You walk by a stall and are suddenly stopped in your steps by the aroma wafting through the tawa. You cannot help but have one. That is the tantalizing temptation that Pav Bhaji arouses in our minds. The pav swimming around in butter, being roasted to a crispy golden brown. The masher blending and mashing potatoes and peas and spices under itself. The rapid chopping of onions and wedging of lemon. And finally that large blob of butter floating on your bhaji. Pav Bhaji is heavenly, and no can deny that. Or rather, no one should deny that!It is this mouthwatering charm of Pav Bhaji that we are celebrating at Naivedyam this month. We owe the origins of our favorite street food to the American Civil War. According to Aakar Patel, when the American Civil War caused a global shortage in supply of cotton, the British Empire turned to its favorite colony, India. Gujarati traders in the Bombay of the latter 1800s, jumped onto this opportunity like a tiger pounces on its prey. This led to rapid booming of the textile trading in Bombay, leading to many setting up their own textile mills in the city. To cater to the traders’ late night trading sojourns and the mill workers’ mid-day meal requirements, pav bhaji got invented!
This simple mish-mash of vegetables and spices was hearty, filling, yet not overpowering enough to put the workers to sleep in the afternoon. Limited as a lunch/dinner option for the textile mill workers till the about 1940, Pav Bhaji truly found its mojo post India’s independence, when Bombay started developing as a cosmopolitan urban center.
Pune being the closest major urban center to Bombay, it wasn’t long before the ubiquitous Bombay street food hit the streets of Pune and made a name for itself. Pav Bhaji stalls appeared all over and soon restaurants too were picking it up. Pune’s Pav Bhaji connection is now decades old. So much so, that in many a minds Pav Bhaji has replaced traditional Pune street favorites like SPDP and Matki Bhel.
As its popularity has grown so has its audience, and to cater to it, the humble Pav Bhaji has taken many different avatars such as Cheese Pav Bhaji, Paneer Pav Bhaji, Mushroom Pav Bhaji, etc. At Naivedyam, you can find your favorite Pav Bhaji in various form factors. Do drop in all this month to taste our mouth-watering Pav Bhaji and find out just why it is everyone’s favorite … because Pav Bhaji is or dish of the month this September!