Pav Bhaji – A quintessential Mumbai Street Food delight that is chock full of veggies and made into an indulgent treat with generous lashings of butter. Today’s recipe is a vegan version of this treat.Jump to Recipe
Today has me longing to get back to normal. Back to the days where we could travel freely, explore, meet up with loved ones and all that good stuff. It’s probably the weather, which is cold, wet and grey here in Sydney. It’s days like this that also have me longing for some comfort food. For me, personally, comfort food changes from time to time. Sometimes, its a big bowl of soup, other times its a big bowl of steamed broccoli. I know, right! Broccoli = comfort food? At times I wonder whether thats normal. Well that’s a mystery for another day, but on more normal days, comfort food is usually Indian food and more often than not, the Street Food kind.
Today, I’m going to treat you to one of my favourites – the good ol’ Mumbai style Pav Bhaji. Never heard of it before? Well, there’s 2 components to it Pav – bread (not any bread, but a dinner roll thats split in two, buttered and lightly toasted.) and Bhaji – a mixed vegetable mash that has been cooked in butter with some beautiful, mild, but warming spices and topped off with some more butter. Usually the bread is toasted on the same pan the veggies are cooked on and it absorbs some of the flavours of the veggie mix, but today we’re keeping things simple. I’m just going to use another pan.
If you’d like to try your hand at making some delicious Laadi Pav, try this recipe out. It works like a charm. In the spirit of keeping things simple, I’m just using some store-bought bread rolls today.
The Bhaji or vegetable mix is a really versatile component. Everyone that makes a Pav Bhaji, has their own version. A lot of recipes call for a Pav Bhaji Masala. You can find this at almost any Indian grocery store, but I usually refrain from buying something like this spice mix that has just one use. And seeing how Pav Bhaji is an indulgent treat, we don’t make it very often. So after some experimenting, I figured out a combination of simple spices that works really well. The best part is that these spices are really common and if you cook Indian food, you most likely already have them in your kitchen.
So let’s get cooking.
Pav Bhaji (a Vegan version)Course: MainCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
Pav Bhaji – A quintessential Mumbai Street Food delight that is chock full of veggies and made into an indulgent treat with generous lashings of butter. Today’s recipe is a vegan version of this treat.
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 carrot, cubed
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup green peas
1 teaspoon oil
3 tablespoons of butter, plus more to butter the bread
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 green capsicum, finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 – 1 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder (or any other mild variety)
1 teaspoon + 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/4 cup Passata
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Fresh coriander, chopped
5-10 bread rolls (This depends on the size of the bread rolls as well as portion sizes, which on an average may be 1-2 rolls per person)
- Toppings –
Onion, finely chopped
Fresh coriander finely chopped
Some lemon / lime wedges
The amount of each of these toppings depends on how much you’d like to add to each portion.
- Boil the potato, carrot, cauliflower and green peas in sufficient water and a little salt (I use about 1/2 teaspoon of salt) till tender.
(I use a stovetop pressure cooker and this typically takes me 10 minutes. This will vary depending on your pressure cooker.)
- Heat the oil in a large pan and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the onions for a couple of minutes till they start softening.
- Add the chopped capsicum and cook till they soften a little.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Next, add the turmeric, freshly cracked black pepper and chilly powder and 1 teaspoon of garam masala powder. Stir well and let the spices cook off for a minute, making sure they don’t burn.
- Add the Passata and stir through. Cook this mix for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the boiled vegetables to the pan and stir through. Add a little cooking liquid (from the boiled vegetables) about 1/4 cup. Let this cook off for about 8-10 minutes. If needed, add small amounts of the vegetable stock to get the desired consistency. You don’t want it very runny, but you are looking for a loose consistency.
(Please see the recipe video below.)
- Using a potato masher, mash all the vegetables to a chunky mash consistency.
- Check for seasoning and add more salt, as needed.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala powder and stir through.
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter and stir through. Take the pan off the heat.
- Split the bread rolls in two and butter both sides and toast off lightly. The bread is best buttered and toasted just before serving, so toast as many as you intend serving immediately.
- To serve, spoon out a portion of the Bhaji, top with a knob of butter, some chopped onion and fresh coriander and some lime / lemon juice. Serve hot with the buttered and toasted bread.
- Cooking time will depend on how you boil your vegetables. It takes me about 10 minutes in my pressure cooker. Your pressure cooker may take longer or if you’re cooking it in a pot on the stove, it could take longer. Please consider this while calculating cooking time overall.
- Leftover bhaji keeps well. Reserve some of the vegetable stock in a little jar and refrigerate along with the bhaji. The next day, heat the bhaji on the stovetop. If it is too thick, add a splash of the reserved vegetable stock to get the desired consistency.
- The bread is best buttered and toasted just before serving. So toast only as many as you intend serving immediately.