Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mumbai Pav Bhaji - Street-Style

BHAJI = Mashed boiled mixed vegetables (mainly Capsicum, Potatoes, Peas, Tomatoes, and Onions) cooked in spices and straddled by a slab of butter.

It's a simple dish, cooked with many different ways and flavors. 

My version of cooking Pav Bhaji is not that simple, takes a lot of time and patience. But let me tell you, it comes directly from the Street Vendor of Mumbai Juhu Beach. 

If you’re visiting Mumbai and are really looking to get a taste of the city, avoid trawling Colaba's tourist spots for fry-ups and cereal, try breakfast the way true-blue Mumbaikars have it. From students to businessmen, everyone has their favorite grab-and-go Pav in Mumbai. 
It is a crime to have these in Air-Conditioned restaurants, best had from the alfresco style stalls on the city streets and at Juhu Beach. 
Mumbai undoubtedly makes the most finger-licking Pav Bhaji in the world! Bhaji is mashed boiled mixed vegetables (mainly Capsicum, potatoes, peas, tomatoes, and onions) cooked in spices and straddled by a slab of butter. The Pav served with it is shallow fried in even more butter and served with lemon and chopped onions. Squeeze some lemon on the bhaji and dig in with your fingers. It’s a week’s worth of butter but worth every calorie!

Keeping all above points in my mind, one beautiful smokey morning I was wandering at beachside stalls from one Pav Bhaji Vendor to another, and finally I selected one, who was just about to open his stall. In few minutes, everything was ready....Com'on, these vendors can challenge any good chef in the means of time and taste. I started chatting with him as if, he's one of my 'lost n found' friend, as seen and initiated by dear husband. 

To my surprise, he told me NOT TO ADD CAULIFLOWER to the Bhaji, and, the reason behind that is Cauliflower florets can overcome any other veggie used for making this dish. I was more than surprised, as I have always seen my Mom adding 4-5 Cauliflower Florets while preparing the "Bhaji"

Keeping all the surprises at one end, I saw that vendor making the whole Bhaji, from scratch, 2-3 times....yeah, I was there standing near his stall for more than one hour, and my husband was like, are you planning for a joint business. HaHaHa... :-)

Never mind, it tasted awesome and kind of "Paisa Vasool" typo..

It was difficult for me to erase my Mom's version and adopt his "no cauliflower" version. But then too I tried his version, and the TASTE was like above all my expectations JUST TOO GOOD. 
That was the day, I bookmarked the recipe and always try to make the same version of not adding cauliflowers. Though never got chance to thank that Vendor, but my Mom-Dad, my Husband and my complete family likes this tastes better than any other Pav Bhaji we had till date. 

So here is my version of Pav Bhaji recipe........

  • 2 big size Green bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 4 big size Potatoes, boiled and coarsely mashed
  • 1 cup Green Peas, boiled
  • 3 medium Tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 medium Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon Pav Bhaji masala, heepful and readymade
  • 1/2 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 7-8 Big Cloves of Garlic, freshly chopped or pressed using a Garlic-presser
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Kasoori methi powder, ready-made
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander / cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pack of Dinner Rolls("Pav")
  • 6-8 tbsp salted Butter
To Garnish : 1/2 cup finely sliced Onions and Lemon juice.

  1. In a large heavy bottomed flat saucepan, melt 1/2 tsp butter and add chopped bell peppers. Saute on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add little water and cover the pan to half cook the peppers, for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add boiled peas and fry with half-cooked peppers for 5-7 minutes. 
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, again sauté on high heat for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add ginger paste, chopped Garlic and coarsely mashed Potatoes. Mix well. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, 2 tbsp butter and mix everything stirring continuously for 3-4 minutes. Keep mashing the vegetable using the potato/vegetable masher. This requires a lot of patience. 
  5. Add half cup of water to the vegetables. Cook on medium flame for 7-8 minutes with stirring and mashing of the veggies here and there. The consistency should not be very thick. If required add more water.
  6. Add 2 tsp Pav-bhaji masala, salt and chopped coriander. Sauté and mash till the spices start to give out a wonderful aroma. Turn off the heat and keep this mixture aside in a separate bowl.
  7. In the same pan melt 2 tbsp butter, add chopped onions, 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste, red-chili powder, 2 tsp Pav-bhaji masala and some lemon juice. Saute for 2-3 minutes .
  8. Add the vegetable mixture to the above masala. Now this mixture requires some more patience. Continously stir and mash the bhaji to get the real taste. 
Tip: The Bhaji should not look like a gravy instead it should be granular. The granular texture is achieved by frying the bell peppers and onions properly.
    To prepare the "Pav" or Dinner rolls:
    1. Slit the buns/rolls into two keeping the base intact.
    2. Melt butter in a flat pan and add 1/2 tsp Pav-bhaji masala. Spread this butter with masala evenly all over the pan with the help of a spatula.
    3. Arrange all the buns on the pan. Roast both the sides as well as the inner surfaces of buns on the butter.
    Serve the "Pav" or rolls with the "bhaaji" and a lemon slice. Garnish with chopped onions and a chunk of butter.

    Good chefs always taste their Recipe.....Go Ahead....And say Wow.

    Thursday, April 2, 2015

    Beat the Heat - Carrot, Orange and Ginger Zinger

    It's springtime, the air is fresh, the sun is out. Time to sit out on the balcony (or patio, or fire escape...) with a glass of something cold in hand.  But if you don't drink alcohol or wanna try something fresh and fruity, you can enjoy the sweet pleasures of a spring cocktail via mocktail.  

    This idea of punching Orange with Carrots came to my mind just while glancing through my refrigerator, There lies a single-alone-tired Orange with a bunch of tired Carrots. Combining both with a hint of fresh Ginger - & here comes the punch. 

    Prep time: 5 mins
    Total time: 5 mins 
    Serves: 2


    1-2 medium Carrot; I large Orange; a bite size Ginger; Sugar(optional); Water(optional); a small pinch of Salt; Juicer/Blender


    Wash your three ingredients thoroughly, even if you're using organics, scrub the carrots with a knife edge to get rid of any dirt and grime; Cut off carrot tops; Peel oranges and break them into 1/4 halves; Juice the Carrots first, then add Oranges and then Ginger; Add sugar, salt and water to taste; Serve at room temperature or chilled. 

    You can even blend the ingredients in a bender and strain over glasses; Juice with fiber.

    Friday, August 15, 2014

    Independence Day Tricolor Idli (Tricolor Steamed Pancakes) - yeah! I know my prompt recipe :-)

    Recipe Recalled. Old Recipe, New Pictures
    Again, on the occasion of India's 68th Independence Day, I tried my hands on TRICOLOR IDLI.
    Came out great.
    For recipe - Click Here

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

    EBS PIZZA - My style

    No no no...not a new pizza chain, it's a home-baked, easy to make, very quickly prepared PIZZA or more of a crustless QUICHE or Breggie OMELETE. 

    Bread + Veggie = Breggie :)

    There are hundreds of "Quiche" recipes available on internet, even in my blog, but this recipe, in a very simple form, I have learnt from my Mother-In-Law. How quickly she use to prepare, even now, this most loving dish of the family in minutes. A simple Aluminium Wok and a flat spatula can also make wonders in the kitchen.

    With very little variations and more veggies, this is a beautiful PIZZA perfect for breakfast or brunch.

    MIx, Mix, Mix and Bake. You can do variations, as I have done in my MIL's recipe by adding lots of cheese on top, spinach inside and baking instead of frying....I know lots of cheese + no oil = no difference..... :) 

    All that you require for this quick recipe is Brown/White Bread (corners removed) + 2-3 Eggs + chopped Onions, Tomatoes, Spinach, Jalapenos + 2-3 teaspoons of Milk (enough to mash). Mix everything in a bowl with your clean hands, grease a pan with little Butter or EVOO, spread the mixture evenly, put lots of cheese on top (of-course optional and in my hubby's case, a little) , bake in a pre-heated oven at 240 degrees for 7-8 minutes. My Sunday breakfast is ready.

    I am entering this into Chris’s Foodie World Cup bloggers challenge

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    HYDERABAD through my lens and D Famous PULIHORA--Andhra style Tamarind Rice

    HYDERABAD - the city of pearls, the city of Biriyanis, the city of Nizam's, the city of Deccan arts, the city of culture, the city of Kohinoor Diamond, the city of CharMinar.

    Unlike any other city, Hyderabad is a combination of the oldest and the moderns. Cyberabad, the new city is the perfect example of modernization which has huge steel structures of companies like Google, Microsoft and other technology giants. On the other hand, the old city of Hyderabad, located on the banks of Musi River built by Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591. This alluring 400 year old city contains many landmark buildings including the iconic Charminar, Golconda Fort, The Mecca Masjid (mosque), Chowmahalla Palace, Falaknuma Palace, Salar Jung Museum, Qutb Shahi Tombs, Nehru Zoological Park, Pearl Bazaar and the famous Irani Chai and Karachi Bakery.

    A visit to this ancient city is a history lesson in itself.


    Charminar, an iconic symbol of Hyderabad and the charm that represents the old city. The 400 year old living monument was built by Sultan Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah around 1591, as a mosque to commemorate the elimination of a deadly plague that ravaged the city.

    Surrounding the four minarets, you’ll find centuries-old buildings, an overwhelming amount of street noise and huge crowds, including burqa-clad women and men in kurtas. The famous Laad Bazaar is located on one of the four main roads that branch out from the historic Charminar. This old market is popular for sparkly bangles and pearls.



    This beautiful monument is one of the oldest and largest mosques in India, situated right beside the iconic Charminar.



    Once regarded as the center of Hyderabad, the magnificent Chowmahalla Palace or Chowmahallat (4 Palaces) was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty where the Nizams entertained their official guests and royal visitors. Built over 200 years ago, Chowmahalla Palace is renowned for its unique style and elegance.A synthesis of many architectural styles and influences, the Palace Complex has been meticulously restored.

    Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA
    Khilwat Mahal

    Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA
    Takht-e-Nishan (Royal Seat) in Durbar Hall - Khilwat Mahal

    Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA
    The 19 recently re installed chandeliers made of spectacular Belgian crystal recreate the lost splendor of this regal hall - Khilwat Mahal

    Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA
    Arches & Pillars in Durbar Hall - Khilwat Mahal

    Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA
    The view of Clock Tower is another impressive construction. It houses what is affectionately called the Khilwat Clock which has been ticking away ever since the Palace was built.
    Clock Tower, Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA

    Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA

    Vintage Car Museum - The yellow car shown above is a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost 1911 Model. The yellow body had gold mountings and various parts of the body, lights, roof, etc were finished in silver.This car was used only for important occasions and has done just 356 miles in the last hundred years.

    Salarjung Museum of Hyderabad

    Salarjung Museum is the famous art museum of Hyderabad, located on the southern bank of the River Musi. It is the 3rd largest museum in India, and is the effort of one man's priced collection. It was originally started as the private collection of Mr. Yousuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III (1889-1949), later was converted to a Museum for public.

    As on date, there are 38 galleries in the Museum in three blocks i.e. (1) Indian Block (27 galleries), (2)Western Block (7 galleries) and (3) Eastern Block (4 galleries) in which nearly 13,654 objects are on display.

    Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad

    Veiled Rebecca of Salar Jung Museum is a white marble statue, sculptured by Giovanni Maria Benzoniin the mid 25th century. Said to be A melody in marble, and considered as the most beautiful art object in the world and masterpiece of Salar Jung Museum.

    The art lies in the way the artist has captured the fragility of Rebecca’s innocence within her clinging chiffon robes and veil.

    Carved out of a single block of wood, the famous double statue in Salar Jung Museum showing two life-size figures - Mephistopheles in front and Margaretta at the back. Margaretta and Mephistopheles symbolise good and evil respectively. With rare ingenuity, remarkable insight into the characters and superb craftsmanship, the sculptor has brought out in one piece of wood the agents of love and hate in all their life-like attitudes and elements.



    All my respect as a woman, to Golconda, which was, at one time, the the only diamond mine in the world. The home of Kohinoor...the home of Hope Diamond...this ancient fort derives its name from Golla Konda, which is a Telugu word for Shepherd’s Hill. It’s when a shepherd boy stumbled upon an idol on the hill, it led to the construction of a mud fort by the Kakatiyas as part of their western defenses.

    At Fateh Darwaza, the main entrance, a fantastic acoustic effect can be experienced, characteristic of the engineering marvels at Golkonda. A hand clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard clearly at the 'Bala Hisar' pavilion, the highest point of the fort, almost a kilometer away. This worked as a warning note to the royals in case of an attack.

    Golconda Fort Garden

    The ruins of Golconda Fort

    The ruins of Golconda Fort

     Ruins of Golkonda Fort with fountain in front at dusk

     Golconda @ Night after Light & Sound Show

     Golconda @ Night after Light & Sound Show

    Haunted Golconda
    The history books don’t talk about the spirits of thieves that are said to live in the trees, the baffling shadows seen gliding around, and the sounds of people crying out in pain. The spirit of Taramati, a courtesan turned queen, is often spotted here. Visitors aren’t allowed to linger after dark. But since it’s a popular film location, movie crews are often here past the deadline and see much more than they’d like.


    The tombs of the Qutb Shahi sultans lie about one kilometer north of Golkonda's outer wall. These structures are made of beautifully carved stonework, and surrounded by landscaped gardens. They are open to public and receive many visitors.

    Qutub Shahi Tombs

    Qutub Shahi Tombs


    The sprawling 2000-acre Ramoji Film City, set up by Ramoji Group in 1996, is the land of million dreams, where comprehensive and world-class filmmaking facilities await dream merchants for a celluloid journey. The massive dreamscape vibrant with flamboyant locales, picturesque avenues, make-believe sets and outstanding film-making infrastructure make it as filmmakers’ paradise.

    It is also a popular tourism and recreation centre, containing both natural and artificial attractions including an amusement park.

    The Grand Entrance after a few minutes bus drive from the Ticket Counter

    Fun Park inside Ramoji Rao Film City, Hyderabad

    Red tourist Hop on Hop off buses inside Ramoji Rao Film City

    The beautiful view of Ramoji Rao Film City

    Mahabharatha set done at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad, quite interesting to see.

    Mythological and Historical sets at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad

    Indian Hollywood Studio

    Magic Shows  inside Ramoji Rao Film City, Hyderabad

    Fun Filled place for the entire family - Ramoji Rao Film City, Hyderabad

    Nehru Zoological Park

    An Indian Zoo where the authorities have gone the extra mile to make the visit enjoyable & comfortable. The electrical buggy ride is an excellent way to go round this massive zoo.



    Lumbini Park is a small public, urban park, adjacent to Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad. The main attractions of this park is the boat ride to the world's tallest monolith of Gautama Buddha. The story behind this Buddha of the Lake Bottom is quiet interesting. A beautiful effort and a major attraction of Hyderabad. It has various other attractions such as laser auditorium, boating facilities and musical fountains.

    Please do not leave the city before trying the famous Irani Chai with Osmania Biscuits and before buying the famous Hyderabadi Pearls and Bangles.
    I hope I don't have to mention the world famous HYDERABADI BIRIYANI

    And now its foodieee time.

    PULIHORA--Andhra style Tamarind Rice

    After living in Hyderabad, I have become a great admirer of their rice preparations. Of course, who have not heard about the world famous Hyderabadi Biriyani. But here I am talking about the vegetarian preparation of rice that I got to taste during the festive occasion of Ganesh Puja. I love the sour taste they add to all their rice preparations.
    Puli means sour taste. Pulihora is also referred to as sour rice. Other names are tamarind rice or lemon rice.
    Here I am talking about the Tamarind Rice...This is the first time I was tasting tamarind in North India...I can never imagine adding tamarind pulp in rice pulao....a distinct flavor, which is spicy and tangy all at once, kind of addictive. The recipe is basically making a powder of roasted spices that is then added to a tamarind paste mixture, which you then fry with cooked rice. The combination of crunchy peanuts, tangy tamarind and spicy red chilies stimulates the taste buds very nicely.
    Also, if you don't have time to prepare tamarind rice powder/paste from scratch, there are a number of varieties that are ready made and available at almost all the Indian stores. Priya really makes a good one. Homemade or store bought, this paste can be stored in refrigerator for future use.

    Tamarind Rice Recipe


    For Rice

    2 cups Sona Masoori ( I prefer this rice over Basmati for this preparation)
    4 cups Water
    1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
    1/2 teaspoon Salt

    For Tamarind Paste
    1 heaping teaspoon of Tamarind Concentrate mixed with 2 tablespoons of water or large lemon sized Tamarind (soak in a cup of hot water and extract pulp)
    1 teaspoon Jaggery or Brown Sugar (optional)
    1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
    1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
    1 teaspoon Cumin  Seeds
    1 teaspoon Bengal Gram
    1 teaspoon Black Gram
    8-10 Whole Red Chilies
    1/4 teaspoon Hing/Asafoetida
    15-20 fresh Curry Leaves
    2 fistfuls Peanuts (Whole or coarsely powdered)
    1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder

    At the time of Final Assembly of Rice
    1 tablespoon Roasted Sesame Seeds powder
    1 fistful Roasted Peanuts

    Making Pulihora

    In a thick bottom pan cook two cups of Rice with four cups of water, salt and turmeric powder.  Spread rice into a thin layer too cool down, add a little oil to keep the grains separate. Set aside.

    Dry roast Peanuts until fragrant. Likewise roast the Sesame Seeds and powder. Keep it aside.

    Heat oil in a wok, add whole Red Chilies, Bengal gram, Black Grams, Peanuts and Mustard Seeds and finally Cumin Seeds. Once it splutters, add Curry leaves, Asafoetida and Turmeric powder.

    Add the Tamarind extract and Jaggery. Cook till the raw smell of tamarind disappears. Adjust Salt, add water if required. It will be a thick but flowing paste. Remove from heat. 
    At this point, you can cool and store this paste for future use.

    Add 2 tablespoon of above Tamarind Paste to the cooked rice. Mix lightly without breaking the rice grains. Adjust salt and more paste or rice according to taste. Finally sprinkle the roasted Sesame seeds powder and roasted Peanuts and combine well. Let it sit for at least 1-2 hours for the flavors to set in.

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