To food stuff editor Shilpa Uskokovic, when it will come to home cooking, low-priced is the best compliment. Each and every month, in What a Steal, she’s sharing a really craveable recipe—and showing us how to preserve some $$$ along the way.

In my residence, Friday is officially Fridge Forage Working day, a time to root all-around the fridge (and pantry) like a truffle-hunting piglet, hoping to unearth a treasure. On event, it is some thing lavish like a package deal of mortadella or pristine avocado. Other days, it’s a bruised lemon and extremely suspicious milk. But every single time, the crisper drawer releases some survivors, defeated-looking in their loneliness—a flaccid carrot, a shriveled beet, almost-slimy herbs, broccoli stems from when I was emotion bold and desired to help you save the world, just one gnarly stub at a time. 

I attempt to get inventive with these stragglers, making pickles, frittatas, soups, or pestos. But the issue I make yet again and once more is spicy, stewy pav bhaji—the consummate house of wilted greens and pantry staples. 

Rooted in thrift, pav bhaji originated in the streets of Mumbai as a way to feed textile mill employees immediately and cheaply during their lunch break. Bhaji is a combination of seasonal (and, in switch, inexpensive) vegetables, stewed with onions and tomatoes, burbling away in the concave center of huge solid-iron griddles. Pav is derived from “pao,” the Portuguese term for bread, and is reflective of its affect in the region these golden buns sit along the edge of the griddle, toasting in a slick of nearly-much too-salty butter, awaiting a plate and a hungry client. 

In building pav bhaji, uncostly onions deliver a base of caramelized sweetness. Affordable potatoes bring bulk and texture. From there, the ground is open to whatsoever veggies are overstaying their welcome in your fridge. As a substitute of the carrots named for in this recipe, you can make it employing up beet or broccoli stems. Or include grated zucchini or daikon if you have those on hand. Just continue to keep the amount of greens around the exact volume as the original (around 3 cups). The onions, environmentally friendly bell pepper, and potato are crucial, but anything else is adaptable. 

Whichever vegetables you choose, they are destined to shine, many thanks to your humble spice drawer. This recipe shares a Do it yourself combine, but if you really do not have all of them and really don’t want to stock up (we get it, spices can include up), building pav bhaji is the perfect time to embrace a packaged spice mix. Compared to stocking up on a dozen distinctive elements, premade spice blends can be a smart cut price. There is no scarcity of masalas for chole, sambar, rajma, biryani, and meat curries, and making use of these is a rather prevalent follow in the Indian diaspora. If you can get your arms on a box of pav bhaji masala (MDH or Everest brand are my favorites), substitute 2–3 Tbsp. for the floor spices in the recipe. 

A lavish amount of butter, in the stew and on the buns, can take pav bhaji from affordable to extravagant, so don’t be tempted to minimize back again. Your foraged findings ought to have that very little luxury. 

Pav Bhaji With So Substantially Butter

This iconic Mumbai dish is joyously messy, vibrantly spiced, all way too easy—and did we point out remarkably cheap?

View Recipe

By Taba