Heaven on a plateEver since I read the post on Nupur's blog about her aunts recipe for Pav Bhaji I knew I had to try it. Its just what she calls it, heaven on a plate, when done right though! Its one dish that everyone in India can relate too. All of us have tasted it and enjoyed it atleast once in our lives. I don't have to stress how good this particular recipe is either. I have come across so many posts on blogs where this recipes has been tried, tested and proven to be perfect :) Onions, they seem to be the culprit, they are to be perched on top of the bhaji and not in it, Now who would have thought of that ! A very huge Thank you to you Nupur and to her aunt for having cracked the magic in the dish.
In Hyderabad, Gokul Chaat Bhandar was THE place to eat chaat. It is also very strategically placed, right opposite the text book selling hub of the city, just where all the population between 15-24 would be concentrated(its also a major shopping area :P). The street was covered from end to end with book stalls selling books covering every subject offered from class 10 to Ph.D or M.Tech standards, international authors, guides and just about any book ever quoted in your syllabus. You could find brand new books and even second/third hand books and you could bargain to your hearts content :D That place needs a post for itself ! And this chaat place was nestled on the opposite side of the road. It was more of a custom to eat there whenever you cross by. He served everything that you could ask for in chaat, gol gappas, papri chaat, dahi kachori, aloo tikki, samosa chaat, mirchi, ragda and the very famous pav bhaji. The special plate would look just like a plate meal. The pav bhaji would be served with a side of ginger-chilli pickle, green chutney, pickle and a masala papad sprinkled with chaat masala, onions and cilantro. It was just perfect !
I have been waiting to try this recipe and not being able to find it on restaurant menus just added to the cravings. Its not a very difficult recipe to re-create either, just a hodge-podge of veggies you have with Cauliflowers taking the center stage. Potatoes generally hog the limelight when it comes to their presence in street food, but the cauliflower definitely steals the show with this one. Its a wonderful way of getting people who hate cauliflower to actually fall in love with it. You'll hardly know its even there :))
Go ahead, take a bite & don't mind the slightly burnt pav :PThe only variations I added to the recipe was using two fresh tomatoes and 2 Tbsp of Tomato paste instead of the puree. The use of the paste rendered a deliciously red color to the bhaji, not to mention a little tang too, absolutely yummy. I also used a carrot,freshly crushed ginger & garlic and some fennel seeds(saunf). I have the Everest brand pav- bhaji masala and loved its flavor, most of my other masalas are from Everest too.Garnish with cilantro, lemon juice. Imp: Don't forget the butter on top of the hot bhaji just before serving ;) Update: I tried it again with MDH brand Pav bhaji masala and it tasted just as good. Their masala is a little more spicy so you need to take care while adding extra chilli powder.
I used store bought ready made buns for the pav, slather them with butter and toast until golden brown and crisp (unlike mine :)) ). I also like to season my butter with some salt and chilli powder/chat masala/pav bhaji masala, it adds a nice kick to the otherwise plain buns. If you are prepared to go the extra mile then do make your own pav too... Jai n Bee have a wonderful post on making some really good pav's Mumbai style ! I can't wait to try them :)