PAV BHAJI RECIPE // tasty indian chaat
Wow this blog post is delayed! S and I made this meal for our New Year's Eve dinner and we were very pleased with ourselves because it combines some of our favorite foods from our childhoods.

FROM ME: Challah, a fluffy egg bread typically served on Jewish holidays. My parents are great at making it for pretty much any occasion (New Year's Eve, birthdays, Thursdays, etc.). I want to start making it from scratch, but I'm not going to lie, that would be very dangerous since I can basically eat an entire loaf in one sitting!

FROM S: Pav bhaji, a delicious type of Indian chaat (snack food often served by roadside vendors) that conveniently is usually served with buttered and toasted hamburger buns...which we were pretty confident we could substitute with fluffy challah bread. Probably one of our better ideas yet.

Recipe adapted from Manjula's Kitchen (a great resource for Indian recipes, with awesome instructional videos) and Sanjeev Kapoor

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup finely chopped cauliflower
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbs sliced ginger
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped then blended (literally -- this should basically be soupy)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • Challah, hamburger buns, or other soft and fluffy bread 
  • Optional toppings: fresh cilantro leaves, sliced raw onion, lemon slices
There are probably two main ways of cooking this dish: either using a pressure cooker to more quickly cook the onion and tomato mixture, or sauteeing the dish in a pan until fully cooked. S and I are big advocates of using pressure cookers in Indian cooking, since it saves so much time. 
  1. Boil potatoes and cauliflower in about 1 cup of water -- just enough to cover them. When soft and fully cooked, drain the vegetables, let cool, and mash in a bowl until smooth.
  2. In a food processor, grind the onions into a paste and set aside. Similarly, grind the garlic and ginger together into a paste, keeping them separate from the onions.
  3. Heal olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions until clear and soft. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions and continue cooking until softened. Add the tomatoes, red chili powder, and turmeric to the mix and continue sautéing for about 5 more minutes. 
  4. Add the mashed potatoes and cauliflower to the onions and tomatoes and stir well. Add salt and 1/2 cup water as needed to keep the mixture from drying up.
  5. At this point you have two options: put the entire mixture in a pressure cooker, add a bit more water, and let the mixture pressure until the first whistle, or continue sauteeing and adding water as needed until the acidity of the onions and tomatoes is lessened and the mixture tastes more sweet.
  6. Once the vegetables are fully cooked, remove from heat and stir in garam masala and lemon juice.
  7. Serve hot with your bread of choice (traditional is hamburger buns toasted with butter) and top with cilantro, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkle of onion.
Let me know if you have any questions about the recipe -- I initially found Indian cooking to be pretty intimidating until I got the hang of it. The good news is that this recipe uses the same onion-tomato-spices mixture that a ton of other Indian recipes use, so you can adapt to make a lot of other dishes!

Do you have any special recipes from childhood that you always come back to?

xo Diana
Topics: recipes
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