Monday, June 30, 2014

Pav Bhaji, A Story About Mumbai Monsoons

A day in Mumbai is hot and humid, a day in Mumbai is busy- everything and everyone around is running-no one stops or pauses. But if you have experienced Mumbai monsoons then there is no place like it. That day I was in bad mood, I just thought I am the most unlucky one and mind was engulfed with all kinds of negativity. I locked myself in a room and asked my husband to leave me alone. I sat by a window, engrossed deeply in thoughts and suddenly I felt sprinkles of rain on my face, the wind blew by hair and I closed my eyes to feel it. The longer I sat there the more I purified my mind, my thoughts and my soul...With showers of rain, the magic of monsoons I found my inner peace. I was satisfied with what I had, I was thankful to God for what he had bestowed on me, I took a deep breath of positivity, and finally I wiped tears off my cheeks and smiled. I opened the door of the room and hugged my husband - the storm in me was now quite and calm.

That day I learnt- some people come in your life as blessings and some come as lessons. My husband’s love and care is what I am blessed with and I will always nourish it. That day we decided to celebrate the spirit of Mumbai monsoons- that life need not be so dry, that there are good days and bad days. We took the umbrella and wandered on the streets of Mumbai and there he was the- Pav Bhaji vendor.  We both knew that there could be no other way of rejoicing that moment but to enjoy the most beloved street food of Mumbai. Half wet, we bit into the scoops of garlicy spicy Bhaji with buttery Pav. So that was my very first experience with Mumbai monsoons- today I don't even remember what made me so sad that day, all I memorize is good food, rains and my partner.

Sunday it rained in London, even though it was not heavenly like the one in Mumbai, I somewhat felt same. As I stood in the balcony, Mr. Husband came from behind and said- Pav Bhaji banaye (lets make Pav Bhaji) and I grinned with the flashback of memories.  Those of you don’t know, Bhaji is a spicy vegetable mash served with a couple of yeasty pull apart rolls along with chopped onions and lemon wedges. There are hundreds if not thousands way of making it and no particular way is right or wrong, but I do believe that slow cooking is must here. The more you cook the massalas with veggies, garlic and onions on a slow flame, the better it will be.  Another thing, please skip the spoon, just lick the fingers- trust me it is one huge satisfaction.

4 large potatoes/ aloo
1/2 cauliflower/ phool gobi
1 capsicum/shimla mirch
2 carrots/gajar
1 cup peas/mutter
1 large onion/pyaz
5 cloves of garlic/lehsun
5 tomatoes chopped fine
2 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoons of pav bhaji massala (see notes)
1 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch
1/4 cup of chopped coriander leaves/dhaniya
Bread/Pav to serve with

Peal potatoes and chop in quaters. Also chop cauliflower, carrots and capsicum. Boil all the chopped vegetables and peas with 1 cup of water for 2 whistles in a pressure cooker.
In the grinder, grind together onion and garlic to fine paste.
Heat oil in a wok/kadai. When hot add in onion garlic paste. On a medium heat cook till there is no raw smell.
Next add in chopped tomatoes, pav bhaji massala, red chilli powder, salt and 1 cup of water. Cover and cook till 10 minutes on a slow flame. After 10 minutes stir, cover and cook again for 5 minutes. You must be able to see that oil has separated and water has evaporated.
To it add the boiled vegetables. With the help of masher, mash the veggies.  Add 2 cups of water cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook for next 5 minutes.
Mix in copped coriander leaves.
Serve hot with warm toasted Pav and chopped onions and lemon wedges.

Pav bhaji massala is available in all the Indian grocery stores. I used MDH brand.
Add in or omit any vegetable as per your wants.
You can also grate onion and garlic instead of grinding it.
Slit the pav/bread in between and toast both the sides on tava/pan before serving. If you can't find pav, use burger breads.


  1. Looks so perfect and delicious! Loved the recipe :)

  2. Bombay rain is magic, yeha vo baat kaha. Perfect mood setter.

  3. Pav bhaji one of my to have it any time.Nice presentation.

  4. lovely write up of a lovely dish..
    pls do visit me...

    1. When someone likes my write up, i become soooooooooo happy..Thanks for reading:)

  5. Pav bhaji looks mouthwatering...rightly said there's magic in mumbai monsoon..Just waiting for it eagerly...

  6. Rains in India are always on the extreme side - either they leave you happy and joyous or they simply annoy you to the height of terror. I have had similar experience too in Delhi, or shall I say "experiences"..

    Anyway- enjoy the light showers till they last here Shweta :) .. Wont be staying for long :)

  7. Drooling pics........ Pav bhaji with butter, looks yummm!!

    1. oh yes bhaji without butter is NO NO :) thanks

  8. it looks very tempting n nice pics dear

  9. Pav bhaji looks mouthwatering... would love to finish off the entire platter!!! Nice clicks...

  10. Omg this bhaji reminds me of my good old hostel days where we used to have the strret side food wthout any restrictions from parents..pav bhaji is one of my most fav personal choices and love it to the core!

    Nature is the best when it comes to healing your soul.Am happy you got that heart to njoy the rain ...


    1. i agree with you, nature has some magic:) Thats why i said i dont think there is any indian who doesnt like pav bhaji :)

  11. nice writeup and super tempting pav bhaji's.


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