Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mumbai Meri Jaan....Pao Bhaji

It is Saturday morning. My second favorite time of the week- the first being Friday evening( quite obviously so). I love the facebook status updates on Friday. Everybody sounds so happy and relaxed.

Friday afternoons are a sharp contrast, I am rushing to complete all my deadlines, trying to ensure that I don't have too many work things to do over the weekend. Heaving a sigh of relief as the day ends. But this week was different. I spent the better part of Friday at a food shoot. It was fascinating to watch the photographer conceptualize the food story for each dish. He used props quite interestingly to amplify the key ingredients. While a lot of 'pristine white' crockery was used there were other interesting colors as well. White was often used as a backdrop for " pale/light colored food" to created that 'soft look' . Similarly rich, deep colors were used quite effectively to bring out 'stronger, sharper' flavors. All in all a fantastic experience and hopefully some of what I learnt will show in my cooking and blogging.

I got back home inspired to cook and blog over the weekend. Last night the boys had 'peanut chocolate fondue' as dessert. Break peanut jaggery bars(popularly knows as gud badam/chikki) into small pieces, twirl them in some molten chocolate and you have your quick fondue. Older one also dipped fruit and bread pieces into it. Working on more fondue recipes and hopefully something a little more interesting soon.

We started today with a Pao bhaji breakfast, typically we have it for dinner. 'Why this Kolaveri 'played in the background as we ate. Helped us relive our Chennai days. Hey! I just realized something- we are from the Eastern part of India, we now live in the North, we were eating a West Indian dish listening to a South Indian song. That is what I call National Integration. Jai Ho! And it has taken a blogpost for me to realize it.

Pao Bhaji(serves 4)

Onions: 2, finely chopped
Tomatoes: 3, again finely chopped
Mixed vegetables: About 500 grams, you can use beans, carrots, peas, potatoes, cauliflower
Pao bhaji masala: 3/4 tbsps, I swear by Roopak Masala. They also come in little PET bottles which helps retain the freshness for longer without having to take the trouble of transferring into another jar
Butter: 2 tbsps(optional- I can see the die hard Pao bhaji lovers protesting at this one)
Refined oil: 1 tsp
Lime juice: 2 tbsp
Pao buns: 2 per person


  • Pressure cook the mixed vegetables with half a cup of water. Mash them well and keep aside.

  • Heat the oil in a wok, saute the onions. Add the tomatoes and cook till soft. Add the mixed vegetables, 3/4 tsps of Pao Bhaji Masala and a cup of water. Simmer for 10 minutes.

  • Add the butter and lime juice.

  • Served hot garnished with some fresh, finely chopped corriander

Pao bhaji also serves well as a one dish meal. You can substitute the Pao with multigrain bread or even regular roti. I love the chatpata taste. Usually I save some leftovers for my lunch box.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!