It’s holiday time in Mumbai and most of the children are at home. It’s also the time when most of the domestic help has gone off on leave or will be going away in the no-so-merry month of May.
In the run up to the long holidays this weekend heralding the month of May, I will bring to you a series of how you can have the Perfect Mumbai Summer.
This post was first published on 9 April 2009 but the roads are still dug up ( Metro work now!) and the bhaji is still good.
When they’re hungry, give them Pav Bhaji
Even though it is on Tardeo’s main road, right opposite the famous Air conditioned market, it took me three trips before I could spot “MAJI SAGAR” hidden behind the leafy trees. I was introduced to its Pav Bhaji through the girls in the office and was quite taken by it. So I made it my life’s mission to track it down. Yesterday I finally succeeded and wolfed down the yummiest Pav Bhaji in town.
I almost missed this pleasure because I reached the restaurant at 11.45 when it was just about opening up. Since all Mumbai roads are dug up, being dug up or just plain inhospitable to parked cars, I was in a rush and barged up to the order counter and placed my order. Mr. JM Shetty the owner was just about settling down to his seat and told me that I’d have to wait at least ten minutes because the bhaji had yet to be assembled. While I was in no major hurry, I was worried about paying a No Parking fine ( since the cops have become more zealous these days and the fines have been increased recently) . Of course Mr. Shetty told me that he’d home deliver and I needn’t wait but there was no way he was going to hurry because the taste would not be the same.
So I had no option but to wait and watch what was happening.
On a huge big tava, the cook piled a huge amount of chopped tomato and as he prodded it and shifted it around begun sending up steam spirals of sizzling tomato. I watched with fascination as he added chunks of boiled potato, a generous amount of some red masala paste and heapfuls of boiled peas . He then stirred and mashed and stirred and mashed with a huge potato masher. Finally he emptied out the whole slab of Amul butter to make it ‘ utterly butterly delicious!’
With the bhaji done, it was time to do the pao. So the bhaji was shoved to one side of the tava and another slab of butter was dunked onto the hot tava. The cook grabbed a “laadi” of soft ,flat pao and slit them in half all through . He then spread it open and dunked it face down on the hot melting butter …………Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm it got even better as the bread absorbed this like a sponge so that when I came home I could have the most gorgeously sinful pao bhaji in Mumbai.
Really it couldn’t get better!
For those who would like to share this gem go to Rajani Mahal, Shop No1 & 2, Opp. Tardeo Air-conditioned Market, Mumbai 400034 or call 2352 9987/2353 9987.
p.s. Mr. Shetty convinced me to try his divine Chinese. Of course this was fusion cooking on another plane because he made me try his innovative “Idly chilli fry!” I must say, it was yummy and I can’t wait to have his other Chinese delights.