My mother makes a very good pao bhaji from scratch. This is her recipe and it does not use any commercially available masalas. Pao Bhaji is more popular with mashed vegetables but is even made with pieces of vegetables (khada pav bhaji). You could also try this recipe with cut vegetables and in such case can also use cauliflower with the other vegetables.
Serves: 6 to 8 Persons
Prep. Time: 15 to 20 Mins.
Cooking Time: 55 to 60 Mins.
For the Masala:
- Kashmiri Dry Red Chillies (deseeded) – 10
- Ginger – ½ inch
- Garlic – 12 to 14 small cloves
- Jeera [Cumin] – 1 tsp.
Step 1: Soak the deseeded chillies in ¼ cup warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. After the chillies are soaked grind them along with the other ingredients to a fine paste.
Vegetables (600 gms.):
- Peas (frozen) – ¼ cup
- Potatoes (peeled and chopped into big pieces) – 4 medium
- Carrot (peeled and chopped) – 1 big
- Salt – 1 tsp.
Step 2: Blanch the peas and keep aside. Take the carrot and potatoes in a pressure cooker and add 1 ½ cup water, 1 tsp. salt and pressure cook on high heat till one whistle. Then turn the heat to low and cook for a further 2 whistles. Thereafter, open the pressure cooker and remove the vegetables in a bowl, mash them and keep aside.
- Onions (finely chopped) – 3 to 4 medium
- Capsicums (finely chopped) – 2 small
- Tomatoes (peeled and finely chopped) – 4 medium
- Stock Cube – 1 small
- Oil – 3 tbsp.
- Butter – 2 tbsp. – as needed for serving
- Lime (Wedges) – as needed for serving
- Onion (finely Chopped) – as needed for serving
- Salt – ½ tsp.
Step 3: Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onions with ½ tsp. salt on low heat for 12 to 15 minutes till they turn translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook on low heat for another 10 minutes.
Step 4: Once the tomatoes are cooked, add the chopped capsicum and blanched peas. Next add the ground masala and sauté on low heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Add 2 tbsp. butter and cook covered on low heat for 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in between.
Step 5: Finally add the mashed vegetables (or the vegetable pieces), stock cube and ½ cup warm water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Serve garnished with a tsp of butter (more the butter, better the taste) and lime, finely chopped onion and buttered pao.
- To make buttered pao, heat a 1 tsp. of butter on a griddle. Slit 2 paos, open and place the 2 paos on the butter and lightly toast them on both sides.