Oriental Trading! 

Bhaji Bao 

You don’t understand the true value of “mom made” food until you only get that opportunity a few times a year! And when that mom made food happens to be Pav Bhaji (“vegetarian sloppy joes meet Indian spicy hash browns” would be the best description, I think), then it’s a whole different level of happiness! But, hang on, I’m not done yet. When that Pav Bhaji is cooked by my mom (which is way better than your mom’s), the feeling is impossible to describe in words. No, you’d definitely need a bowl and a tasting spoon for that! 

Now what could I do with my mom’s leftover Pav Bhaji? A) I’d take a moment to be shocked because that would be totally unprecedented. B) I’d give it a makeover. You see, that’s kind of what I do! 

Ingredients (for the Bao) 

  • 1 tsp active dry yeast 
  • 1/4+ 1/8 cup hot (about 100 degrees water) 
  • 1+1/2 tbsp oil (canola/olive) + extra for greasing & brushing 
  • 1+1/4 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tbsp sugar 

Preparation (for the Bao)

    1. Add the yeast into the hot water in a bowl and let it sit covered for a minute. Add the oil.
    2. In a larger bowl, sift the rest of the ingredients together and gradually mix in the wet ingredients. 
    3. You should not need more flour but if too dry, occasionally wet your hands and keep kneading till you get a nice soft dough. 
    4. Work the dough till it springs back on touching. Put it in a large, oiled bowl. 
    5. Cover loosely with a clean dish towel and let it proof in a warm place for about an hour, till it doubles up in quantity. 
    6. Cut 4 square parchment papers about 4-5 inches wide. 
    7. Once the dough has doubled, divide into 4 equal parts. 
    8. Roll them all out into ovals. (You won’t need to dust or grease) Each should measure about 3 by 5 inches in size. Brush the tops with oil. Fold in half and set aside on the parchments on a plate. 
    9. Cover and let them proof for 20 more mins. 
    10. Steam them in a steamer over boiling water for about 5-6 minutes. 
    11. Remove from heat and let them cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

    Ingredients (for Bhaji Bao)

      • Leftover Pav Bhaji : about 1 – 2 cups (use your family recipe if you have any or google/YouTube it! )  
      • 4 prepared Bao buns
      • Sliced spring onions for garnish 
      • Sliced green chili pepper (deseeded) for garnish, optional 
      • Chopped cilantro for garnish 
      • Sliced onions (very thinly) for garnish 


        1. Scoop a couple spoonfuls of Bhaji in the Bao buns
        2. Add the toppings according to taste. 
        3. Feel free to top the buns with sweet and sour date & tamarind chutney (available in most Indian groceries) if you don’t like your food too spicy.

        Note: you can also stuff ragda/ rajma or whatever leftover “stuff” you may have in these Bao buns! 

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