Pav Bhaji: A Nourishing Low-calorie Vegan Recipe from the streets of Mumbai

India and Indian cuisine perhaps is one of the most delicious and accommodating for vegetarians. In many parts of India one meal a day -from choice- is the custom and curries have been eaten for centuries. As you will realize, not all curries taste alike. Although London’s Indian food scene is very competitive, we are only scratching the surface when it comes to India’s various regional cuisines and different spice blends. Dining out as a vegan still is tricky as ghee butter and dairy is widely used in Indian cooking. The more we study India’s rich culinary culture, its health benefits and various spice combinations, the more we experiment with recipes to create nourishing low-calorie vegan meals. 

This recipe is loosely inspired by Mumbai’s popular street food Pav Bhaji, dinner buns served with spicy mashed veggies topped with red onions. From its humble origins, it has become a 'must' on menus in Mumbai’s top restaurants and celebrity weddings. This dish is also available on London’s famous Bombay cafe, Dishoom, although not vegan. We tried to create our own masala blend but you can also find ready-made Pav Bhaji masala online. Street food doesn’t get better than this!

 

Serves 2 as main, under 600 calories

Ingredients

  • 1 large potato potato (350gr), roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot (60gr), roughly chopped
  • French beans (100gr), roughly chopped 
  • Fresh peas (unpodded 50gr, roughly half a cup) 
  • 1 large onion (250gr), finely diced 
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 green chilli (20gr), finely chopped 
  • 1 green bell pepper (50gr), roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil 

 

Method

  • Boil all the vegetables, except for the bell pepper. Drain well and set aside. Slightly mash the boiled vegetables with the back of your fork. 
  • In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut (or rapeseed) oil on medium heat. Once the oil melts, add chopped onions and mix. Cook the onions for 3-4 minutes until golden brown in color.
  • Add finely chopped ginger, garlic and green chilli. Stir well. 
  • Add chopped tomatoes and mix again well. Let the tomatoes cook for 2 minutes. 
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Pav Bhaji masala mix, pinch of salt and half a cup of water. Cover and let the tomatoes simmer for about 10 minutes until completely cooked.
  • Stir in the boiled vegetables and roughly chopped green bell pepper. Add another half a cup of water and mix. Let the bhaji simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
  • A generous squeeze of lemon juice is must before serving. You can garnish with red onions and coriander. For a heartier meal, serve with rice

Served here with Atul Koccher’s coriander chutney.