Mumbai monsoons have arrived, said my dad with a chuckle and that we had a long chat reminiscing about how I used to love jumping in puddles of water as a kid when it used to rain! Given the opportunity, I still do 😛
We discussed how the average Mumbaikar’s idea of a good monsoon outing is visiting Juhu beach, eating gola, also known as chuski or shaved ice on a stick submerged in flavored food colored water and downing plates of bhel puri, dahi batata puri and of course the iconic Juhu beach Pav Bhaji.
We got nostalgic about our picnics there when I was a kid, the scary fall I had when horse riding or making sand castles. They were good fun times!
If you visit Mumbai, it is an important to-do in travel iternarary. Over the years the place has been very crowded and now it’s been many years I have not visited Juhu beach. I prefer Worli Seaface instead for the quiet there and listening to the waves!
Below is my take on the Pav Bhaji!
Prep Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4
6 medium potatoes boiled and mashed
1/2 cup green peas
1 1/2 cup caulifower florets
2 green chillies finely chopped (optional)
5 tsp canola oil
2 medium onions finely chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
3 cloves garlic finely grated
6 tomatoes finely chopped
50 ml tomato paste
1 large capsicum finely chopped
2 1/2 tsp pav bhaji masala powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
5-6 tsp butter
Coriander leaves for garnish
A few wedges of lemon
In a pressure cooker, boil the potatoes in salted water. Once cooled, mash them with a potato masher or with a fork. Set it aside.
In a pot, blanch caulifower florets and peas and give them a cold bath once out.
In a food processor, just blend them together to bread crumb consistency. Do not add any water to the blender. Set it aside.
The key to making great pay bhaji is being sorted with the prep beforehand. The dish comes together quickly this way.
Let get started!
Traditionally, bhaji is cooked on a flat disc shaped iron tawa (griddle) but I had to do with a humble kadhai in my rental kitchen.
In a kadhai, heat some oil and add green chillies. Once it sizzles, add the ginger and garlic followed by the onions and cook them until they are translucent.
Please note traditionally not many people use green chillies in the pav bhaji and use red chill paste instead. I did not have red chillies on hand and hence went for green chillies.
To the onions, add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. Once mushy, add tomato paste, it lends a good consistency to the mix and also gives a deep red color. Cook them well.
Add chopped capsicum, sautee for a while and add the cauliflower and peas to the mixture.
Add pav bhaji masala, coriander powder, red chilly powder, turmeric and salt to taste. Blend the ingredients well with some water.
Add mashed potato to the mixture and mix well. Keep adding water to the mixture as required.
Add dollops of butter and season well with salt, let it simmer for a while. Usually I use Lurpark or Ellie & Vier butter but for pav bhaji I bring out Amul butter.
Amul butter is just synonymous with Juhu beach style pav bhaji and is like a staple ingredient in every kitchen when making pav bhaji or maybe just me!
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and some more butter.
Prepare this dish when you feel like indulging and need not worry about the pav maska maar ke! (Indian bread with extra butter)
To have the pav with the bhaji, on a tawa just add butter and roast the pav in the buttery goodness for a few minutes until they have evenly browned.
You can buy good pav at the bakery section of Lulu or even try the portuguese rolls available at Waitrose.
Serve with dollops of butter on the side, lemon wedges and finely chopped onion.
I hope you relish this as much as I did. Until next time, happy cooking! 🙂