Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mumbai Pav Bhaji - Maska Maarke :) !!

"If you'd like to make a call...
...Pls Hang Up & Call Again!"

Recently, I have come across many a blogs which said how the blogging souls learned every bit of their cooking from their each of their mothers had a signature dish, which turned out unbelievably good every single time they attempted it! While reading such stuff, I often try to recall hard as i can of one such dish which my mother taught me. Hmm -but sadly in vain... fail to remember :( tho no worries there ! My mother was very decent when it came to cooking, She was good but she never really tried hard to cook something.. you know..hmmm really really good. I believe she takes that after her mother - yes ! that's my 'AAJI' i.e  My grandmother. My mother always had help with her cooking just like her mother and my 'aaji' has even now ! 
Just recently, I remember calling up my 'aaji'  wanting to ask her the recipe for 'Sandge' -some fried stuff she has couriered to me. Let me inform you all, that she absolutely has no clue whatsoever on how they are supposed to be cooked, but then too she has couriered them to me hoping that I would cook something nice out of it without the recipe! Great expectations! Next, I receive my courier here in the USA and think of calling her up for the recipe. So, I pick up the phone and dial her number-she lives in Pune, India (my hometown). Aaji answers the phone and while I am asking her for the recipe for cooking 'sandge', I hear somebody in  the background  prompting her the recipe ...that's Ragini ! you guys remember Ragini ? Yes-that's her ! (for those who are clueless and want to know more about Ragini-refer to my post on 'Batata Vada') I then asked my grandma to hand over the phone to Ragini. Ragini answered the phone with greetings and shared her recipe for 'Sandge' which sounded rather yummylicious! So heres "A Big Thank You" to you Ragini !

While talking to her on the phone I remembered what a character she used to be and after all these years I am sure she still is. I guess some characters are simply meant to be! But yet a wonderful person who brings back zillions of beautiful memories from my childhood! While talking to Ragini on the phone I couldn't help but recall this funny and yet another confusing episode of my life ! 
Now for that, let me just rewind and give you a bit of narration to what exactly happened...
This was sometime in the year 1994 ! My mother along with Ragini was in the kitchen making 'Pav-Bhaji'. Did I just hear you say where I was ? and what I was doing ?  

Well, I was amidst my friends in our front porch. It was sometime in the evening-our evenings then were often ..more often filled with high pitched voices and girly-giggles, nobody ever cared of people talking behind our backs. We mostly believed in looking good than feeling good. Our motto was more focused on unleashing our inner drama queens.. but believe me none of us were half as evil as we seemed to be. We were a bunch of clever, funny, witty and creative friends glued together who were very often misunderstood ! Reason being- a few were always seen around throwing dimples ..if you know what i mean here:) I hate to admit this but we did worship the 'B' Syndrome then ! :d eh ? Did I hear that right ? Okay let me explain  THE 'B' Syndrome to you ! To begin with - 'B' for Brains, 'B' for Beauty, 'B' for Books "ahem ahem" and the most important 'B'...uhh ohh you got me there !...What I meant was the most important 'B' was for Being Yourself ! duh-What were you thinking ?... Really Toooooo MucH ya! 

But anyways, so here we were exchanging a few words of wisdom on many engrossing topics-which actually made no sense. Yup ! we were at it when the phone bell rang. Ragini who was in the kitchen answered the phone. We had and still have the phone connections in almost every room, the phone wasn't misused when Mama was around..uh uhh.. Trust me for once - NEVER !. My room was located on the first floor, which had a balcony - wow ! Some memories never fade away !...hmm anyways. I'l come back to those later ;). So, the phone bell rang and Ragini answered the phone. Mother had installed an indoor 'Ding-Dong' bell in her kitchen. 'Ding Dong' was for me and 'Ding Dong Ding Dong' was for dada(my brother). She made sure that she would never have to yell out our names...just in case we were upstairs in our rooms all locked up ...'pakaoing khichdi' i.e plotting and planning and doing stuff we were rather not allowed to ;) ...there were certain rules which were to be followed once we heard the bell ring-for us! 

So, yeah now back to Ragini (by now she must be choking with all the hiccups ..dear sweet lord bless her), she answered the phone and hit the bell ONCE! Ohh WoW !! You are damn smart !You got it so right-That was for me:) As I was out with my friends, I could not hear the bell ring. Ragini then came out to the porch saying "manu, there is a call for you". I asked her who it was and she replied it was RAJU. I then said, I knew no RAJU hence won't answer the call. She then went inside and came back in a jiffy and said again "It's RAJU from Mumbai".  "Ohhkay" I calmly said and repeated myself saying "I have no clue who this guy is and hence won't be answering the phone"! She nodded as if she understood every single word and rushed back to the phone/kitchen. In less than a minute she returns to tell me that this guy was from my college. I was clueless and sorta mad at her and asked her not to entertain the call and hang up immediately ! She rushed back hurriedly to the kitchen again.  
By now, my friends did start giving me that classic look- Yes, that look which meant-there was something waiting for me in the kitchen, they vouched that it wouldn't be interesting at all and that I'd rather go inside and check what the matter was all about. I knew my mother very well, she wouldn't fake a call. Never! She would rather come out and give me a earful even if I was amongst my dear friends..I was sure if it was something serious she wouldn't care less  I was with my friends and would rather lecture me (not in a very good way) in front of them! Wow !! a serious Wow there !

As we were busy looking at each other, wondering who it could be, I heard my mother calling out my name, this time very furiously  " MANU...What is wrong with you ? Why won't you take the call ? " I am totally dumbfounded but I try to look at her and tell her the exact thing I had been telling Ragini "I have no clue who this 'RAJU' from Mumbai is " with that look which softly said "is it so difficult to understand?" My mother than comes close to me... bends towards me... stares in my eyes, at this point of time I don't tremble but my friends do ..and tells me "It's RAJEEV MUMBAIKAR"  'RAAA JEEV' - do you get it now? ,he wants to talk to you go and have a word with him...poor fellow has been waiting for you on the phone for the past 15 minutes" then continues talking to herself  addressing us as "Hopeless creatures..all they do is giggle all day and night!..why circulate your numbers if you are not interested in answering the calls?"  

..Making faces I simply get up to answer the phone. As I am heading towards the phone I look behind and I see my friends mouthing me ...suchha 'SL-BR' ! 
Well it means- 'Sore Loser-Beyond Repair' :(

Okay !!! now there seems to be quite a confusion let me help you- to begin with 'Rajeev Mumbaikar' is a dear friend of mine, has always been one heck of a sweetheart ! Ragini on the other hand kept pronouncing his name completely incorrect ...there is a difference in saying and pronouncing 'RAJU' (which ends with a 'OOO' ) and 'RAJEEV' ( which ends with a 'EEV'  as in 'EVE' and not 'EW'....whew !!! )  ..Right ? Do you agree ppl ? 
Yes ! you do ? We are so cool , rather KEWL then ;) 

On that nutty note, listen to a naughty song :- and please try this not so nutty and neither naughty Recipe for 'Pav-Bhaji-Maska Maarke"

Preparation Time :- Approx 30 mins
(excl. pressure cooking time)
Cooking Time :- 20-25 mins
Serves : 4 People (2 pavs each)

1 Cup of cauliflower florets
1 Cup of green peas
1 Cup chopped carrots
1 Cup of chopped
capsicum /green bell pepper
1/2 Cup of finely chopped onions
1 1/2 Cup of chopped tomatoes
2 Cups of boiled potatoes
2 tbsp of ginger-garlic paste
1/2 cup butter
1 tbsp of Everest Pav Bhaji Masala
1 tbsp of Red chilli powder (optional)
1/2 tbsp  of turmeric powder (optional)
1/2 - 1 Cup of warm water
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt to taste

For The Garnishing:-
1 tbsp of chopped cilantro/coriander
1 finely chopped onion/onion rings
a few lemon wedges

1. Pressure cook mixed vegetables and peas till well done and then mash them coarsely after draining.
2. In a pan heat 1-2 tbsp of butter.
3. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute, then add the finely chopped onions and saute for another minute or so.
4. Now add the pressure cooked veggies i.e capsicum, carrots, cauliflower and peas and saute for about a minute or two.
5. Add the chopped tomatoes and mix and mash with all the veggies together.
6. Now add the boiled potatoes, mash these with the above veggies. Make sure they all blend together into a fine paste.
7. Saute for 2-3 minutes till very soft.
8. Now,add Everest Pav Bhaji masala , red chilli powder, turmeric, salt, and saute further 2-3 minutes.
9. Add warm water and bring it to boil.
10. Simmer till gravy is thick, stirring and mashing pieces with masala, in between.
11. Add lemon juice, stir.
12. Garnish with chopped coriander and a blob of butter.
For The Pav:-
Slit pavs horizontally leaving one edge attached. (To open like a book).
Apply butter (as desired) and roast open on a griddle till hot and soft with the surface crisp on both sides.

***I found a very interesting video on 'Pav-Bhaji' on youtube which I wanted to share it with you my readers here it is