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Pav bhaji

This is a really simple and warming street dish that I first discovered from a vendor on a cool evening on London’s embankment by the river.  I’d never heard of it before but it’s a really healthy meal and a delicious vegetarian dish to boot.

I’ll begin with my usual disclaimer that this isn’t for the purists (although because of the nature of pav bhaji there seems to be quite a lot of leeway in terms of what ingredients you can use) but the one thing I have struggled to source locally is the pav bhaji masala powder, which is a key ingredient.

I have used plain old (!) garam masala in its place and didn’t notice any seismic difference in taste from the one I enjoyed, although I’m sure a more sophisticated and experienced palette would notice the difference immediately!

More importantly, and this is the part of the recipe that will probably offend everyone, this is served with rolls of bread (the owner at my local specialist store where I buy most of my spices tells me that the pav refers to the rolls).  Because I had some to hand, I toasted some brioche buns and everyone agreed that they preferred the curry dish on the sweet, buttery brioche than the plain white rolls (although it was still delicious on the latter!)  So, that’s my accidental fusion version of pav bhaji!

 

Ingredients

Method

Bring a small pan of salted water to the boil and cook the potatoes until tender.  Drain, mash and set aside.

In a large pan, heat the oil.   Blitz the onion, carrot and green chilli in a processor and then add to the pan.  Cook until the veg is tender – about five to seven minutes.

Add the ginger-garlic paste, tomato puree, turmeric, chilli powder and garam masala and stir and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the tomatoes and keep cooking and stirring until they’ve completely broken down.

Add the chickpeas, green pepper, frozen peas along with the mashed potatoes and 200ml of boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the kasuri methi and lemon juice and give a good stir, cooking for another minute or two or until you have a lovely thick consistency.

Add a generous amount of coriander and serve with your rolls.