Perfect ‘Treat Day’ Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji is a recipe from the state of Maharashtra in India. The clue as to what the dish contains actually is in its name: pav (pronounced pa-o) means bread and bhaji (b-ha-dji) means vegetables, which in the case of this dish are mashed together.

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Butter, cheese, potatoes and bread make this a rather indulgent plate of food – a real treat for a cold lazy day!

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RECIPE

Type: Vegetarian (can be made Vegan by using Vegan cheese)

Approx. Preparation time: 20 mins

Approx. Cooking time: 20 mins

Serves: 3 to 4 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium size potatoes
  • Half of a medium size Cauliflower (or one small cauliflower)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 cup of green peas (you can use frozen peas)
  • 5 medium size tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • A handful of fresh coriander
  • Half of a lemon or lime
  • 2 burger buns per person, although you can serve more or less than that of course!
  • 200g grated cheese (either mature cheddar or Emmental)
  • Optional – 1 to 2 teaspoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • 3 generous teaspoons of Pav bhaji masala spice mix (see pictures above)
  • A generous teaspoon of salt

PREPARATION STEPS

Potatoes:

  1. Boil the potatoes (unpeeled) until they are soft – using a pressure cooker for this step will speed things up
  2. Once the potatoes are boiled, peel them – they will be easier to peel once they are boiled than when they are raw
  3. Roughly chop the potatoes

Other Veggies:

  1. Cut the cauliflower and pepper in medium to small chunks – it doesn’t matter what size they are, as eventually they will be mashed, but the smaller the chunks, the faster they will cook
  2. Put the cauliflower, pepper and green peas in a large pot with a generous pinch of salt and one cup of water. Put on high heat and cover with a lid. Leave to cook for 10 to 12 mins or until the vegetables are cooked – they should be soft
  3. Chop the tomatoes in small cubes and set aside
  4. Finely chop the onion and the coriander, add them to a bowl and mix together well – set this aside

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COOKING STEPS

  1. Heat two tablespoons of oil on high heat in a large wok or nonstick pan
  2. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes to the wok, then add the cauliflower, pepper and peas. Add the tomatoes on top, and mix well.
  3. Add the masala and salt and mix thoroughly
  4. Mash everything together (using a potato masher), whilst keeping the pan on the heat
  5. Keep stirring regularly to prevent the bhaji from burning
  6. At this stage, taste the mixture and add masala and salt as need
  7. Keep the wok on the heat, stirring regularlyIMG_0742
  8. Put some water to boil in a kettle or small pan
  9. Add a cup of freshly boiled water to the wok and mash again. The ideal consistency is that of rough mash: thick, and slightly rough and grainy
  10. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly
  11. Keep mashing until you get the desired consistency
  12. Optional – When the consistency is right, add the butter and mix well. This is optional: just like in potato mash, adding butter will give it a slightly creamier texture
  13. Take the bhaji off the heat
  14. Cut the buns lengthways
  15. Optional – slightly butter all sides of the bun slices and put them on a hot pan, to toast them on all sides. Alternatively you can skip the butter, and simply pop the bun slices in a toaster
  16. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon or lime on the onion and coriander mix
  17. Serve the vegetable mix hot, topped with grated cheese, with a warm bun and a side of the onion and coriander mix

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