Pav bhaji is actually not my most favourite street snack – mainly because it’s kind of homely, really. Bread, with mashed vegetables. A dish that could almost be toddler food, except that the bhaji is rather more spiced than babies or young ‘uns would tolerate.
The average adult, of course, would know that streetside pav bhaji would not count as “healthy” – certainly not with the lavish use of butter by the bhaiya to cook the vegetables and pan-fry the pav. But the basic premise of a dish whose basis is a featureless smush of vegetables would, against all logic, naturally engender suspicions (in the wary teenage mind) that it might actually be – gasp! – healthy! With vegetables! Maybe even with blacklisted vegetables cunningly disguised in the mush! The horror, oh the horror!
And that is why pav bhaji is not top of my list of favourite street snacks. Well, of COURSE because of the butter! Not because of the possibility of the presence of camouflaged aubergines or other detested vegetables. Naturally. Because I’m an adult now.
Still, once the possibilities of bhelpuri, pani puri, dahi puri and other savoury chaats have been exhausted, pav bhaji comes into its own. It had to for me, because I didn’t have the patience or the wherewithal to make authentic-tasting versions of all the other street snacks mentioned. I did, however bake authentic pav the other day… and once I had that, the bhaji was a natural consequence. I didn’t have any worries about this pav bhaji because there were only potatoes, peas, cauliflower, bell pepper and tomatoes and a bunch of spices in the bhaji. Being the discerning adult that I am, I ensured the bhaji did not sneakily acquire any uninvited participants from the world of vegetables.
Since I followed Nupur's bhaji recipe pretty much to the last pea, I'm not putting up a separate recipe here. And since the photos I took of my pav bhaji have unaccountably disappeared from my chip, I'm not putting up any photos either. I only posted the text because I'd already written it and didn't want to see my hard work go to waste! (All verbal or written appreciation for my hard work and diligence will be gratefully accepted. Also commiseration for the missing presumed deceased photos. Thank you.)