This will be the most delicious, savory, tasty thing you will ever eat - assuming you love potatoes, onions and garlic. I mean who can go wrong there? This dish is one near and dear to me. Its easily my most requested dish for my birthday dinner, and definitely my favorite thing to eat every time I'm in Mumbai (Bombay). One time, I ate it for three days straight - every meal. No joke. Ask my fiya (aunt). She still talks about that one time...
Coming from a family of Mumbaikars, I am quite particular about how to make it. Pav bhaji (pronounced "pow bah-gie") was developed on the streets on Bombay back in the 1850's and contains five main ingredients: potatoes, tomatoes, green bell peppers, bread and a whole lotta butter (think Paula Deen). Overtime, it has become quite popular in other areas of India and has been adapted to include other veggies like cauliflower and peas, but these renditions are non traditional versions of the Bombay street classic.
I am very passionate about traditional PB, so this is my fiya's recipe and believe me it is explicitly amazing and very much so authentic (she lives in Mumbai). Almost as authentic as if it was straight off the street vendors tavi (skillet) but better because this version is sanitary lol.
MUMBAI PAV BHAJI RECIPE
(INDIAN GLORIFIED MASHED POTATOES SERVED ON BUTTERED BREAD)
KITCHEN REKHA FIYA
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 6-8)
- 6 potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed)
- 6 tomatoes (finely chopped)
- 1 1/2 green bell peppers (fine chopped)
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
- 1/4 tsp haldi (ground turmeric powder)
- 1 1/12 tbs pav bhaji masala (I LOVE this one)
- 1 1/2 tsp kashmiri mirch (substitute: cayenne pepper or regular mirch but will affect color)
- 1 1/2 c water
- 12-15 cloves of garlic (blended)
- 1/2 stick butter (unsalted)
- 1 tbs kashmiri mirch
- 1/2 yellow onion (finely chopped)
- 1/3 c cilantro (fresh & finely chopped)
- 1 lime/lemon
- Prep your veggies: boil & mash the potatoes, finely chop the tomatoes & bell peppers. Set aside.
- Melt the 1 stick of butter over medium heat in a nonstick skillet/wok.
- Add the jeera (cumin) and let them sizzle for 30 seconds.
- Add your mashed potatoes, tomatoes and bell pepper. Stir while cooking until the potatoes start bubbling (about 6-8 minutes).
- Add haldi (tumeric), mirch (chili powder), and pav bhaji masala.
- Add the water and cook for an additional 5 minutes. At this point the consistency should be similar to mashed potatoes. If its too watery then cook for additional time til consistency is achieved.
- Add salt to taste (approx. 1 tbs).
- Place on low heat & proceed to make the garlic chutney before moving on to the next step.
- Prepare your masala onions by mixing the onions, lime juice and chopped cilantro in a separate bowl.
- Add freshly chopped cilantro to the bhaji.
- Serve the bhaji with buttered french bread or garlic knots and top with the masala onions!
- In a separate small pot, melt the butter.
- Add the blended garlic and fry for for about 1.5 minutes.
- Mix in the chili powder and immediately pour over the bhaji.
NOTES: the bhaji and garlic chutney both freeze very well so you can save them for a later date. I have found that garlic knots are the closest thing to the bread that is served in Mumbai. Lastly "pav" means bread and "bhaji" refers to the veggie casserole.