Friday, August 24, 2012

Pav Bhaji- Indian Street Food

While out doing my poetry at a local Princeton Open Mic, location Infini-T, a tea and Asian food inspired tea house and market- I had the most wonderful snack Pav Bhaji (pronounced Paav Ba-gee). It is served in places like Bombay as a street food.

Indian locals are seen out around an area Chowpatty Beach, India often at midnight looking for something to eat like crispy Dosai, Chaat, Kulfis and this dish- Pav Bhaji.

I read that there are a few places famous for this dish originally created as a light food for mill workers so that they do not return to their physical work sluggish from heavy meat infushed meals.  Its light, smooth, go that right amount of bite from chilies, and as I have noticed from various recipes, there is not too many the same. You can see from my picture it was more potato, and less red from chili powder and all the processes. I figured I could duplicate this at home.

The bhaiyya (Bombay street food chef) will start sauteeing the veggies (mash a boiled potato, peas, tomatoes, jalapeno, coriander) together with spices and enormous dollops of butter and mash the whole mixture into a sizzling vegetable dish. He will then serve this bhaji with rolls of bread called pav that have been likewise drowned in butter. The final touch: the dish is topped with raw onion slices and lemon wedges.

Now, if you go and google recipes for this, or ask your Indian neighbor about this dish, they may tell you it takes time, and has many processes for such a simple ingredient dish. However, from what I tasted and what I have seen it can be simplified and still have the same flavorful dish without having to buy a ticket to Bombay India, but that would be nice!  Oh and minus so much butter...

My bread however wasn't drowned in butter, but flattened and buttered. They seemed like crushed hamburger buns, but growing up we did this often for garlic bread if we did not have sliced regular bread around our house.

I liked this so much, there will be some Pav Bhaji projects going on this week!

Also on the note about Infini-T: I had read some pretty good reviews, but with it's share of negative on cost and lack of flavor. My opinion if anyone wants it....the food was great, service was great, desserts were great (I had a brownie), and the tea was fabulous. I will go back again and do a formal review next week, but for now I only spent $5 on the Pav Bhaji and thought that was a fantastic price for what you got on the plate. Very filling and tasty!