Pao Bhaji

Reposted from Hold A Thought, Pen It Down which you can find here.

Is it my imagination or does pao bhaji taste best in Mumbai's Chowpatty? I know it is really clichéd and I am sure Mumbaikars have better suggestions but I have had the yummiest pao bhaji of my life in that beach.

Anyways just back from holiday, our Able & Cole veggie box conveniently arrived yesterday afternoon. During the holiday we have been eating a lot of fish--fish and chips, grilled fish, the idea of a veggie dinner appealed to us. After eating European food for the last few days we wanted to have something spicy and tangy. With all the veggies we decided to make pao bhaji. I went to the super market so whatever was missing bought from there.


To make the sabji/bhaji/veggie
3 medium sized potatoes
3 carrots
1 packet of beans
2 onions
Half a cabbage
1 cauliflower
4 spring onions
2 medium juicy tomatoes
Half of green, red and yellow peppers (adds a lot of colour)
A cup of peas
3 green chillies
Lime juice
Any other veggies that you may have in store
In Delhi like in everything else they put paneer/cottage cheese in the bhaji, am not a fan of this

Red chilly powder
Pao bhaji masala 2 table spoons (you can get this from any Indian grocery store)
Salt according to taste
2 table spoons of ginger garlic paste

Green chilly
Coriander leaves
Lime juice

Any soft bun

Preparation time: 15 mins to 1 hour
Cooking time: 15 to 20 mins
Serves: The bhaji serves 6 people

Method: The most tedious thing in this preparation is chopping all those veggies, so if you have a food processor your life just got easy. If you do not, chop away like I did yesterday evening for almost an hour. Why an hour? Cos I am a perfectionist (my husband says I have surgical precision, don't know about that, but I like my veggies evenly chopped and I am ready to give it time). You may also use the ready to cook frozen veggies. Saves a lot of time, if nothing else.

Once chopped, take a big pan (I usually use our big Chinese wok)  heat about 3/4 table spoon of vegetable oil, once the oil is hot, throw in the onions, after they look translucent, add the potatoes, allow them to cook for 2/3 mins, add the masalas but not the salt and once the oil starts bubbling on the sides indicating that the masalas are fried, add the ginger garlic paste. After the ginger garlic paste looks cooked (turns brown and a nice fried smell comes) add all the veggies, give them 4/5 mins to fry and then add water and salt and let it come to a boil. Once the veggies are cooked, take a masher and mash the veggies slightly.

In a non stick frying pan take a bit of butter and toast your buns. For the garnish chop some onions, green chillies, coriander leaves and sprinkle some lime juice.

In a plate place the buns, a wedge of lime, the onion salad and a generous helping of the bhaji with a dash of lime juice and a generous blob of butter. Now if you are dieting or butter averse this dish is not for you. The real fun starts when the butter melts on top of the hot, steaming sabji, so no scrimping on the butter.

Warning: This is a hot dish, the pao bhaji masala itself is pretty hot, so if you are not into too much of hot food, you can reduce the green chillies and red chilly powder. I am generally not into hot food, but I like this dish hot, adds to the fun.

Ideally you have to eat this on the Chowpatty beach, watching the sea and the sun set while a warm breeze blows by. Soon after you finish this, you need to get yourself a chuski/ice lolly to cool you down. That is ideal, but it can be happily consumed anywhere in the world. Happy pao bhaji eating.

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