Pav Bhaji

For the bhaji
  • 400g/14oz potatoes (peeled weight), any variety, chopped into small chunks
  • 200g/7oz carrots (peeled weight), chopped into small chunks
  • 150g/5½oz cauliflower florets, cut into small chunks
  • 100g/3½oz peas
  • 50ml/2fl oz sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 300g/10½oz red onions (peeled weight), finely chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 15g/½oz fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 400g/14oz tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2–3 green chillies (bird’s eye or similar), chopped and seeds left in
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1–2 tsp tamarind paste (diluted in 100ml/3½fl oz water)
  • 1 tsp red Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 green peppers, seeds removed, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 tsp pav bhaji masala (available from Asian shops or see recipe below)
  • 50g/1¾oz salted butter
  • handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 lime, juice only
For the pav bhaji masala spice blend
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 8–10 black peppercorns
  • 5cm/2in piece cassia bark or cinnamon, broken into pieces
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 black cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp amchoor (mango powder)
  1. To make the masala spice blend, place all of the spices in a blender or spice grinder and blitz to a powder. Keep in an airtight, clean jar and use when required.
  2. To make the bhaji, place the potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and peas in a large saucepan, cover with water and cook until soft. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a separate saucepan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds. As soon as they start to pop, add 250g/9oz onions and cook for 4–5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, chillies and salt and cook for a further 4–5 minutes. Add the tamarind water, chilli powder, turmeric, ground cumin and ground coriander. Mix well and cook for a few minutes. Make sure the tomatoes are properly broken down before adding the green peppers and pav bhaji masala. Cook until the oil start to separate, stirring occasionally so the mixture does not burn. Add the cooked vegetables, stir and cook for 8–10 minutes over a low heat. Once the vegetables are well coated, blend the mixture with a hand blender until all the vegetables are smooth. Add 25g/1oz butter, half of the chopped coriander and half of the lime juice and mix.
  4. To serve, ensure the bhaji is warm and add the remaining butter and onions. Serve in soft rolls finished with a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of coriander to each individual serving.