Busy bee – Pau Bhaji

Its been a busy and hectic week as MilkyBar had an extra makeup Maths class and we have both been a little under the weather. It has been alternating between raining and sunny so it’s no wonder that people have been falling sick.

On top of that, MilkyBar hurt his foot during class and now he has a bruised big toe. Poor thing was limping! (although I suspect that he is playing it up as well – my little drama king).

Anyway, made a really delicious all vegetarian dinner 2 nights ago –Pau Bhaji.  Pau Bhaji is a vegetarian street food sold around India. It consists of hot buttered buns (the Pau), eaten with vegetables cooked in a tomatoey gravy (the Bhaji), and topped with lemony onions. Utterly delicious, it is a great dish to make at home as it is healthy, fast and relatively cheap.

My home version is made healthier by using wholemeal buns, less butter and steaming the vegetables instead of boiling them. The key to this dish is to make sure to serve the paus hot and crispy, and that the bhaji is hot and fresh with plenty of lemon and onions.

Toasted buttered buns, hot bhaji and lemony crunchy onions

Toasted buttered buns, hot bhaji and lemony crunchy onions

Pau Bhaji (adapted from Tarla Dalal’s Pav Bhaji Chaat recipe)

For the paus:

Hamburger buns/wholemeal buns (or something similiar)
Softened butter

For the bhaji:

1 1/2 cups potatoes (diced), 1/2 cup cauliflower florets (chopped), 1/2 cup green beans (chopped), 1/2 cup carrots (chopped) – steamed in a little water in the microwave til tender and then mashed roughly
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup green peppers (finely chopped)
1/2 cup onions (finely chopped)
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 1/2 tbsp pau bhaji masala (I use National brand)

For the garnish:

Mix 1/2 cup onions (finely diced) with 2 green chillies (finely chopped) and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Leave til ready to serve.
Chopped coriander leaves
Lemon wedges

Method for the bhaji:

Heat the butter in a large pan, add the onion and capsicum and sauté for 2 minutes. Then, add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté till the onion softens. Add the tomatoes and simmer till the oil separates. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, pav bhaji masala and salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add all the vegetables and mash thoroughly,  adding ½ cup of water if required.
To serve, slice each pav into 2 horizontally. Apply a little butter to each side and sprinkle with a little pav bhaji masala, if desired. Heat a large pan and cook the pav on both sides till the pieces are lightly browned.

To serve, place the hot bhaji on individual plates and top with the onion and coriander. Serve with the hot paus and lemon wedges.

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