Pav Bhaji (without Potatoes)

Hmmm... What is Pav Bhaji doing on Kannadacuisine? I was actually thinking if I should post this recipe at all. Well there is nothing Kannada about Pav-Bhaji, but then there is nothing Kannada about Rasmalai or Dum Aloo either. But Rasmalai and Dum Aloo was cooked by me, a thorough bred Kannadiga. Well, if Rasmalai can make an appearance on Kannadacuisine, Pav Bhaji can very well. So there we go.

Pav Bhaji presented a peculiar problem in my Kannadiga kitchen. For starters, potato is a huge star here and we Kannadigas particularly the older generation have always been suspicious of potatoes. My grand mother never ate them and hardly cooked them because they were 'Vata' inducing and therefore bad for her arthritic knees. But for the occasional  Masale Dose or Aloogadde Bele Huli, potatoes were pretty much banned in her house and mine as well :)
For some reason, the worm in my mind tells me that my gut is not meant to digest potatoes. The fact that Sabarmati Hostel mess in JNU goaded a truck load of potatoes down my throat in the four years I was a resident does not do any good to my already shaky relationship with potatoes. So I had to eliminate potatoes from this recipe.

The second peculiar problem was the Pav itself. Bread back home is associated with fever! Though my more progressive English-minded father preferred to have his bread with eggs and butter, bread largely meant that some one was under the weather. So I had to make it a little more interesting on that ground as well.

The third peculiar problem was to balance the 'bread' factor with loads of vegetables in the Bhaji.
After putting all these problems in the pot and stirring my magic wand, I had ..... bingo Pav Bhaji on my tables. So here it goes.

 We will need,

Cauliflower florets 2 cups
Carrot 1 big chopped
Green Beans a generous handful chopped
(Optional, Zucchini, Peas, Bell Peppers :Vegetables in all about 4 cups chopped)

For the Masala:
Ghee 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Hing a generous dash +a generous dash

Onion 1 medium minced
Chilly Powder 1/2 tsp (adjust according to taste)
Dhania powder 1.5 tsp
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Jeera Powder 1 tsp
Garlic powder a generous pinch
Amchoor Powder 1 tsp
Tomatoes 3 medium chopped
Salt to taste
Sugar a 1 tsp

To Serve :
Fresh butter
Bread of choice (I used Italian onion bread just to make it a little more interesting)
Lemon wedges and chopped onion

  • Wash all the vegetables in running water and drain well. Place them in a pressure cooker along with a dash of Hing and 3/4 cup water. Cook till the vegetables are tender. (One whistle on my Pressure Cooker) Set it aside.
  • Heat the ghee in a Kadai. Throw in the mustard and Hing. Once they stop spluttering, throw in minced onion. Saute till golden brown.
  •  Throw in all the spice powders and saute for a brief 15 seconds. Throw in the tomatoes. Stir well and cover. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook till the masala is fragrant. 
  • Meantime, when the pressure cooker is cool enough to open, remove the cooked vegetables into a wide mouth bowl and mash it with a wooden spoon /Masher.
  • Pour the vegetable cooking stock into the masala and stir in the mashed vegetables into the masala as well. Adjust salt and sugar. Simmer and mash till the dish comes together. Finish with a big dollop of butter though entirely optional.
  • Serve with lemon wedges, chopped onion and bread of choice

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