“Methi Pav Bhaji” …… Pav Bhaji is Mumbai’s Original Fast Food, a quick spicy snack available on every street corner ...... Almost every Mumbaikar enjoys this dish with relish ........ be it at home, parties, events or just on beaches or street corners ........
Say Pav Bhaji and instantly Mumbai especially Chowpatty beach comes to mind. Pav bhaji is a dish consisting of a mixture of vegetables cooked ~ mashed and prepared adding spices into a thick textured bhaji / curry ……. Served with soft “Pav” another specialty of bread from Mumbai. Long time back Mumbai Chowpatty Beach at Girgaum was the most famous place for Pav Bhaji and Paani Poori … Now however, it is available at every street corner and in most places in India. Another famous place for the same was Bandra Elco Market, Gateway of India and Juhu Beach in Mumbai ….. there are many more, but I am not that well versed with the layouts of places where we get them, staying in outskirts of Mumbai.
Also my family always preferred things to be cooked at home than eating them on roadsides. Therefore, I had to do it on my own, learning from friends and taking advice here and there. Those days there was neither facebook nor internet. I had access only to loads of cookery books, my prized possession that I still have and refer too. As years passed, I have learned to take short cuts in preparing this dish instead of the laborious method, which many people follow to date. There is absolutely no difference what so ever if you pressure cook all vegetables in one go. I still do not know if all the veggies are to be mashed why they are separately cooked. So, here is my very own simple and fast method of preparation of pav bhaji. Here I have given it a healthy twist with the addition of fresh Methi / Frenugreek leaves ...... Yumz ….. Too Good ….. Badiya Hey …….
Peel and chop finely 2-3 large sized onions.
Peel and chop finely about 15-20 large sized garlic.
Pick up only the fresh Methi / Fenugreek leaves, discard the stem portion. Chop and wash in plenty of water the methi / fenugreek leaves. Squeeze out all of the water well. Keep this ready aside. You will need about 2 cups of the leaves.
Wash and chop the finely about 250 gms of cauliflower.
Wash and chop about 3-4 medium sized capsicums finely too.
Wash and chop about 10-12 tomatoes to small pieces.
Peel the skin, and chop 5 large sized potatoes, wash in plenty of water.
Shell, wash, drain and keep ready about 2 cups of green peas.
In a pressure cooker pan add in the cauliflower, capsicums, potatoes, green peas, methi leaves, tomatoes. Add in 2 cups of water and cover with the lid. Pressure cook on medium heat till 3-4 whistles. Remove and keep it aside to cool. Once the pressure drops gently open the lid and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Now with the help of a potato masher keep mashing all the ingredients together till they are mashed properly and and mixed well.
In a large thick bottomed kadai, add in ½ cup of ghee / butter, when hot add in the garlic and fry till its slightly brownish, now add ½ tsp of red kashmiri chilly powder, ¼ tsp of pav bhaji masala powder, fry for a minute or two. Add in the onions and fry till they are translucent / pinkish in colour. Continue frying for another 2-3 minutes and then add in the cooked and mashed veggies and mix well.
Now add in 2 tsp of kashmiri red chilly powder and 2 tblsp of pav bhaji masala powder (any brand available in the market will do. I used Everest). Mix well till all are evenly mixed. If too thick add in some water to the same. Add salt to taste and about 100 gms of Amul butter and mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Now lower the heat and simmer the bhaji for a good 15-20 minutes. Keep stirring and if thickens too much add in water at intervals.
Pav Bhaji is ready and done. Serve pav bhaji hot with a blob of Amul Butter (or any of your choice), some finely chopped onion and a piece of lemon wedge. This bhaji is usually served with Pav a soft bread very famous in Mumbai, though now it is available in most of the metro cities. In case it is not available in your vicinity you can serve this with bread or non sweat bun or any garlic bread etc. available. Addition of fresh methi leaves is a twist I have given here, you may leave it out if not desired in which case do add in about a cup of freshly chopped coriander leaves. In northern parts of India kasoori methi is added which is dried methi leaves. You may choose anyway. But do try it out with fresh methi leaves as it is both good for health and tastes yummy too.