Pav Bhaji: After a fashion

Mallika Basu - Pav Bhaji: After a fashion

Posted 15th May 2008

I’ve been hooked on a riveting BBC3 series lately.

It’s a simple idea. Take a bunch of asinine kids hooked on cheap throwaway fashion. Subject them to the reality of the Indian apparel manufacture industry. And watch them recoil at the horror of having to work 14-hour shifts, in dingy factories alongside child labourers.

When they end up in the dark alleyways of Mumbai, one of the kids remarks on what a service they are doing by buying the cheap clothes in the first place – providing jobs to these workers.

No shit, Einstein!

Consider this. Never mind ethical labelling. Buy what clothes should actually cost and give the workers half a chance. For every £3 bargain basement top, somebody is paying the price!

Something to mull over while I bite into this Mumbai street food classic Pav Bhaji, a moreish vegetable curry served with buttered bread rolls, fresh coriander, onions and liberally doused with lemon juice.

Much as I hate using ready mixed recipe masalas, the Pav Bhaji one calls for 15 masalas to source, roast and grind. Stick to the ready stuff from ethnic shops and save the time for something more worthy instead.

Feeds 4:

2 medium potatoes
1 large carrot
15-20 green beans
Handful of peas
2 medium onions
2 garlic cloves
Half inch ginger
2 medium tomatoes
3 tsp Pav Bhaji masala
2 lemon wedges
4 white bread rolls/baps
Handful of fresh coriander
2 tbsp sunflower oil
4 tsp butter
Salt to taste

First make the bhaji or curry.

Peel and chop the raw carrots, potatoes and tomatoes into small bite sized pieces. Cut the ends off the green beans and slice into one-centimetre long pieces. Chop one onion, the ginger and garlic into little pieces.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil until sizzling. Fry the onion, ginger and garlic on a high flame for two minutes until brown all over. Chuck in the potatoes, carrots and tomatoes and stir for a minute .

Now add the Pav Bhaji masala powder, enough hot water to submerge the veg, cover and cook for five minutes until the potatoes are translucent at the edges but still uncooked.

At this stage, mix in the raw beans and peas, mix well, re-cover and keep cooking until the potatoes fall apart when probed with a fork. Add salt to taste and mash the vegetables roughly. The dish should have a moist, thick gravy.

Now prepare the Pav or bread. On another frying pan or flat griddle pan, heat one teaspoon of butter. Cut the bread rolls into half and toast lightly on the inside.

Serve the bhaji hot with the buttered bread, fresh coriander, lemon wedges and a sprinkling of chopped onion.

PS = Many make this with pre-cooked veggies. But you know how much I hate adding an extra level of effort when it comes to pre-cooking.

PPS = Saying that, this is a great way to use leftover steamed veggies. Just make the onion and tomato curry base and mix in the veg.

Comments are closed.