Recipe for a Healthy Pav Bhaji – so go on and indulge!
Pav Bhaji Galli – A glimpse
There’s a whole street in the suburb where my parents live that’s nicknamed ‘pav bhaji galli’. Come evening and the street iron chefs pull out the huge iron tava (which i’m sure weighs a ton) loaded with mixed mashed vegetables around its circumference.
There are packets of freshly baked bread (pao / pav) and of course several stacks of butter on the side. When customers start pouring in, they move a small quantity of the veggie pile to the center of the tava, add some spicy masala paste, some butter, bring this to a simmer and then load it on a plate.
The square chunks of bread (pav) are sliced in half, smothered with butter and lightly toasted on the same tava until the butter has seeped into every bit of the spongy bread and served with the hot bhaji.
A handful of finely chopped onions, a quick squeeze of lemon and a final garnish of coriander and this is possibly the most mouthwatering Mumbai street food there is.
While it’s perfectly okay to indulge in this street version of pav bhaji once in a while, let me tell you my secrets for making this healthier at home. The problem with this dish is that it’s loaded with carbs and there’s hardly any protein.
There’s too much potato in the mash plus it is served with white bread that’s soaked in butter, the last bit of course can be easily remedied by using only as much butter as your conscience permits 🙂
It’s winter now and the red carrots, cauliflower and fresh green peas have flooded the markets. Use them along with potatoes and not just potatoes as the main part of the mash, so you get a mix of seasonal vegetables. I like to use a beet as well for a brilliant red colour.
The freshly prepared chili garlic paste adds a ton of flavour and contributes to the bright red colour too. In the mash, I use a healthy dose of mashed rehydrated soy chunks that adds considerable protein to the dish without altering the taste.
Serve it with multigrain rolls or bread and you’ve cut out most of the refined flour as well. Here’s my recipe, which if you try once, you’ll realise comes very close to the street food version, despite being an extremely healthy dish.
Recipe for Healthy Pav Bhaji