March 11, 2017

Homemade Pav

In Bangalore, one of the things I used to miss badly was the Pav we get in Mumbai. It is super soft, very stretchy and tasty. In Bangalore pav is available, but hardly any different from bread in if you try to tear it in the middle to put vada (for vada pav) it would break instead of tearing neating. If you know, like and understand pav, you'll get what I am trying to say :)

And so I tried making pav at home from online recipes, in pressure cooker. First try was a flop, the pav was hard. Second try was much better, read: only better, not great; and I had it with chai. I like the chai and pav combo.  After that I never tried, had given up.

Now, our short-term move to the US has given me access to the magic machine, Oven. So one beautiful morning I found this big cauliflower in the refrigerator. No, it didn't grow there.. was part of groceries of last week. I decided to make pav bhaji , I mean the bhaji of the pav bhaji. Later that night for dinner, the bhaji would be accompanied by chapati. Then I remembered that now I have Oven and why not try pav all over again with a positive mind.

Success! Soft, spongy and tasted like.. umm... PAVS!
We relished dinner like never before.. we do have tasty dinners often 🙊 but this one was straight from my own city and completely homemade :)

The back

Spongy inside

Maida/All purpose flour - 1.5 cup  (Yields 5 pavs)
Water + milk - half cup (I used equal quantity of water and milk)
Baking soda - half tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp (any oil available in your kitchen)
Salt - half tsp
Milk for applying on ready-to-bake Pav
Butter for applying on ready-to-eat Pav

Before you begin:
Getting the yeast ready (Proofing the yeast): If you are using Instant yeast, skip this step; add instant yeast directly to the dough while kneading.
Take Active dry yeast - a little less than 2.5 tsp (call it 2 tsp and a quarter tsp) in a bowl and add 2 tsp water, 1 tsp milk and 1 tsp sugar. The water and milk should be warm, not cold. Mix it very well.
In about 10-15 minutes, the mixture will become bubbly and frothy. This is when the yeast mixture is ready to use.

How I prepare:
  1. Combine Flour, baking soda and salt with your hands. Add the frothy yeast mixture. Add water+milk slowly and knead just like you do for chapati. If the dough is getting too sticky, add some some flour. 
  2. Halfway through, add the one tbsp oil and knead full power. Convince yourself that this is the step you got to excel in, to get those soft pavs. Knead knead till the heel of your palm aches. Ahh. ok that's about it.
  3. All that kneading will give you a soft non-sticky dough. Keep it in a big bowl covered, giving it enough room to rise. In about an hour, the dough should rise to double it size. At this point, just push and punch and... and there you go, knead again. 
  4. After kneading for the second time, make slightly oval balls with the dough - size: smaller than a normal pav. Roll well between both palms ensuring no cracks. Keep them in the baking tray close to each other, yet not touching. They shall touch each other willingly soon, please do not prompt. Cover them with a cloth, give some privacy :)
  5. While the pavs rise, preheat oven at 400 degrees farenheit for 15 minutes.
  6. After at least 30 minutes to 45 minutes, remove the cloth, the pavs would have increased in size, sticking to each other. Brush with milk, this helps in getting the brown colour. I just applied with fingers.. didn't buy a brush yet.
  7. Place the tray in oven (at the same temperature of 400 deegrees F) till the top turns brownish. Mine took about 15 minutes. Do not go by the time, start checking after 10-12 minutes.
  8. After you take the tray out, brush the pavs with butter for some buttery flavour and so that they do not become dry when it's time to dig in. 
  9. If you have a cooling rack, keep the ready pavs on it; or, turn the pavs upside down on the tray or a plate so that the bottom does not get moist due to heat condensation.
Enjoy homemade delicious pavs in various forms... vada pav, misal pav, pav bhaji.. the list is endless. However you have it, it's going to be special because it's homemade and super-yummy!

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