Appetizer, Fusion, Sides and Snacks

Fusion – Bread pudding meets Aalu chaat and pav bhaji

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Alu or potato chaat and pav bhaji are popular Indian street food. Chaat consists of a few fried components like small crisp balls or puris, flat discs or papdis, flattened rice or poha, thin flaky sticks or sev mixed with cooked potatoes and tossed with sauces such as mint chutney and spicy tamarind chutney. It is topped off with onions, cilantro, green chillies, sometimes tomatoes and cucumber as well. It is like a salad but includes fried and cooked elements. Pav bhaji on the other hand is a hot dish of cooked potatoes with green peppers and tomatoes. It is essentially a spicy side which is scooped up on slider buns or pav and served topped with onions and cilantro.

This recipe is an attempt to marry savoury bread pudding with chaat components to prepare a one-tray dish which can be served as an appetizer.

Start off with few days old bread which is dry. Break it apart into bite sizes pieces. Drizzle hot melted butter and bake for 5 minutes to crisp up lightly. Next spread a seasoned mixture of cooked potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. The vegetables are cooked soft and broken into small bite sized chunks. Finally top off with a mixture of onions, plenty of tomatoes and tons of green peppers, seasoned liberally with chaat seasoning or pav bhaji masala. Bake this for 30 minutes to let the juices drizzle down to the bread layer and get all the flavors mixed up. DONE – cut up a slice and serve with chopped cilantro. If you prefer a crunchy element, sprinkle some sev on top.

My homage to all the delicious chaat items we enjoyed at street corners growing up – with no fear of water contamination or cut up vegetables growing bacteria. Oh well …. we survived it !!

Fusion – Alu chaat and Paav bhaji recipe

Ingredients –

  • Bread slices – broken into small pieces 12-15 slices
  • Cooked vegetables – potato, cauliflower, carrots, sweet potato (broken into bite size pieces) 3 cups
  • Onion – chopped finely 1 large
  • Tomato – chopped finely 6 medium
  • Green Pepper – chopped finely 1 large
  • Cilantro – chopped finely 2 tbsps
  • Chaat masala or pav bhaji masala 3 tbsps
  • Red chilly powder (as needed) 1 tbsp
  • Butter – melted 3 tbsps
  • Oil 2 tbsps
  • Salt

Procedure –

  1. Pressure cook vegetables to soft – potato, sweet potato, carrots, cauliflowers, peas etc.
  2. Mix onions, tomato, green pepper and half the cilantro and toss with salt.
  3. First layer the bread pieces in a rectangular glass dish, pour the melted butter all over the bread and coat with a spatula, press down slightly.
  4. Cook in hot oven at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Carefully remove from oven.
  5. While the bread is in the oven, season the cooked vegetables pieces with oil, chaat masala, red chilly powder, salt and mix to coat.
  6. Spread this vegetable mixture evenly on top of the bread layer.
  7. Finally spread the onion, tomato, green pepper mixture evenly on top. DO NOT COVER.
  8. Bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cilantro on top. Let rest for 10 minutes.

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