Pav bhaji (Spiced mashed vegetables with soft rolls)

Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Serves 10
Pav bhaji (Spiced mashed vegetables with soft rolls)
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Combine the potatoes, carrot, cauliflower, bell pepper and peas in a large (3 1/2 --quart) saucepan. Add 2 3/4 cups water and one-half teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Cook on medium-high heat until very tender, about 30 minutes. Do not drain. Use a potato masher to mash the vegetables and the liquid together to make a fine paste. Set aside.


Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the cumin seeds and fry until they sputter, about 1 minute. Add 2 1/2 cups diced onions and fry until translucent.


Add the pav bhaji masala, ginger-garlic paste, salt to taste and the chili powder. Stir to combine. Add the tomatoes; stir and cook 4 minutes. Add the mashed vegetable paste to the onion-tomato mixture and mix well. Cook 5 minutes.


Add the butter and lemon juice. Stir to combine.


Remove the vegetables from the pan, spooning into a serving bowl and leaving about a tablespoon of the mixture in the pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and stir to incorporate as it melts. Place the rolls cut side down in the pan and cook in the butter-vegetable mixture until lightly toasted.


To serve, garnish the mashed vegetables with cilantro leaves. Serve with the toasted rolls, chopped onions, whole serrano chiles and lemon wedges.

From Preet Kamble of Bombay Bite. Cumin seeds, pav bhaji masala (spice mix), ginger-garlic paste and Indian red chili powder are available in Indian markets and in the Indian food sections of selected grocery stores.

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