The Psychiatry Boards, part I, are over.
420 questions. 7 hours. I used the nifty little ‘flag’ button to mark some iffy questions for review. Going through the test took 4 hours, and I had time at the end to change a few answers. As it turns out, every change was from the right answer to a wrong answer. It never changes. I never learn. So much for operant conditioning.
Anyway, back to food. Taking a cue from HG’s holi post , I decided to make pav bhaji last night. A classic street snack from Mumbai, pav bhaji is a spicy buttery mashed potato-vegetable curry, topped with raw onions and lime juice, sopped up with sliced pav bread that has been pan fried in more butter.
Many a times have I watched an expert bhaji-meister work his 3-feet-wide griddle, freshen up my bhaji and pav with a whole stick of butter. It is with some shame, then, that I present to you my two-tablespoon-of-butter version.
It was still pretty darned good.
For this recipe, we need at least one thing from the Indian grocery store. Pav-bhaji masala, the spice mix that gives the bhaji its unique flavor and one I’ve never been able to recreate at home. You can get a tiny cardboard box of the spice for a couple of bucks, and it will last for a while. You can even use it as ‘curry powder’. It may look like this.
While you are making that trip, you could get lucky and find yourself a 8-pack of genuine Mumbai pav. They look like dinner rolls, but have a firmer texture, are less sweet, and just taste…different. Substitute with simple dinner rolls or your favorite bread.
Ready? Lets go!
1 tbsp neutral flavored oil
1 onion, chopped roughly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 hot green chilli pepper, minced
2 tbsp pav-bhaji masala, mixed with 1 tbsp water to make a paste
3 oz tomato paste
15 oz boiled chickpeas (canned are fine), mashed coarsely
1 large potato, cubed
a handful of green beans, chopped
1 cup peas (frozen are fine)
1-2 medium carrots, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 limes, one juiced and the other cut into wedges
Chopped green/white onion (as much as you like to eat raw)
2 tbsp butter (or as much as you dare)
8 pav/dinner rolls, sliced horizontally into halves.
– In a stockpot, cover the potatoes, beans, carrots, and peas with water and bring to a boil. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Drain. Coarsely mash the vegetables. (I use a pressure cooker to do this. All you need then is a few tbsp of water, and all the nutrients stay in the food.)
– In a large fry pan, heat the oil. Add the onion and saute until soft. Next, add the garlic and the chilli pepper. Saute for another minute or so.
– Add the tomato paste and the spice paste. Saute for a couple of minutes. Throw in the chickpeas and the mashed veggies. Mix. Keep on mixing and mashing the bhaji against the pan for a couple of minutes.
– The whole thing should be of the consistency of coarse mashed potatoes- add a tbsp of water if its too dry. Taste and add salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
– Stir in juice of one lime, one tbsp butter, and the cilantro.
– Fry the sliced rolls on a griddle with the remaining butter. Serve piping hot with the bhaji, wedges of lime, and chopped green onion.