Thursday, June 7, 2007

Mumbai Pav bhaji a Nostagia

As a part of our weekly dinners outside or as i love calling it "Gastronomical Pilgrimage" we would often go to "Sheetal" in Kothrud Pune. They serve one of the best Mumbai Pav Bhaji(MPB). The Other places being Shiv Sagar, Anand juice Bar @ nal Stop. I have never met a single person who does not like MPB. I really dont want to meet that person since i believe no one can dislike this.

Its a easy to cook, delicious, street food taste and a very yummy way to finish off all the veggies lying in the fridge. It can be prepared ahead of time. Its a very filling meal but some people prefer to call it snack. In indian restraunts and fast food places its cooked on a giagantic griddle(tava) and a masher. All the steamed vegetables are kept around him \. The stove is always on low and its prepared in "amul" butter. For the pav he will use butter generousoly and then toast bread on this same tava so that pav also get similar flavour. I know we also order Sada Pav Bhaji but its cooked in butter just the addition of top dollop of butter is avoided. Have you ever tried making it on a tava at home ? well i have tried and I can tell the diffrence of cooking on a tava and in pan with a lid. Tava wala tastes far better, especially on a very low flame. There are various diffrent variations of this splendid s=dish the very common one being Khada pav bhaji, cheese Pav Bhaji, special pav bhaji etc. A word of caution never ever try Special Pav bhaji at sheetal. Its sucks since they serve you equal amounts of bhaji and dry fruits all mixed up. The best bet always is Amul Pav Bhaji with amul being synonymous with butter in india. I have also tried home-made butter or Loni or makkhan wali pav bhaji but amul butter ki pav bhaji ki baat hi alag hai.

Pav bhaji has that peculiar smell which is due to its masala. I always use Everest Pav Bhaji Masala. It gives a great flavour, can be found in almost all of the indian grocery stores. This masala is combination of following spices : Anistar, Black Cardamom, Black Pepper, Cassia, Cassia Leaf, Chilli, Clove, Common Salt, Coriander, Cumin, Dry Ginger, Dry Mango, Fennel, Turmeric. I know that no one makes at home but i was very curious to find the ingredients of this masala so checked up on the Everest Masala site. I recently tasted Jain Pav Bhaji and it tastes preeety good too though the best ingredients ( onions, potatoes, ginger, garlic, carrots) are missing. I recently thought of making pav Bhaji with the intention of cleaning up my fridge. As always K loved it and so did I. whenever you have some friends coming over for a dinner and movie make this and get tonns of compliemnts. It has always worked for me.
Shiv Sagar, Aundh Pune was preety close to my office. Me n my gal freinds have dropped in there for lunch many times. In fact me n K have had dined there umpteen number of times before we got married. My mom loves that place too. We have various differnt reasons for liking that place though mom n K i guess have similar reasons to like it. I have liked that place for good food, meeting friends, waiting endlessly for friends who r late comers ( grrrrrrrrr..i hate tht). VP liked thi place a lot since they make good MPB n its her fav dish. Infact i had dinner at Shiv Sagar in Mumbai just before my flight frm CS Airport. I have tonns of things happened over a plate of MPB and luckily all are fond memories. I recollected many of those over this plate when i made it last week. Njoy MPB, it ROCKS !!

Mumbai Pav Bhaji

1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup peas
1 cup carrot
11/2 cup tomatoes
2 cup potatoes
1 cup Red bell peppers/ capsicum
1/2 cup onions
2 tbl son ginger-garlic paste
1/2 cup butter
1 tbl spn Pav Bhaji Masala
1 tbl spn Red chilli powder
1/2 tbl spn turmeric powder
salt to taste

Method: Boil cauliflower, carrots, peas, potatoes, bell peppers. In a shallow pan / lar griddle heat half the butter. saute ginger garlic paste. After 2 mins add onions and saute till they turn pinkish in color. Add very finely cut or pureed tomatoes( i like the chopped ones since mashing becomes easier and pureed are diffcult to manage on a tava). Add Pav bhaji masala, chilli powder, turmeric powder. Cook for 2 minutes.

1. Do you wonder why MPV from hotels is nice and fiery red in color? We presume they add food coloring. If you would like to get nice color than add tinned tomatoes/tomato puree. Without adding artificial color your pav bhaji will have a deep red color.

2. If you have beetroot at home than add just a spoon full of finely grated beetroot.

3. Incase you do not have tinned tomatoes than you could use Kashmiri Chilli powder. Its not very pungent but gives a fiery red color.


Arts said...

MBP at Sheetal and Pav Bhaji rocks!!
so glad to find a Puneite here :)
Lovely recipe.. thanks for reminding me for some fond memories!

Pooja said...

Tempting pic and thanks for the reminder. Pav bhaji is not something I want to miss during this vacation in India!

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Anonymous said...

lovely my mouthwatering...I would however like to add one tidbit....Onions despite popular belief, are not stir fried as a base for authentic Pav Bhaji recipe. They should (correctly) only used as a garnish on top (just as cilantro or lemon)