When I began to make a list for the Blogging
Marathon, I was able to decide on a lot of dishes almost right away. A-H was a
breeze and then came I. I had to use the country superlative for this one.
Either it was going to be our very own India or something Irish. I picked India
of course and chose to make the Indian Ladi Pav or Indian Dinner rolls. I’ve
been meaning to make these for a really long time so this was the perfect time
to try my hand at these.
I for INDIAN LADI PAV:
The Pav/Pao/Pau needs no introduction. It has a
fairly long standing history. Read on.
Lizzie Collingham points out in her authoritative Curry – A Biography, the
Portuguese landed in parts of India (Cochin, Goa etc) where the locals ate
rice. But they missed their crusty bread, and in any case, they needed bread
for Holy Communion. They could find wheat flour in Goa but yeast was hard to
come by. So they started using a few drops of toddy to ferment the dough and
created the various Goan breads we know today: the round gutli, the flat pav,
from Goa that bread first travelled to Bombay and became a staple among locals.
By the time British arrived with their white bread, the Portuguese-Goan pav had
already been well established. And so British bread became an upmarket sort of
dish, useful for making toast or sandwiches. But the food of the streets used
pav, which could be sliced open to stuff an omelette into it or served
alongside a spicy keema or a korma. And Bombay’s Goan community continued to
use it as an alternative to rice. The first pav bhaji stalls were located near
the old Cotton Exchange, because traders waited for the New York cotton prices
(in the ’60s, these were carried prominently in all Bombay papers) that came in
late into the night and early in the morning. But soon the pav bhaji stalls
spread all over the city and by the late ’60s such restaurants as Tardeo’s
Sardar Pav Bhaji were packing them in.”
An article by Vir Sanghvi on foods contributed by the Portugese to Indian
that’s how Pav served up with bhaji in street side stalls became popular as it
is to this day. Pavs are also used to make Vada pav, batter dipped potato balls
deep fried and then slathered with a spicy garlic chutney and placed in between
the Pav. More on the Vada Pav in another post.
milk and add the yeast and sugar. Stir once and set aside for 10 minutes until
all-purpose flour, salt and milk powder in a large bowl. Make a well and add
the proofed yeast mix. Combine and then turn out onto a flat surface. This will
be a very sticky dough. Add the butter and begin to knead. Use a bench scraper
to gather the dough and knead. This process helps develop the gluten. The
stickier the dough the softer the rolls will be.
a good 15 minutes until the dough comes together and forms a ball. It will be a
soft ball, and not as sticky. Apply a little oil and place in an oiled bowl to
double in size in a warm place, about an hour.
hands with flour and punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal portions and
shape into balls. Place in an oiled 8-inch square pan. Cover with a damp towel
and allow to rise for another 45 minutes.
the oven to 400F. Brush the tops of the risen pav with milk and place in the
oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes until tops are brown. Remove from oven and
immediately brush the tops with butter.
cool and use as needed. Freshly baked Pav is out of this world and these didn’t even last until I made a batch of bhaji. My boys enjoyed the soft rolls as is and didn’t quite need an accompaniment. I had a few with my favorite orange marmalade… mmm tasty! I’ll be sure to bake another batch very soon to have them with Bhaji.