Festive recipe tip # 3

We purchased boxes of syrup-soaked Indian sweets from the streets round West Ham United yesterday. And now we must atone for our greediness with this low calorie leftovers recipe all the way from Anjali in Pune/Mumbai.

Pao Bhaji (sometimes spelt Pav Bhaji)

This is the bubble-and-squeak of Bombay, a dish invented supposedly by traders in the vegetable markets to use up left-over veggies. Ignore any firm diktats about what to put in it: the only essential ingredients are a mix of vegetables (including potato), the special pao bhaji masala (a powder available in any shop that sells Indian cooking ingredients), white bread rolls, and copious amounts of butter. The word pao comes from the Portuguese I think and probably so did the white rolls that go with this dish.

12 white buns
Capsicum or whatever else you have lying around
3 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp chilli powder
4 tsp Pav Bhajji masala
Lemon juice (or ideally lime)
1′ piece ginger, grated
2 green chillies finely chopped
Fresh coriander (optional)

Boil/steam the vegetables apart from tomatoes and onions. Fry the onions at a low heat till translucent. Add the tomatoes and all the spices and fry for a bit. Add all the other cooked vegetables and mash like mad, while still cooking. Keep tasting. Throw in liberal amounts of butter. You should wind up with a buttery mess that looks like it belongs to quite another part of the food chain but tastes oddly mouth watering. Garnish it with lime juice and the fresh coriander. Now toast the rolls (pao) and butter them liberally (by now the approach to the dish should be making sense). Serve buttered rolls with the bhaji and eat while hot. You might want to have a cup of tea and a bit of a rest after that as the pacifying qualities of the butter kick in.

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