Pav Bhaji Dip with Nachos
THEME:#187 DESI TWIST
When this interesting theme was announced by Kalyani who blogs at Sizzling Tastebuds, I was a little confused. Do we cook a western dish with some desi twist to it or cook a desi (Indian) dish and give it a western twist. Fortunately she explained what she wanted us to do, give the Indian dish a western twist. Confused still?? I’m still frowning and thinking. However the recipe below will explain how I understood the theme.
Coming to Kalyani’s blog, its worth a visit as she has many healthy and vegan recipes. Find some interesting egg free bakes too.
When I had to decide what to make, my choice was limited to the ingredients present in my kitchen as soon I’ll have to close this kitchen(Bangalore home) down as I’m traveling in April. I didn’t want to buy any new ingredients. Luckily, I had brought some spices from my Mombasa kitchen and one of them was a bit of taco seasoning. So the whole recipe had to revolve around that ingredient. Did you know that now the nachos sold in India are not just the imported ones but some local ones too? I had bought a packet of nachos manufactured by Parle and liked them. So nachos and taco seasoning gave rise to an interesting dip. Pav bhaji is a quintessential street food and very popular. Its basically mixed vegetables cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices, meshed up a bit and served with lightly toasted buns. The main taste is from the pav bhaji spice mix which can be ready made or homemade.
With Holi coming up soon and people looking for different snack ideas, I thought this would be perfect. Make the pav bhaji dip the previous day and serve it with nachos.
You may wonder what is Pav Bhaji. Pav in Hindi is bread and bhaji is a curry or vegetable. For pav bhaji, a mixture of vegetables are cooked with onion, tomatoes, garlic and special pav bhaji masala (spice mixture) is added. The bhaji is mashed up coarsely and served with a heavily buttered pav or bun which is lightly toasted on a big pan or tawa on which the bhaji is made. Its a very famous street food all over India.
Instead of the usual veggies like peas, potatoes, carrots, cauliflower I also added broccoli stems, mushrooms and zucchini. Instead of the pav bhaji spice mixture I used taco seasoning. Indian and Mexican cuisine use similar spices so it was not that difficult to make this starter dish. You have the option of grinding the cooked veggies or bhaji coarse or into a thick smooth paste. Mine was the latter as its not messy at all to eat. No dripping and the dip can be easily scooped up by the nacho.
PAV BHAJI DIP WITH NACHOS
5 cups of mixed vegetables ( I used peas, mushrooms, cauliflower. carrot, beans, broccoli stems, zucchini)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1½ cups fresh tomato puree
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 – 2 tsp taco seasoning
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1-1¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh spring onion
2-3 tbsp finely chopped tomato
Some nachos, flavor of your choice
Preparation of the bhaji:
- Prepare the vegetables, peeling and chopping them all more or less equal size. I usually use peas as the guideline.
- Steam or boil carrots, peas, beans, potatoes, broccoli stalk if you’re using any.
- Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
- Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
- Add chopped onion and stir fry them till it becomes soft and begins to brown a little.
- Add garlic and ginger paste. Stir fry them for a few seconds.
- Add chopped zucchini, cauliflower, mushrooms if you’re using any at this stage. Mix well.
- Cover the pan and let the vegetables cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tomato puree, red chili powder, chopped coriander and salt.
- Cover the pan and let the tomato puree cook for 2-3 minutes over low heat or till the vegetables are done.
- Add the steamed or boiled vegetables. Add water. Mix well. Cover the pan and let the vegetables cook further for 4-5 minutes. The vegetable mixture or bhaji should not be watery.
- Add the taco seasoning and lemon juice. Mix well. Take the pan off the heat.
- Let the bhaji or veg mixture cool down a bit. Puree it with a hand blender or in a food processor.
- Mix the chopped spring onion, coriander and tomato together.
- Sprinkle with a bit of salt if you like.
- Sprinkle it on the dip and serve with nachos of your choice.
- Use vegetables of your choice.
- Adjust the seasoning according to your taste.
- Serve with lemon wedges on the side.
- The dip tastes good even when its cold. You may serve it cold or warm.
- For more variety serve the dip with pita chips, potato chips, celery sticks, croutons etc.
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