My first encounter with hot and spicy ‘Pav-Bhaji’

Being raised in a South Indian family for the first 20 years of my life, I’ve had never got a chance to feed my taste buds with mouth watering north Indian recipes. During my college days in Delhi, my roommates (Generally all north Indians), usually tease me about how I am so unfortunate to never taste Delhi’s favourite hot, butter filled ‘Pav-Bhaji’. I remember one of my early days in Delhi, when I along with my mates decided to hop around in the streets of famous Chandni Chowk. I saw a small roadside shop, with a huge skillet. A man is putting raw potatoes over it with lots of salt and pepper, and I swear the delicious smell of that snack was so tempting, I urged to one of my friends to go and have a bite.

The guy gave us multiple choice to feed our hunger, from allo tikki to allo chat to golgappe, out of multiple choices that we are given, I stuck to ‘Pav-Bhaji’ and got ready for my first experience with New Delhi’s favorite, much talked about spicy and tangy dish.

The moment I grab my first bite, Yuummmmmmmmm it was so irresistible, so mouth watering, I end up ordering one more platter full of thick butter pieces and steamy, spicy bhaji with well baked soft breads, the winters and the fog complements the recipe. As soon as we got back to our hostels, I’ve decided to learn making ‘Pav-Bhaji’, and after a little research on the net, I was prepared to make my first ever North Indian dish and to shock my mates. I still remember that day when I made it and my friends were gone all gaga over it. It was such a pleasant moment, having self made pav bhaji with your friends, sharing moments was one of the best moment one could ever have.

It’s been 5 years since I’ve been to Delhi, and Pav bhaji is what I missed the most throughout the days. My home made version is quite similar to the one I fell for and its me who made it, so there is no choice than loving it

You’ll need

  • Potatoes – 4
  • Carrot – 3
  • Peas – 1/2 cup
  • Beans – 100 gms
  • Onions – 2
  • Tomatoes – 4
  • Capsicum(Bell pepper) – 1
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
  • Garlic – 6 flakes
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Chilly powder – for taste
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Pav bhaji masala powder – 2 tsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Salt – for taste
  • Butter/oil – 50 gms

Before preparing the meal, make sure you wash the vegetables and boil it for some time. Dice carrot and beans into small cubes. Pressure cook the diced carrot, beans, potatoes and peas for almost 10 minutes. Touch the potatoes and other vegetables and make sure that they are softened enough to peel and mashed up. Meanwhile, you can chop onions, capsicum and tomatoes finely. Grind green chilies, ginger and garlic together into a paste.

Peel the cooked potatoes and mash them, take a shallow pan and add the butter, once it melts season with cumin seeds. Now add chopped onions and fry till golden brown. Add the ground paste and fry for few mins. Mix finely chopped tomatoes and fry until they form a gravy.

Now add the cooked vegetables, mashed potatoes, diced capsicum along with chili powder, Pav bhaji masala, turmeric powder, sugar and salt. Add enough water to make gravy and mix well. Allow it to boil for few mins.

Pav bhaji masala is ready.

Now you can cut the pav buns horizontally. Apply butter generously on top and inside the slit and roast on hot skillet until slightly brown.

Serve it with bhaji, finely chopped onions and a slice of lime