Mumbai is synonymous with pav bhaji. Almost every street has a vendor who sells the lusciously red, spicy bhaji with generously buttered pav. The food stalls of Juhu beach with an array of appetising smells and sights are a gastronomical treat in themselves, and the Pav bhaji they serve are absolutely, wonderfully the best.
Do you see where all this is leading?
I decided to make bhaji and stuff that into the pav. I did warn you that it is a mad idea, didn't I? But I assure you it is excellent madness and madness that will be repeated henceforth in my home because the end product turned out to be surprisingly good.
What you need:
For the bun/pav:
Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Yeast - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Vegetable shortening/vanaspati - 3 tbsp (can be substituted with butter)
Milk - 2/3 cup
Curd - 1 tbsp
Water - 1/3 cup(start with a little less and then add only as much as needed to make a dough)
If using active dry yeast, proof it by dissolving it in 1/4 cup of water to which 1/2 tsp sugar has been added and let it stand covered until frothy. I used active yeast.
Take the flour in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Add all the ingredients except water and mix well. If needed, add water, little by little and knead to a smooth, pliable dough. Cover and set aside until it doubles in volume.
For the stuffing:
Potato - 1, peeled and chopped into large chunks
Carrot - 1, chopped coarsely
Green peas - a handful
Onion - 1, chopped fine
Tomato - 1, chopped fine
Green chilli - 3, minced
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Pav bhaji masala - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Chopped corriander leaves
Microwave the potato, carrot and green peas with just enough water to cover them until cooked. Mash well with a potato masher and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the green chillies, ginger garlic paste and onions and saute till onions are lightly browned. Add turmeric powder, salt and chopped tomatoes. Cook till most of the moisture from the tomatoes evaporates. Add the mashed vegetables, pav bhaji masala and chopped corriander leaves. Continue to stir on a low flame until all the moisture evaporates and the bhaji thickens.
To make the stuffed buns:
Preheat oven to 175 degrees centigrade.
Divide the dough into 8 parts. Roll them into balls. Pat out into a thick circle using your palm and fingers. Place a little bit of the filling inside it, close it again and smoothen. Keep it covered under a wet cloth for 20 minutes. Brush some milk over each bun and sprinkle some sesame seeds over them. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the top is well browned.
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