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Goan Pao Bhaji {Recipe}

I feel it is easier to cook an Indian meal in America than in India. Well, surprisingly! In India every place has a peculiar type of cuisine. The stores are also adopted to only that style of cooking so will stock certain types of stuff and other type of ingredients are hard to find. For example, in Goa it is not in every sweets shop that you’ll find Paneer (cottage cheese). In my part of north India some ingredients key to my mom’s cooking are hard to find. Interestingly this is changing quite a bit with super markets like the Big Bazaar, so things are really not all that bad.

However, it is definitely not like the Indian store over here in USA. One store and I could find all things from drumsticks, Rasam powder (commonly used in the southern parts of India), to frozen stuffed parathas (northern India) to some Bengali pickles (east) and frozen Undhiyu (west). Loving it!

So, when my friend Sheetal expressed an interest in Goan food, I thought of a pao-bhaji – the way they served it at breakfast in my hostel.

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Here’s what you’ll need to make this yummy delight:

1. Dried peas about a cup. Soak them overnight. They’ll grow over twice their size. This is your key ingredient and the rest items like potatoes should be less than the quantity of peas.

2. Potatoes – one small (the ones I had were Huge, so I just used half.) Dice into small cubes.

3. Tomato – Finely chop 1 small one

4. Onion – Finely chop 1 small one

5. Garlic – Finely chop 2 cloves

6. Ginger – Grate about 1/4 inch.

7. Garam masala spice mix (available in Indias store) – 1 tsp

8. Red chilly powder – 1/2 tsp (or to taste)

9. Salt to taste

10. Cilantro – for garnishing

11. Oil – 2 tsp

To make:

1. Cook the soaked peas along with potatoes till done.

2. In a pan heat oil and add chopped onion and garlic. Fry till golden brown.

3. Add ginger, tomatoes and sauté well till tomatoes begin to become tender.

4. Once the mixture starts to leave oil from sides, add the boiled peas + potatoes.

5. Add all the remaining ingredients at this point and let it cook well. (I simply took it off the stove and microwave’d for about 5 mins)

Serve with bread. My husband would’ve liked to add some finely chopped onion, tomatoes, cilantro, green chilly and butter on top along with a hint of lemon juice. He’d also added the Sev (Namkeen) you’d find in Indian store.


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