Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pav Bhaji/Bread With Mashed Masala Vegetables

Most popular and commonly found street food in India and now served in upscale restaurants as well . I was pregnant with Manasi and had huge cravings for Pav Bhaji in my 1st trimester :) It so happened that our flat in Pune was walking distance from this popular eating joint called,"Kinara" this place was very popular for its Pav Bhaji and I refused to cook anything at home then,every time I was hungry I would ask Mahir to take me to Kinara :) No wonder Manasi loves pav Bhaji,that reminds me-maybe I should take her to Kinara this time when I visit Pune,let me see what she thinks of the Pav Bhaji which she practically grew up on those first three months inside the tummy:)

I love the fact that this fun food is so simple to put together and tastes absolutely fantastic,I have yet to figure out how to prepare the pav bhaji masala at home right from scratch but meanwhile the store bought shall serve the purpose.

Here goes:
Boiled Potato: 2 medium boiled and mashed
Carrots: 2 medium sized boiled and mashed
Green peas: 1 cup boiled and mashed
tomato's: 4 medium boiled skinned and pureed
Ginger paste: 1 tsp
garlic: 1 tsp
pav bhaji Masala: 3 tbsp or to your taste
salt: 1 tsp
green chilli: 2 chopped very fine
Cilantro: 2 tbsp chopped for garnishing
onion: 2 medium sized chopped (some chopped very fine for garnishing)
Oil: 4 tbsp
Lime juice: 3 tbsp


Take a big kadai and heat oil,drop the  chopped onions in  the oil along with ginger & garlic when it turns hot ( save little for garnishing) saute the onions till they turn a nice golden color

To this add the boiled and mashed potato's and green peas and carrots.Mash these well and add the tomato puree and add the pav bhaji masala along with chopped green chillis and continue to mash this with the back of the spoon. There should be no big pieces of carrots or potatos. Cook for some more time and add salt,when ready to serve garnish with cilantro and very fine chopped onions and squeeze some lemon juice. You can also serve it with a pat of butter for lunch,dinner or even as an evening snack.

For the Pav:

Take the pav and brush some butter on the griddle , when hot heat the pav on both sides and let these turn a little brown on the edges. Serve with bhaji :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Braided Paneer& Potato Bread

aaah :)!!! It feels nice to be writing and reading posts by other blogger friends. I feel charged and rejuvenated after a good 10 days break.Mahir and Manasi were home and we spent some wonderful family time.Visited friends ,watched movies,slept late and woke up late and ate some  good food cooked by friends. Oh yes- we also happened to be driving back from New Jersey on the 26th December the dreadful day when east coast was hit by a major nor'easter. We drove 20-30 miles an hour and got home in 3 1/2 hours,but it felt nice to be home safe :)  I cannot describe how special and blessed we felt after having braved the 3/12 hour ordeal on the roads , now back in the luxury and safety of our home :) The night was spent by the fire place enjoying chicken biryani which I had cooked the day before and freezed for later use. We woke up on the morning of 27th to find 11/2 feet of snow on our deck. New year's eve was spent in Schenectady NY,with friends- playing pictionary and dumb charade and eating yummy food and dancing to ring in the New Year :)

I had fun going through all the lovely posts today and the post that instantly caught my eye was Aipi's -Braided paneer bread. It was love at first sight  with this beauty and I was lucky to have found all the ingredients handy.I set out to make this wonderful looking bread with all my favorite ingredients. Aipi I was not sure I would do justice to the bread you had created so well but I  must admit the recipe is so well illustrated and described that the bread actually turned out perfect and I am glad I made it as Manasi also loved it and I am sure Mahir will ,once he gets back from work and gets to taste it.

I have basically done the exact same thing except for the yeast,I have used the dry yeast in place of the rapid rise yeast that the original recipe calls for. I let the yeast sit in 1/4  cup of warm water along with sugar  instead of milk and later on after the yeast was frothy and bubbly I added the milk and reduced the quantity by 1/4  cup. Other than that everything is the same.

All purpose flour: 11/2 cup
wheat Flour: 1 cup
Instant Dry yeast: 1/2 tbsp
Warm water: 1/4 cup ( to dissolve yeast)
Sugar: 1/2 tbsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Olive Oil: 2 tbsp
Milk: 1/2 cup warm and some more to brush the bread before baking
Sesame seeds: 1/2 tsp

Filling For Bread:
Paneer/cottage cheese: grated 1 1/2 cup
Boiled potato's: 2 medium peeled and chopped into tiny pieces
Green peas: boiled 1 cup
Fennel seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Hing: a pinch
salt: to taste
Red pepper: to taste
Chaat Masala: 1 tsp
Mango Powder/amchur: 1 tsp
Garam masala: 1 tsp
Green chilli: 1 chopped fine
Cilantro: chopped 2 tbsp
Oil: 2 tbsp
Take a pan and heat oil,then add fennel , cumin and hing/asfoetida ,when it starts to splutter add the green peas along with  boiled and chopped potato's.Add all the dry masalas, and then add the grated paneer and give it a good stir and add chopped cilantro and keep it aside to cool down.

For the bread:
Take 1/4 cup warm water in a bowl and add yeast and sugar and keep it in a warm place for 10 minutes or till it becomes bubbly and frothy.
Take all purpose flour along with wheat flour and add 2 tbsp oil along with salt and mix it well. Then take the  alive yeast and add 1/2 cup warm milk to it and knead the flour,if you need more liquid to knead the flour take some more warm milk. When the dough is ready take some oil on your palms and coat the kneaded dough well with the oil and then leave it in bowl covered with a wet kitchen towel and keep it in warm place to rise. It will take about an hour to double in size.
Note: I had to use more liquid to knead the flour since I used the golden temple wheat flour which has a lot of husk and is very dry.

When the dough is double its size,take it out and with your fist deflate the dough.Roll it on floured surface into an oblong shape about 15 inches inches long and 8 inches wide.

Keep the paneer/cottage cheese and potato filling in the centre and make slits on either sides of the rolled out oblong,making sure they are even  and equal on both sides. Now fold them on either side like a braid making sure the filling is secure. You can take the loose ends and fold them under the bread or do an overlapping as shown in the picture. Cover this with a wet cloth and leave it in warm place to rise again for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. When the bread has doubled in size again ,take off the wet cloth brush the bread with milk and sprinkle sesame seeds and leave it in the oven till it turns golden brown ,it takes about 15- 20 minutes. Let it sit out till it is warm then make slices and enjoy with green chutney or tomato ketchup,mine just flew away between the three of us :) Oh yes- Mahir loved it :)