When it comes to street food in India, the popularity of Pav Bhaji stands out because of its vibrant flavours. Originating from the bustling streets of Mumbai, Pav Bhaji has become a beloved comfort food across the country.
The history of pav bhaji dates back to the 1850s in Mumbai, then known as Bombay. It was created as a quick and affordable meal option for textile mill workers during their lunch breaks. Street vendors began creating a flavourful blend of mashed vegetables cooked in aromatic spices, served with buttered and toasted bread rolls (known as "pav" in Hindi).
The term "Pav Bhaji" was coined from the Portuguese term "pao" meaning bread (pronounced as "pav" in Marathi) and the word "bhaji" means a vegetable-based dish. With time, pav bhaji gained immense popularity and transformed into an iconic street food dish, not only in Mumbai but also throughout India and even globally.
In this blog, we will be exploring what makes it so special, and share tips on choosing the best pav bhaji masala to elevate your culinary experience.
What Makes Pav Bhaji Special?
- Flavour-rich: The secret behind pav bhaji’s irresistible taste lies in the perfect mix of spices and the slow cooking process. A mix of vegetables, including potatoes, cauliflower, peas, capsicum, and tomatoes, are cooked and mashed perfectly, creating a thick and flavourful gravy.
- Buttered Pav: The pav, or bread rolls, are an essential side to the bhaji (mashed vegetable mix). The rolls are slathered with generous amounts of butter and toasted on a griddle until crispy on the outside while remaining soft inside. This contrast of textures adds an indulgent element to the dish.
- Versatility: Since pav bhaji can be customised per different taste buds, it is a versatile dish and can be enjoyed by people of all age-group. The bhaji is usually customised with a variety of vegetables such as potatoes, peas, cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, and more, making it a wholesome and nutritious meal.
- Texture and Consistency: Usually, the vegetables in the bhaji are mashed into a thick and creamy consistency. The flavours of the spices and vegetables blend perfectly, creating a smooth and luscious texture. This texture, combined with the softness of the pav, offers a delightful taste.
- Street food experience: Pav Bhaji is closely associated with the bustling streets of Mumbai, where it originated. The experience of having Pav Bhaji from street food vendors, who prepare it on large griddles (tawas) with skilful techniques, adds to its charm. It is often served with a dollop of butter, enhancing the taste and providing a rich and indulgent experience.
- Social and communal dish: Pav Bhaji is often enjoyed as a communal meal, where a large serving of the bhaji and a basket of pav are placed in the centre of the table. It brings people together, encouraging sharing and interaction.
Preparing pav bhaji at home isn’t a challenging task; provided you have the best pav bhaji masala and the perfect pav.
To buy pav bhaji masala, ensure that you keep these tips in mind:
- Check for the pav bhaji masala ingredients and ensure that they are of superior quality. Read the ingredients list on the packaging. It should include a blend of spices like coriander, cumin, red chilli, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, etc. Avoid masalas that contain artificial flavours, preservatives, or additives.
- Opt for well-known and trusted brands that have a good reputation for producing quality spice blends. Read reviews or seek recommendations from friends or family who have tried different brands.
- The aroma and flavour of the pav bhaji masala are crucial to achieving an authentic taste. Open the package and take a whiff of the masala. It should have a strong, aromatic scent with a balanced combination of spices. Avoid masalas that have a dull or stale smell.
- Consider your preference for spice levels. If you prefer less heat, look for masalas that mention a mild or medium spice level.
- If possible, opt for masalas that claim to follow traditional recipes or mention their origin, for example, Surya Masala Pav Bhaji Masala. Pav bhaji masalas that use traditional spice combinations and methods are more likely to provide an authentic taste.
- Seek recommendations from experienced cooks, food enthusiasts, or people who have tried different pav bhaji masalas. Their insights and experiences can help you make an informed decision.
If you are planning to buy pav bhaji masala online, Surya Masala is your one-stop shop; having a proud reputation of over 38 years in manufacturing and marketing premium and authentic Indian spices and blended spices in South India.