Monday, May 21, 2007

Pav Bhaji

A long, long time ago, before the construction of the architectural eyesore that is the Z bridge that links Junglee Maharaj Road to Narayan Peth, there used to be a cute little cause way. It may have been 12 feet in width, open only to two-wheelers and if you were lucky, not underwater. At the J M Road side of the cause way was the rear end of another extinct Pune landmark, Natraj Talkies (Cinema Theatre). Just outside the gate were two nameless sheds that made the most awesome Pav Bhaji I have ever eaten. It was as close as it gets to a drive-in in Pune. It was all pretty simple. You ride your vehicle as close to the stall as possible. The man behind the 'Tawa' would look at you. You would make eye contact and with a show of fingers suggest the quantity of your order. There were also some unmentionable ways to indicate how spicy you wanted your food to be— and it involved fingers. But let's not get into that. Soon the order would arrive via a waiter, usually an over-confident barefoot genius who served you your pav bhaji, water from a questionable source and side of home grown wisdom disguised as wit. Drinking the water at stalls in Pune is always a gamble and the tension of how it will react with your body always looms till next morning. As a child I have fond memories of staining the bonnet of my mother's Fiat with some really hot Pav Bhaji. With the modernization of Pune city, the foods of my childhood are fast disappearing. The taste however, still lingers in my mouth like it were yesterday.

3 Large Potatoes (boiled and finely chopped)
2 Tomatoes (finely chopped)
2 Large Onions ( finely chopped)
1 Capsicum (Green Bell Pepper) finely chopped
3/4 cup Green Peas
1/2 cup chopped Cauliflower
2 tbsp Chili
1 tbsp crushed Garlic
1 Tbsp Crushed Ginger
1 tbsp Turmeric
3 tbsp Badshah® Pav Bhaji Masala
1 cup Butter
1 1/2 tsp Salt

Heat a large pot and add the butter, ginger and garlic
When the ginger and garlic start to sizzle add chopped onion
Stir till onion turns translucent and brown on the edges
Add tomato and stir for 5 min
Add green peas and capsicum and potato and mix well
Add chili, turmeric and pav bhaji masala and mix well
A 2 cups water and allow to cook for 10 min
With a masher start mashing the contents till it becomes a coarse paste
Continue cooking for another 10 min
Serve with Pav Bhaji Buns (or buttered dinner rolls)