The Dorm Room ‘Pav Bhaji’: Recipe and Tips

Moving out, leaving the nest, a phenomenon of children leaving their home for the first time to start off on their own is inevitable. It’s that step in life that children look forward to, unlike

Moving out, leaving the nest, a phenomenon of children leaving their home for the first time to start off on their own is inevitable. It’s that step in life that children look forward to, unlike their aging parents who still wish to hold on to what is left of their little one!

I moved to Russia two weeks ago with three heavy bags and a notably heavy heart. As far as the heart is concerned, we all know that good food can make any heart feel fresh instantly. One of those three bags had the key to my happiness and here is all it had: spices, herbs, ready-made masala mixes for different dishes, pickles, soups, and the epic Pav Bhaaji masala! (yes that’s the one I’ll be talking about in this post)

As per my knowledge, most Indian students travel to the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand on a large scale. A lot of these countries have supermarkets or stores that cater to our taste palette, but as we all know, not every country will have the same food items as India and that’s where the big question arises, where do I use these spice mixes if I don’t have the main ingredient for my recipe?

In my case, Saint Petersburg, Russia is the place we are talking about. Due to the cold climate here the prices of fresh summer veggies is extremely high and when I say high I mean 200 INR per Kg of tomatoes. Well, time to find an alternative because student budget!

So let’s start off with the ingredient list and I will list out the alternatives that I used.

  • Ingredients of Pav Bhaji Recipe: (for mothers) The legendary Mumbai street food item, Pav Bhaji is a blend of all sorts of salubrious vegetables. Its the perfect dish for all sneaky mum’s out there trying to sneak vegetables in dishes to provide their kid with the daily serving of veggies. Psstt…you can add beetroots, cauliflower, and carrots too (just mash it all in)!
  • Ingredients of Pav Bhaji for fussy and broke eaters:(students like you and me) Potatoes, tomatoes, frozen peas mashed together with Everest Pav Bhaji masala and lemon. Voila! A gourmet dish!

To be honest, I have no space to store tomatoes, they are expensive and they rot awfully fast. So I decided to use a 90% tomato based salsa sauce that I picked for 50 INR for my Pav Bhaji base, trust me it makes no difference to the taste.

Coriander adds the color and taste to all our Indian preparations, its a must at home! I couldn’t get my hand on any so I decided to use parsley. Before you start poking fun at me, YES! There is a difference between the two herbs but they also go as great alternatives for each other! So go ahead and use parsley if you can’t find coriander!

Now, what’s Pav Bhaji without the toasted buttery buns? I couldn’t find any here and had to settle for a loaf of bread which I sliced and toasted with loads of butter!

As a Mumbaikar, I wouldn’t agree to this combination of eating sliced bread with Pav Bhaji. But in a strange foreign land, you try to find alternatives to things that could fill the home sized void in your heart.

Innovation starts with the dearth of resources and today as I devoured this budget-friendly dorm room Pav Bhaji, I realized that a dash of mozzarella on my Pav Bhaji toast would actually leave me a completely new dish ‘ The Pav Bhaji Bruschetta’.

Recipe and Steps:

  1. Wash the potatoes and frozen peas and add them in a pressure cooker.
  2. Add water and pressure cook for 2 whistles on high heat.
  3. Remove them from the pressure cooker and mash them.
  4. Heat butter in a pan and add onion, minced ginger and garlic and fry till onions begin to melt.
  5. Add tomatoes and ½ cup of water and cook for 2-3 minutes/ add 2 tablespoons of the salsa sauce.
  6. Now add red chili powder and Pav bhaji masala and cook for a minute.
  7. Add the mashed potatoes and peas in the pan and mix well.
  8. Mash the mixture until it is mixed well.
  9. Keep adding little water if the Pav Bhaji thickens.

10. Add some lemon juice, salt, and coriander and mix well.

  • Garnish with fresh coriander and dollop of butter and serve with some toasted buttery bread!

And remember,

“The secret ingridient is always love.”

49 thoughts on “The Dorm Room ‘Pav Bhaji’: Recipe and Tips

  1. I’m jumping on the bandwagon of saying I love this recipe and definitely am open to trying it. I was given a cookbook two weeks ago and this looks more delectable than any of the recipes combined!

  2. Thank you so much for this beatiful recipe, will try it next month when we have family party! I am sure my family will love it, thanks !

  3. I have colleagues here from India…. And yes, just like every expats coming back from vacation…expect them to bring something they can’t find in host country ….i don’t know, there’s something about bringing in something from your place in spite there’s an abundant supply….

  4. Wow Melissa, your photos are really good that I just all of a sudden felt so hungry. Great photos, great food, great blog!

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