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  • Pav Bhaji
    Veggie Sloppy Joe

    TOOLS: You’ll need a medium pot with a steamer insert; a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan; a spoon; a potato masher or immersion (stick) blender; and a frying pan or griddle.

    Pav means bread, while bhaji means vegetables. The story goes that street vendors in Mumbai came up with this popular street food as a lunch option for workers who wanted something lighter and faster than the traditional Indian fare. They simply mashed and spiced up vegetables and served them on buttered, toasted bread.

    • 1 heaping cup /140 g chopped carrots
    • 1 heaping cup /140 g frozen peas
    • 2 green bell peppers, diced
    • 3 tablespoons /45 g butter or vegan margarine, divided, plus more for spreading
    • 1 medium yellow or red onion, minced
    • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
    • 2–4 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and chopped
    • 3 large tomatoes, diced
    • 1 cup /240 mL water
    • 3 large russet potatoes, boiled, peeled, and mashed
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 2 tablespoons Pav Bhaji Masala, plus more for sprinkling
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • Juice of 1 small lime, divided
    • 8 hamburger buns (any kind of roll will do)
    • Chopped onion and chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
    1. In a medium pot with a steamer insert over medium–high heat, combine the carrots, peas, and bell peppers and steam for 5 to 6 minutes, until they soften. Remove from the heat and set aside.
    2. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion, garlic, and fresh chiles and cook for 2 minutes, until the onions turn opaque. Stir well.
    3. Add the tomatoes to the sauté pan and stir well to combine. Cook for 3 minutes, until they start to break down (use the back of the spoon to break them down further). Add the water and cook for 5 minutes.
    4. Add the steamed vegetables from Step 1, the potatoes, the turmeric, the Pav Bhaji Masala, the red chile powder, and the salt to the sauté pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, and use the back of the spoon to mash the ingredients slightly. Remove from the heat.
    5. Using a potato masher or immersion (stick) blender, mash the ingredients together until most of the larger vegetables are broken up. I like a little bit of texture, but that’s up to you.
    6. Return the sauté pan to medium–high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and ¾ of the lime juice and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered.
    7. Slice each of the buns in half and on each half, spread the butter and sprinkle with the Pav Bhaji Masala. Place each half on a frying pan or griddle and toast them until they are lightly browned. Repeat until all the bun halves are toasted.
    8. Place about ½ cup / 120 mL of the bhaji on the flatter side of each bun, making 16 open-faced sandwiches. Place the open-faced sandwiches on a very large serving platter. Garnish each with the chopped onion and cilantro and sprinkle the remaining lime juice over each. Serve immediately.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

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