Category Archives: Appetizers / snacks

Pav – Bhaji Pot Pie – Indian spiced vegetable pot pie

Pav Bhaji is a famous Indian fast food, especially in Mumbai and the regions of Maharashtra. You can find almost every roadside food vendor with a big masher mashing away something on a huge flat round griddle or Tava. And frying some crisp pav or bread.


Pav Bhaji literally means Bread with vegetables. A spicy lovely combination of numerous vegetables, mashed, cooked and saute’d with a magic spice mix! The Pav- fluffy buns are toasted untill crisp on the hot iron tawa, and the Bhaji is served with dollop of butter! The bhaji is garnished with chopped onions, sev and lemon juice! Now this is the epitome of deliciousness and various flavors combined in one dish! I can imagine all you guys out there just drooling over the thought of the last time you had this yummy dish 🙂

Having spent almost all my life in Maharashtra, Pav bhaji was a part of all my growing up years. The birthday parties of my school friends, where the moms served yummy homemade pav bhaji with birthday cake. The special holiday treats when Dad would take us for a pav bhaji meal followed by ice cream! The girls meet up with my best friends during college days, perfect combination of gossip and a yum spicy pav bhaji. 🙂 The life saver and happy meal after a bad day at work ! Gosh I am getting nostalgic!! 🙂

So this is how badly I love Pav Bhaji!! 🙂 And that’s what made me think of this delicious version of  Veggie Pot Pie for a chilly winter evening! This is a beautiful vegetarian option to capture the flavors of the vegetables and a pie! And it’s so worth it when you dive in for a bite full of deep flavors, magically spiced soft vegetables and the flaky crispy pastry! Please try this and you are gonna to love this! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cauliflower florets
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and boiled, cut into large chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper,chopped
  • 4-5 fresh green beans, diced
  • 1/2 cup green peas, fresh or thawed
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped (preferably red onions)
  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped
  • 2 tspn oil
  • 1/2 tspn. turmeric powder
  • 1 tspn chili powder or red chili paste
  • 1 heaped tspn Pav Bhaji masala powder ( Use Everest or Shaan)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tspn sugar
  • Frozen Puff Pastry , thawed ( I used Pepperidge farm pastry sheet)

For garnishing:

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Grated mozarella cheese
  • 2 tspn Lemon Juice
  • Finely chopped onion
  • Crispy Sev (optional)
  • Fresh Butter

Directions: 

  • For the filling, heat the oil in a deep saucepan. Saute the onions in the oil until the onions are golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Then add the cauliflower florets, baby carrots, green beans and green peppers. Mix well, sprinkle with 1/2 tspn salt and fry the vegetables on medium heat. For about 5 minutes.The vegetables should be crunchy but should not turn mushy.
  • Then add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chili powder, sugar and pav bhaji masala, mix well and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • The add in the green peas, and the boiled potatoes. Mix well and saute further for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Taste the filling for salt and Pav bhaji masala, you can add in more of the masala if required. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • At least 1/2 hour before the filling is ready, roll the puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a square.
  • Place the sheet on a cutting board. Directly onto the dough, invert the mini ramekin or the bowl. With a sharp knife, cut around the bowl or ramekin so that you have a perfect circle, leaving a 2 inch space.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Transfer the filling to the ramekins or the bowl you are using for your pot pies. Sprinkle with cheese.
  • Invert the pastry sheet on the ramekin or the bowl, pressing lightly to seal overhanging crust to the side of the bowl. With a fork make small holes in the center of the pastry, this will allow the steam to vent.
  • Place the ramekins on a baking sheet, bake for 20- 25 minutes. After 20 minutes keep checking and bake until the crust is golden brown. Serve hot.
  • Your house will be filled with the smell of the vegetables and the magical spices!
  • Garnish with cilantro and chopped onions, and a dollop of butter. Serve with crispy Indian sev alongside to get that Mumbai feel!

Pan roasted Potato Crisps

If I think of how often I crave for some tempting and spicy appetizer for dinner, it would be almost daily! I love having a spicy crispy side dish with my humble rice and dal dinner! And this is one those recipes which can add fun to your weekday dinners. Also its a super fast tea time snack, spicy crispy just perfect with hot chai !

This is my mum’s recipe, she makes the roasted crisps with potatoes and even eggplants. I love this recipe because it is not deep fried, hence it cuts down on the oil usage and time too! Since its not deep fried, I can have it almost daily without much of the ‘guilt’ baggage. 🙂 It just takes you about 15 mins, so please give it a try and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large unpeeled potatoes, sliced thinly
  • 4 heaping tspns chickpea flour
  • 2 heaping tspns rice flour
  • 1 tspn cornflour
  • 1/2 tspn amchur powder
  • 4 large cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tspn coriander (minced)
  • 1/2 tspn turmeric
  • 1 tspn red chili powder
  • 1/2 tspn Pav bhaji masala / Garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for roasting.

Directions:

  • Slice the potatoes and place them in a bowl of iced water.
  • Mix all the flours in a wide bowl, this blend of flours will make the potatoes crispy.
  • Add in all the other ingredients to the flour mixture and set aside.
  • Heat a nonstick pan, and  brush it with oil.
  • Drain the potatoes but do not dry them. Immediately toss the potatoes in the flour mixture. The mixture should stick to the potatoes.
  • If it seems dry, sprinkle just enough cold water to make the flour coat the potato slices.
  • Lay the potato slices on the pan, and roast the slices on medium heat for about 2 minutes.
  • Then brush oil on the potato slices and turn them on the pan. When both sides are roasted and golden brown, take them off the pan.
  • The potato crisps may turn very slightly charred/burnt during the pan roasting, this will them a nice charred flavor. But do not burn them too much,else they will taste bitter.
  • Serve the potato crisps with tomato ketchup immediately for optimal crunch.

 

Potato – Veg Puffs

Veggie Puffs

Oh my God… veg puffs is my favorite snack and I am super excited about bringing this recipe in my blog!! Although this is a favorite snack back home, this is rarely made my moms at home. We get veg puffs in the famous Iyengar bakeries, the smell of fresh hot vegg puffs near the bakery is absolutely tempting. I can still remember the endless times we’ve had these after college. The first thought that came to my mind when I knew we had an oven in my kitchen was to make puffs!!! 🙂 So here we go…

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed, this will make about 9 puffs)
  • 2 potatoes (boiled)
  • ½ cup fresh/frozen peas
  • 1 big onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tspn Garam masala/Pav bhaji masala
  • ½ tspn Cumin powder
  • ½ tspn Chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tspn Oil
  • 1 tspn lemon juice
Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and saute the onion medium-high heat until they turn golden, for about 3-4 mins. Now add the cumin powder, chili powder, garam masala and salt to taste.Mix well and then add the peas and boiled potatoes, after crushing them randomly by hand.
  • Mix the potatoes and saute for 2 mins, then remove from the heat and add lemon juice and let the mixture cool.
  • Meanwhile spread the thawed puff pastry sheet, and lightly roll to thin it out a little.If the sheets are sticky to handle, then use all purpose flour to roll them evenly. Cut into equal sized rectangles. Place a spoon of the filling on one half of the cut rectangle, and fold the other half diagonally over the filling. Press sides to seal the pastry.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. Keep a close watch after 20 minutes and remove when the puffs turn into golden color.

Veg puff

Roasted bell pepper pasta

When it comes to pasta, penne and macaroni are favorites. And I count them in my comfort food list as they are quick and guilt free (I use wholewheat penne rigate pasta). Penne makes an excellent and versatile pasta for many sauces because of its shape. The hollow center allows it to hold sauce, the angular ends act as scoops and penne rigate’s ridges allow it to hold still more sauce!!

I always like my pasta spicy and chatpata, with an indian spice to it.After all what’s a comfort food…that’s not spicy and hot!! The roasted bell pepper gives a wild spicy flavor and a lovely texture to the sauce. This one must try recipe for all the pasta lovers out there, so here we go!! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 small onion,chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (you can use soy yogurt for a vegan recipe)
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder / cayenne pepper
  • Penne rigate (I used whole wheat pasta)

Directions:

  • Roast red peppers over gas flame, under the broiler, or on the grill. I manage to roast the peppers on my electric stove. Wash the peppers thoroughly.I thread the peppers on a long fork to make roasting easier over the electric burner.Turn on the electric stove burner to high heat. Hold the peppers as close as you can to the heating element without touching it and without risking burning yourself.
  • Watch the peppers closely and turn them as soon as one side begins to blacken. Continue turning until all sides of the peppers are dark. Each side will take between one and five minutes to roast, depending upon temperature and proximity to the heating element.
  • Place the roasted peppers in a paper bag and fold the top of the bag down to seal in most of the steam that the peppers release. Allow the peppers to sweat, let them rest for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the peppers from the paper bag and peel the charred skins from the peppers and remove the skins.For skin that doesn’t come off easily in your hands, use a small knife.
  • Remove the seeds and chop the peppers and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the 2 tspn olive oil over medium heat. Add onion  and garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Blend the chopped roasted peppers with 1 tspn oil to a smooth texture. Now add the red pepper to the pan and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
  • Add freshly chopped parsley and sour cream (if using soy yogurt, beat the yogurt lightly with a fork and take the pan off the heat and mix it well with the red pepper sauce) then season with salt and red chili to taste. I also add 1/2 tspn of store bought chili-garlic sauce to make it hot.
  • Add the cooked pasta and mix well. Let the pasta simmer on low-med heat for 5 mins.
  • Garnish with Parmesan cheese , if desired.