This week seems to have so far an Indian theme, not quiet sure why but it does.
I decided it was time to sort out the vegetables languishing in my refrigerator and use them up. A little bit of this and a little bit of that and so came to mind to make a vegetable curry. Very easy to make and useful if you have lots of bits of vegetables which need using rather than go out and buy an assortment.
The recipe which I came up with is called PAU BHAJI and is very much a staple of the Indian State of Maharashtra which is where Mumbai is located. We were actually in Mumbai more or less by chance a few years ago en route back to the UK from Delhi. We ended up in Mumbai simply because I had insisted that we went to Aurangabad.
I had read that near Aurangabad were the most amazing caves and also the worlds largest monolithic structure. Himself was less than keen but certainly did not regret the detour. #1 daughter arranged through her travel business contacts for us to be collected at the airport and driven to the caves. The Ajanta caves are actual caves carved into the rocks and for the most part, Buddhist, the Ellora caves are not really caves as they were built or carved downwards, took 200 hundred years to carve ( who had the Master Plan ?) these caves represent, Hinduism, Buddhism and the Jain religion. Both caves are World Heritage Sites. They were truly amazing, and this is how we ended up in Mumbai.
I have to admit that we did not eat Indian Street food after #1 daughter ( the willowy blonde ) had been hospitalised , not from eating dodgy food, but just handling very dirty money, so not wanting to experience an Indian hospital we avoided such delights.
However PAU BHAJI is Indian street food and originated in Maharashtra. It is a vegetarian stew and eaten with a soft white bread roll ( this bit has to be a British import from the time of the Raj). Judging from shopping with my daughter at the wonderful sounding supermarket ( more like local bazaar) Honey Money Top, the selection of vegetables was very sad to say the least. Refrigeration and refrigerated trucks are not the norm and so fruit and vegetables are left out in the mid day sun ( think Noel Coward, Mad Dogs and Englishman) and are soon wilting and are long past their best by date ( not that they have one ).
Consequently, I believe that this meal/ fast food dish was simply created to use the vegetables before they went off, and as 42% of Mumbai’s population live in slums, good hygienic home cooking will just not be possible. Nonetheless, it is a very good option, if you like curries, to use up your vegetables.
Therefore to make your PAU BHAJI you will need a combination of the following:-
- Green or red or yellow peppers
- Green beans
- Large onion
- Spinach, or kale
- Peas, use frozen
- Potatoes just a couple
- 100 grams butter
- A squirt tomato paste
- 2 tsp chilli powder
- 1tsp cumin
- 1tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1tsp Garam Masala
- Salt to taste
Keep simmering until it is a homogeneous mixture. To serve, add a dollop of butter and decorate with chopped coriander and a lemon slice. It is unlikely that the latter would indeed be added to Street Rood, but if serving at home it just makes it look nicer. Traditionally, served with a soft bread roll, but here, try some sourdough instead.