next, add around 250 millilitres of water, cover the pan with a lid and allow the contents to cook.
When the potato and tomato pieces are cooked, remove the lid and add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Continue stirring for another couple of minutes.
Add the bread pieces to the mixture and stir to ensure that all the bread pieces are well coated. Turn the flame off.
Your homemade Pav Bhaji is now ready. Garnish the dish with chopped coriander leaves and serve it hot. In case you have the actual Pav (bread rolls) at home, lightly roast two rolls on a hot tava, butter the tops of the rolls and serve alongside the Bhaji.
For more such recipes, please visit https://www.purioilmills.com/recipes-in-english