Who doesn’t love a hot plate of Pav Bhaji with a dollop of butter melting in the middle? This spicy lip-smacking dish has been the lifeline of Mumbai for several years. But, did you know that this dish’s origin roots back to the American Civil War in the 1860s?
During the war, the world market was cut off from the Southern United States’ main cash crop — King cotton. This led to an increase in the demand, and cotton mill owners in Bombay (now Mumbai) leapt at this opportunity. They bagged large orders from around the world and mill workers worked around the clock to meet the demands.
For meals, the struggling workers wanted something quick to eat, which was filling but also light on the pockets. Street food vendors used this opportunity to innovate a new dish. They mashed stale and cheap vegetables with an intense mix of masala and served it with leftover bread from bakeries toasted in butter. After a few years, the Portuguese introduced ‘pav’ to the city, which was another delicious addition to the dish.
From being an essential meal for the working class to a crowd favourite, Pav Bhaji is now served across five-star restaurants too.
Watch the video to know more about how the dish came to being: