A makeshift kitchen that probably measures 6 x 6 ft, some hundred-odd customers at any given point in time.. a couple of service boys running around frantically, a pot of water to wash your hands, the background of blaring horns and most importantly, hungry growling stomachs and unbelievably tasty food!! I talking about the very famous Kaiyendhi Bhavan(s) of Chennai.. This literally means, 'a place where you receive your food with your arms stretched' (sorry.. lot of originality lost in my attempted translation).. This is probably one dimension of Chennai Street Food which I urge all my friends to explore, whenever they make a trip to Chennai. Believe me, you will not be disappointed.
The Pav Bhaji was so good that, the first time I made it, even before I could click a snap, it was all gone. So, got to click this snap when I made it for the second time. This recipe serves four reasonably generously. The recipe is a winner all the way!
- Potatoes (medium): 3, skinned and cut into large chunks
- Cauliflower (medium): 1, florets measuring to 3 - 4 cups
- Capsicum: 1, chopped
- Tomatoes (medium): 5- 6, made into a paste in the mixie
- Peas (frozen or otherwise): 1/2 cup
- Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tbsp
- Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
- Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
- Pav Bhaji Masala: 1-2 tbsp (according to taste)
- Butter: 1 tbsp for the gravy + more to be smeared on the pav
- Oil: 2 -3 tbsp
- Salt: to taste
- Lemon: 2 - 3
- Onions (medium): chopped fine, to garnish
- Corriander: chopped fine, to garnish
- Dunk the chopped cauliflower florets in boiling water for a minute - to de-worm them (just in case)
- Boil vegetables (cauliflower, potatoes and peas) for about three whistles, till they are tender
- Take a kadai. Heat oil
- Fry the capsicum for a whle
- Then add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry well again
- Add tomato puree
- Add the turmeric powder and chilli powder. Saute very well
- Close the lid and let it cook for some time
- After the raw smell has disappeared, add the boilded veggies and pav bhaji masala and the butter
- Keep sauteing and mashing till it becomes a smooth mixture
- Add water if needed
- Now, once it comes to a boil, keep the flame on an absolute low and let it remain there for about 20 - 25 minutes. This is when the wedlock of the veggies and the flavours takes place to give that irresistible taste to the bhaji
- Keep stirring it once in a while. Adjust salt and the masala quotient
- Once it is done, switch off.
- Add the juice of one lemon to it. Mix well
- Garnish with corriander leaves
- Now, the bhaji is done
- Halve the pav and toast on both sides on a pan. Add a good coating of butter in between and serve with the bhaji.
- Sprinkle the bhaji with chopped onion, corriander leaves and a wedge of lemon
- Absolutely divine! Enjoy!