Mumbai is a city garlanded with innumerable, iridescent food stalls, an ever bustling city always on the move where street food has thrived over decades and has become so famous that now Mumbai can’t be thought of without its street food. Among the array of vendors or hawkers that line up the streets of Mumbai the ones selling pao bhaji or vada pao are where the vehicle are brought to a halt for a quick nosh. I never fail to miss these whenever I make a trip to the city. Hygiene can’t be an issue whenever you are on tour especially if you have street food on your mind. So closing my eyes to it I gorge on the steaming plate of mashed, curried vegetables served with a generous scoop of Amul butter on top and pao buns or soft fluffy rolls smeared with butter at the side. Yes today I’m talking about the Mumbai Pao Bhaji….
Pao Bhaji is one of the most popular evening snacks in Mumbai. A delicious, spicy vegetable dish usually accompanied with soft pao buns soaked in butter. Making Pao bhaji in your kitchen is very easy. But whether hygienically made pao bhaji will taste as delectable as the one laden with dust, smoke and germs of the street is a debatable question. All you need are the veggies of your choice, the pao bhaji masala and of course the pao buns. I used the Everest Pao bhaji masala. The vegetables that most commonly go into a bhaji are potatoes, capsicum/ green bell pepper, cauliflower, carrots, peas, tomatoes, onions. You can add French beans also if you want.
How To Make Mumbai Style Pao Bhaji:
- 3 medium sized potatoes quartered with skin
- ½ cup fresh green peas
- ¾ cup chopped onions
- 1 small cauliflower, cut in big florets
- 2-3 carrots
- ¾ cup of chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup of chopped capsicum
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- ½ cup chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tsp Deghi mirch powder
- 3 tsp Everest pao bhaji masala
- 1 lemon
- Salt to taste
- Butter as much as you need
- White oil as per requirement
Boil or steam all the vegetables except capsicum, tomato, onion. Skin off the potatoes and keep the steamed veggies aside.
|The Steamed Vegetables|
Heat oil in a non stick wok/ kadai and add the chopped onions, fry till golden. Add the ginger garlic paste, sauté. Add the chopped tomatoes and continue to fry until pulpy. Add the chopped capsicum, powder masalas, salt and fry.
Now add the boiled veggies and mash them completely while stirring. At this point add some butter. Continue to stir for several more minutes. Add more butter if you want and if the gravy is too much dry add half a cup of water. Wait till the flavor mingles perfectly with the mashed vegetables. Turn off the flame and sprinkle chopped coriander leaves. Add a dash of lemon juice if you want.
In a non stick pan take some butter, let it melt on low heat and toast the bun lightly on all the sides with butter. Serve hot with the bhaji and a dollop of butter on top.