Smitha has been patiently waiting for this day since last 8months, when her son Amar would return home for his summer break from college in Mumbai. She had already begun the preparations like any other Bengali mother by stacking the refrigerator with variety fishes of his choice. Finally the day was here, when she heard a taxi stopping in front of her gate, she quickly ran to open the door, even before Amar could rang the doorbell. With all smile and excitement she opened the door to take her son in her arms, but she was instead taken by surprise to find a female guest accompanying her son. “Maa this is Kiran”, he said, “she has never been to this part of the country, so I invited her along, she was hesitant before, but I assured, by mom loves my friends, you’ll get along in no time. And also I wanted her to try authentic Bengali food, to settle it once and for all, Bengali food is no compare to North Indian cuisine, and my mom prepares the best Bengali food, right maa?” It was too much information for Smitha to take at a time, but she welcomed both with a smiling face. To prove her son right, every day Smitha prepared an authentic Bengali cuisine, but each time Kiran only replied with, “it’s nice”. Smitha felt she is failing her son, as there was something she is missing to put on the table. The next morning she woke up early to fetch grocery for the breakfast, both Kiran and Amar came down for breakfast, and for the first time in all these days, there was a big smile on her face. It was a known dish and a known fragrance. Today it was Pav Bhaji for breakfast, the pav was soft and the bhaji simply melted in her mouth, she could taste each and every ingredient. Smitha patiently waited for her reply, and then she said, “it feels like home”.
Comfort food is the only thing that makes you feel at home even when you are away from home. So today on thecomfortfoods.com we bring you the comfort food, from the shores of Arabian Sea, Mumbai, Pav Bhaji.
The potatoes needs to be peeled and chopped, the tomatoes needs to be cut in cubes, the onion, chilies and capsicum needs to be finely chopped and kept a side.
Put a pan on medium heat and add the chopped potatoes, tomatoes, peas, some salt and enough water to boil the vegetables. Cover the pan and let the vegetables cook until they turn soft enough to be smashed. Once the vegetables are done, bring out your potato smasher and smash all the vegetables well in the pan itself. You can also add little water from time to time, to make the bhaji soft, mushy and thick. Transfer the bhaji into a different container and put the pan back on medium heat. Add a little vegetable oil or butter as per your choice followed by cumin seeds, finely chopped onions, garlic paste and red chilli powder and mix all the ingredients well, then add the chopped capsicum, green chillies, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chilli powder and garam masala, sauté all the ingredients together and let it cook for a minute. Now add the smashed vegetables and mix it well, sprinkle some kasauri meethi on top, and lemon juice, give it a quick stir, take it off the oven and directly to the serving plate.
Put a fresh frying pan on the oven, add some butter and put it on medium heat. Take the pav, add some butter on the base, sprinkle some oregano for taste and put it on the pan.
Serve the dish with a butter cube on top of the bhaji, sprinkle some chopped coriander on top and serve it with lime cube, onion rings and some homemade red chilli pickle.
P.S. we have prepared the dish with vegetable oil to keep it healthy, but to give it a street like feel, you can use butter and food color for the authentic taste and color.