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Appetizers, Vegetarian

Pav bhaji (Spiced mashed vegetables with soft rolls)

Pav bhaji (Spiced mashed vegetables with soft rolls)
Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

When a friend, originally from India, invited me to a "street food" party in Simi Valley, I expected a sort of outdoor fair where I would wander among food booths. Instead, I found a fun party in someone's home where ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes | Serves 10
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 1/4 cups diced onions, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pav bhaji masala
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Indian red chili powder
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 10 small soft dinner rolls
  • 20 serrano chiles
  • 10 lemon wedges

Step 1Combine the potatoes, carrot, cauliflower, bell pepper and peas in a large (3 1/2 --quart) saucepan. Add 2 3/4 cups water and one-half teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Cook on medium-high heat until very tender, about 30 minutes. Do not drain. Use a potato masher to mash the vegetables and the liquid together to make a fine paste. Set aside.

Step 2Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the cumin seeds and fry until they sputter, about 1 minute. Add 2 1/2 cups diced onions and fry until translucent.

Step 3Add the pav bhaji masala, ginger-garlic paste, salt to taste and the chili powder. Stir to combine. Add the tomatoes; stir and cook 4 minutes. Add the mashed vegetable paste to the onion-tomato mixture and mix well. Cook 5 minutes.

Step 4Add the butter and lemon juice. Stir to combine.

Step 5Remove the vegetables from the pan, spooning into a serving bowl and leaving about a tablespoon of the mixture in the pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and stir to incorporate as it melts. Place the rolls cut side down in the pan and cook in the butter-vegetable mixture until lightly toasted.

Step 6To serve, garnish the mashed vegetables with cilantro leaves. Serve with the toasted rolls, chopped onions, whole serrano chiles and lemon wedges.

Note: From Preet Kamble of Bombay Bite. Cumin seeds, pav bhaji masala (spice mix), ginger-garlic paste and Indian red chili powder are available in Indian markets and in the Indian food sections of selected grocery stores.

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