Tawa Cooking – Pav Bhaji ( Spicy Mashed Potatoes with Grilled Buns )

Pav Bhaji must be the most popular recipe cooked on a tawa in India. Google up Pav Bhaji and you will get zillions of Pav Bhaji recipes and also its history on Wikipedia. We still remember the ad of Everest Spices on TV in India with a punch line that conveyed Everest Pav Bhaji Masala is a blend of 13 secret spices. The punch line added so much elusiveness to the recipe that my mom actually used to use it. Though invented in Mumbai, the recipe has made its way to every nook and corner in India and is an extremely popular street food and also served in high-end fast food chains.

Pav Bhaji Stall at Mumbai's Juhu Beach

  The base of the recipe is boiled potatoes mashed up with spices and butter which is what the original recipe was. As time went by creativity made its way with addition of peas, cauliflower, bell peppers etc. We made Pav Bhaji with just potatoes to keep it simple and original; and we did not use any ready-made Pav Bhaji masala. We realize now what a hoax the ad was. The truth is it’s a simple recipe that needs just garam masala (we used MDH brand garam masala) and some red chilies. The taste is all from butter; and we love butter in our food so we used it really generously.

Pav Bhaji with an extra dollop of Butter

Try out this Pav Bhaji recipe at home because this is could not become more simpler than this. Watch the video for the recipe and let us know what you think.
 
 
Ingredients Summary:
 
Serves: 4; Total Time: 40 min
 
Potatoes – 675 gm or 1 1/2 lb; Ghee – 1/2 cup; Green Chilies – 4; Ginger – 15 gm or 1/2 oz; Tomatoes – 250 gm or 9 oz; Whole Red Chilies – 4; Ginger Paste – 1 tsp; Garlic Paste – 1 tsp; Salt – to taste; Butter – 5 Tbs; Garam Masala – 2 tsp; Coriander Leaves – 1/2 cup; Lemon Juice – 2 Tbs; 
 

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A Vegetarian Meal At Last

Finally, we cooked some vegetarian food. A simple routine Indian meal that cannot be found in any restaurant but only an Indian household. Speaking of restaurants, few staple menu items of Indian restaurants (in India and elsewhere), especially those serving north indian cuisine, are never cooked at home. For example, the naan bread. We do not think any Indian household cooks naan bread at home as part of normal cuisine. They may try making it for putting the new oven to some use but it’s never cooked at home as part of their meals.

At the same time, the food cooked in Indian kitchens as part of routine meals is seldom found in restaurants. The meal we are featuring here is one such meal that cannot be found in restaurants. Its one of those food that a person looks forward to eat upon reaching home after work.

Since we said “meal”, it’s not one recipe we are featuring but two. The first is the “Stir Fried Cabbage” that is cooked in a fusion style of northern and eastern regions of India. From the state of Bengal in east, we used the panch phoron spice mix (Wikipedia has a nice page on it) in the cabbage stir fry. You can also add green peas and diced potatoes in the cabbage stir fry. The peas bring a nice sweetness to the recipe. We though did not add any peas or potatoes in our recipe.

Daal or Lentil is an integral part of Indian meal. So the next feature in our meal is the Mung Dal (yes, the same Mung Daal from Chowder). Mung Daal can be cooked in many ways and we are going to cook them with spinach to get in the added nutrients of a green vegetable.

In both the recipes a little butter or ghee, though optional, can be added in the end to enhance the taste and flavor.

Check out our video for the recipe and to watch us cook them. We are not doing a bad job at all of shooting the videos with a phone camera. Just need a tripod, we guess. 

Both the cabbage and mung daal can be served with rotis, parathas or with rice. Side some cucumber and onion salad along with raita (yogurt sauce with a blend of spices) and no restaurant can beat the satisfaction we get after having such a meal.

(In one of our earlier posts we said vegetarian food sucks. It still does but then eating meat everyday also sucks.)

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