Attempting to make Indian Pav Bhaji from scratch at home after eating it in India went better than expected! It is jam-packed with flavor and super buttery. Obviously nothing will beat the real deal in India, but for at home, this will do! I adapted this recipe from two of my favorite Indian recipe sites @swasthisrecipes and @dassanasvegrecipes!
For the Curry:
- 2 large potatoes peeled and chopped
- 1/2 head of cauliflower 1-1.5 cups
- 1 large carrot chopped
- 1 stick butter
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 large red onion chopped
- Kosher salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon grated garlic
- 1 medium green pepper chopped
- 1 green chili chopped
- 3 large tomatoes chopped
- ½ cup green peas fresh or frozen
- 2 cups water
For the Masala
- 6 cloves
- 1 small nutmeg
- 2 star anise
- 2 indian bay leaves
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 6 dried kashmiri chilis seeds removed
- 4 black cardamom pods
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
For the Pav:
- 12 pack of seedless burger buns or Pav buns
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 teaspoon masala mixture
- 1 small bunch cilantro chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 small red onion finely chopped
- 1 lemon cut into 6 wedges
- Bring a large pot of water to boil then add in the potatoes, cauliflower, and carrot. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until very tender. Pour into a strainer and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add cloves, nutmeg, star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, kashmiri chilis, and cardamom pods. Toast, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning, for about 10 minutes, until deeply fragrant and darkened in spots.
- Transfer to a high powered blender or spice grinder.
- In the same pan, add cumin, coriander, black peppercorns, and fennel. Toast, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning, for about 10 minutes, until deeply fragrant and darkened in spots.
- Transfer to same blender or spice grinder.
- Blend or grind on high to a very fine powder, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter and vegetable oil over medium low heat. Add onion and bell pepper, season with kosher salt, and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Increase heat to medium, and add tomato paste. Fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until a dark, brick red color. Add ginger, garlic, and 2 tablespoons masala mix, then continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and garlic begins to turn golden at the edges. Add tomatoes and chili, and saute for 10 minutes, stirring often, or until everything is very soft and tomatoes have released their juices. Add peas and cooked vegetable mixture, followed by water. Mash vegetables together into a homogenous mixture. Season with 2 more tablespoons of masala, kashmiri chili powder, and turmeric, then bring mixture to a simmer over medium high heat, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
- Once ready to eat, melt a tablespoon of butter in a small pan over medium low heat. Sprinkle some masala over the butter. Place a bun with the inside down in the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Melt remaining ½ stick butter.
- Add about ½ cup of the bhaji to bowls, top with a tablespoon of melted butter, and serve with toasted buns, cilantro, onion, and lemon wedges on the side.