Winter brings winter veggies with it, specially lovely fresh green peas and for me, it the best season to make Bhaji. Dunk fresh home-made pav/pao into it and devour….what bliss!
This time I made the bhaji masala at home, thanks to my friend Shreeya Roy’s recipe. Thanks hun, the aroma of freshly roasted spices takes the bhaji to a different level altogether. Sharing Shreeya’s recipe of pao bhaji masala, and then how I make my bhaji.
The recipe for pao/pav is here on the blog. Make your own or get very fresh ones from the local bakery to enjoy this famous Bambiya street food! It is a perfect example of the beautiful culinary amalgamation of the Indian spicy bhaji and the Portugese pao.
Pao Bhaji Masala
3 black cardamoms
4 tbsp coriander seeds/sabut dhaniya
2 tbsp cumin/jeera
2 tbsp black pepper corn/sabut kali mirch
¾ tbsp fennel seeds/saunf
5 red dry chillies (Kashmiri preferably)
2 inch cinnamon/dalchini
1 tbsp dry mango powder/aamchur
2 Tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
Dry roast all the ingredients one after the other except amchur and red chilli powder powder.
Add dry mango powder and Kashmiri red chilli powder to the hot ingredients to release its aroma. Once cool, grind to make a fine powder. The masala good for 5-6 months in an airtight jar.
2-3 large potatoes, boiled and mashed
½ cup peas, fresh or frozen
3 carrots, boiled and mashed
1 medium cauliflower, boiled and mashed
2 large green peppers/capsicum, chopped fine
2 large onions chopped fine
2 Tbsp minced garlic
6-7 medium sized tomatoes (deep red and not very sour), pureed
2-3 green chillies, deseeded and chopped fine
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp oil
3 heaped tsp pao bhaji masala
1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp Kashmiri lal mirch powder
2 Tbsp butter (and more to top while serving)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup fresh coriander leaves and ½ cup onions chopped very fine to garnish
Pressure cook the potatoes and carrots and mash them well. Boil the cauliflower and mash it.
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the ginger, garlic, green chillies and onions and when the onions are light brown, add the capsicum.
Cook stirring till the onions are well browned and capsicums cooked. Add the pureed tomatoes, salt, red chilli powder and 2 tsp of pao bhaji masala.
Cook covered on low heat, stirring in between, till the oil separates.
If the peas are fresh and tender add them later after adding the mashed vegetables, else add them now.
Cook for about then minutes and then add the mashed potatoes, carrots and cauliflower. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add butter, kasmiri red chilli powder, the remaining one tsp of pao bhaji masala.Add some water if the bhaji is too thick.
Cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. Take off the heat and add lemon juice and some chopped green coriander.
To serve, heat bhaji, serve it in a bowl, top with some fresh green coriander, fine chopped raw onions and a dollop of butter. Slit pao from the middle, brown it on the griddle in some hot butter and serve along with the bhaji immediately.