There are a few food items that are synonymous with Mumbai nee Bombay and one of them is the Pav Bhaji. Juhu beach is thought to have the best Pav Bhaji in Mumbai. But there are some restaurants in Mumbai that make awesome Pav Bhaji too and each has a fan following of its own. The aroma wafting from the huge tawa where the guy mashes in the vegetables and a unique mixture of spices (that's what defines the unique Pav Bhaji taste) with some coriander leaves thrown in, is enough to entice anyone to have a plate of pav bhaji. On one side of the same tawa, soft pav is quickly toasted with Amul butter and this is slid on to a plate with some bhaji topped with butter, coriander leaves and chopped onion. Plates and plates of Pav Bhaji are thus taken to the hordes of people waiting for it. Some of the famous Pav Bhaji restaurants that I have visited or heard of in Mumbai are Cannon Pav Bhaji - opposite the CST station, Sardar Pav Bhaji - Tardeo, Amar Juice Center - Haji Ali, Shiv Sagar - Parle (E) & Juhu & Gurukripa - Sion.
Pav Bhaji is one of the things I miss here in Delhi, in fact I believe Delhi has not yet got the pav right. So each time, my husband or I visit Mumbai, we return with a dozen pav and the next day is a Pav Bhaji day at home. I use the Everest Pav Bhaji Masala and always get complimented for the bhaji. In fact, the recipe given on the back of the packet can be followed completely to make some awesome bhaji. My recipe -
Vegetables - 3 packed cups, cleaned, cut into pieces
Onion - 1 large, chopped
Garlic - 4 cloves, chopped
Tomato - 2 medium, chopped
Everest Pav Bhaji masala pwd - 2 tbsp
Red Chilli pwd - 2 tsp
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1 tsp, chopped
Butter - 1 tbsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Sugar - a pinch
Onion - 1 small, chopped
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp, chopped
Butter - as much as you like
The vegetables I take for the bhaji are potato, cauliflower, beans, green peas, carrots and capsicum. Potatoes should be half of the total quantity of vegetables and the rest should be made up of the other vegetables. Capsicum gives an aroma to this dish hence make sure to add some.
In a pressure cooker, cook the vegetables with half cup water, a little salt and turmeric powder. When cooked, mash the vegetables to a rough paste and keep aside. Use a hand mixer to mash quickly
Heat a kadhai with the oil and half the butter, when hot add the onion and sauté. After a minute add the chopped garlic and sauté till the raw smell goes. Add the pav bhaji masala powder and roast for a minute. Then add the red chilli powder, tomatoes and salt and sauté. Let the tomatoes soften completely, then add the mashed vegetables and mix completely. Add a little water to make a smooth paste and let cook. Check for salt. If the bhaji has less masala powder then add some and let it cook for a minute for some time. Add a pinch of sugar to round off the taste. Top with coriander leaves and rest of the butter and keep covered.
Slit the pav in the middle and apply some butter on both sides. Heat a pan, and roast the pav on both sides.
To serve, spoon some bhaji, top it with a blob of butter, sprinkle some coriander leaves and some chopped onion, then add a butter roasted pav and the Pav Bhaji is ready to be served. Keep some nimbu on the side to add that extra tang.