Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pillowy Goodness: Laadi Pav

A few weeks ago, as we were relaxing at home in the evening, the doorbell rang and I nearly jumped out of my skin. It was only some friends dropping in but the reason for my startled jumpy response was a simple one: no one *ever* comes to the door here. This is in stark contrast to homes in India, where my general experience is that there is not a moment's silence from dawn to dusk as a procession of tradespeople arrives at the door in a never-ending stream. I think my Grandmother's home in Bombay is an extreme case, where, at some point, my grandmother and aunt got tired of the jangling doorbell and now just prop the door open all day. From the dudh-walla (milkman) and the paperwalla (newspaper guy) heralding the start of a new day, to the phool-walli (flower-lady) who comes bearing fragrant flowers and garlands for the evening puja, life hums along to a steady beat in that home. Some folks want to conserve energy and avoid making the trek to the 4th floor walk-up apartment, so they will just holler from the street below. Then someone rushes to the balcony and leans over and discusses the transaction. For instance, the fisherwoman, Leelu, will arrive around mid-morning with a basket of fish balanced on her head and a sparking diamond ring flashing in her nose, stand on the street outside and yell out my aunt's name. My aunt will yell back and ask her what fish she has today, and after much yelling back and forth, Leelu might either climb up or my aunt will send one of her kids down to seal the deal. My mother tells me that my Grandmother (a confirmed carnivore) even had a muttonwalla come to the door for several years! Aai always has a look of horror when she says this, partly from memories of fresh meat being hacked to pieces at the front door, and partly from sheer consternation at meat being sold from door to door out of an open basket in a hot and tropical city. Notwithstanding food safety rules and regulations, I don't think anyone ever got sick from eating the stuff. One person who can be counted on to show up every day is the pav-walla, bring along slabs of bread called laadi pav, which have a cripsy crackling crust and an airy and ridiculously soft interior. Halved pav with soft salty Amul butter slathered inside. Living halfway across the globe from Bombay, now that's the stuff that money can't buy.

I won't lie to you: I don't think I could survive the relentless cacophony of that sort of life, and like my peace and quiet, thank you very much. But to have fresh bread, fruits, vegetables, flowers arriving at the doorstep- that would be quite a treat, wouldn't it? More than anything, it is the relationship that grows between you and the person bringing you the food; my aunt is very particular about treating these folks as extended family. They in turn always bring her the best of everything.

OK, you think I have rambled on enough for one post? Here is my attempt to make some of that laadi pav at home. This post on Jugalbandi is a must-read essay about this incredible bread that Bombayites know and love. I tried to make my imitation pav using the Tender Potato Bread recipe from the Daring Bakers. I had used that bread recipe to make khara buns, thanks to Shilpa, and was struck by the pav-esque quality of the bread. Hence this attempt.

I would not call this an easy recipe. This dough is difficult to handle- it is extremely sticky. But the whole process was really enjoyable for me, with lots of therapeutic kneading involved. Although it is called potato bread, there really is only 1 large potato for 18 hearty rolls, so it is not potatoey by any means, but the presence of the potato yields beautiful results in terms of texture. I also used this dough to make pizza crust and I am afraid it did not work so well; the dough is a little too soft and sticky for that (maybe it needed a bit more flour). I would *strongly* suggest reading Tanna's detailed post for many helpful notes about this recipe. The potato bread posts from the Daring Bakers will likewise provide insights from hundreds of home bakers who have tried this recipe. We can learn from their experiences! I have adapted the recipe so that nearly half the flour is now whole wheat, and have halved the recipe. I loved the fact that the recipe made exactly 2 slabs of pav using pans that I have on hand.

Potato Bread Laadi Pav

(Adapted from Tanna's post, Recipe from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Tradition Around the World by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, makes 18 rolls)
1 large baking potato (the floury kind)
0.5 T + 0.5 t salt
1 t active dry yeast
0.5 T butter, softened
2 C + 0.5 C all-purpose flour
2 C white whole-wheat flour
1. Combine the 2 C AP flour, 2 C W-WW flour and 0.5 T salt in a bowl and set aside. Keep the 0.5 C AP flour separate.
2. Wash, peel and chop the potato. Combine potato, 2 C water, and 0.5 t salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until potato is very tender. Strain the potatoes and place in a large bowl (save the cooking water). Mash the potatoes finely. Measure out 1.5 C of the cooking water and add it to the bowl.
3. Let the mashed potato-potato water cool down almost to room temperature (or barely warm), then stir in the yeast. Leave aside for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in 0.5 C AP flour into the yeast mix and set aside for 5-10 minutes.
5. Mix in the softened butter, then stir in about half of the flour mixture a little at a time, incorporating it well.
6. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, then add the rest of the flour slowly, kneading well. It takes 10-15 minutes of kneading to result in the final dough.
7. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover and let it rise for 1.5-2 hours, until doubled in volume.
8. Take 2 buttered pans- I used a 9X13 rectangular one and an 8X8 square one. Knead the risen dough for a couple of minutes, then divide it into 18 equal portions (First into 2 portions, then each into 3 portions, then each into 3 portions again).
9. Form each portion into a compact ball. Arrange 12 balls in the larger pan and 6 balls in the smaller one. Cover the pans and let the rolls rise again for 35-45 minutes.
10. Brush the top of the rolls with olive oil. Bake in a 400F pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown. Serve right away!

Vegan version: Use vegan margarine instead of butter.

We enjoyed this laadi pav with (what else but) pav bhaji. These rolls would also work beautifully to make my other favorite street foods, such as vada pav and to soak up some flavorful misal, and something called dabeli, which I will post soon. I also love eating fresh pav dunked in any spicy curry such as chana (chickpea) masala, as a change from the usual pairing with rotis and rice. Needless to say, these rolls would be perfect for making all kinds of sandwiches, whether they are Indianized or not. If you have any left over, the rolls toast beautifully.

I think I might be falling in love with potato bread. Yikes! Luckily, Tanna is doing a whole series of different types of potato breads on her blog, and I can't wait to try them. Homemade bread, whether yeasted or of the flatbread persuasion, is such good fun. And good eats.

*** *** ***

My project this month is to make the crisp and hollow puris that are used to make pani-puri. I'd like to ask you all: Have you ever tried making these at home? What recipe did you use and what was the experience like? How did they turn out? Any advice is much appreciated. Thank you!

I'll leave you with my Daily Tiffin post for January: The Simpler Life.


  1. I totally relate to what you mean by produce coming to our doorsteps. Sometimes I do miss the hustle and bustle that we experience in India, day-in and day-out. Here the silence is deafening. I made these potato rolls too, but I served with lentil soup. Boy, are they sticky.

  2. what a coincidence.!! thsi mornign i was raving to my american collegue how i miss the garam-ladi-pav from Bombay. Our pav-walla was a Muslim guy,but on my study break leave,he would see our home light on and deliver one of the freshest hot ladi pavs first to our house before anywhere else.garam pav +butter + sugar!! HEAVEN i tell you....

  3. I'd take the constant bell ring anyday!! It just feels so sterile in comparison here. As if we are all sealed away in a bubble.
    Btw the last time I was in India our phone rang and a sing song voice asked for my dad. When I told her that my dad wasn't home, she explained that she was our fisherwoman. Apparently she had acquired a cell so she could inform her favorite clients about the best fish way before the others showed up at the market :-D

  4. Oh Nupur, It was so nostalgic….I am definitely going to try it for tomorrow’s dinner. :) I make pav-bhaaji often but serve the bhaaji with dinner rolls. I didn’t find anything close to Indian laadi-paav over here. Thanks for the recipe.
    About good, hollow paani-puris, I would like to suggest these things:
    1. One of my friends adds 1 tea-spoonful of sugar in may be 3 cups of AP flour. That makes puris a bit tough and keeps them hollow for longer.
    2. Another idea would be to use half ravaa and AP flour.
    3. Add a little bit of warm oil (Mohan) in the flour before adding water to it.
    4. Knead the dough as tight as you could.
    I haven’t made puris from scratch by myself. But have helped my friends many times when we were students in a small town where we had no option of getting ready-made puri-packets.

  5. I really miss mumbai. Talking to so many people on a daily basis, the paperwala, doodhwala, sabjwala, kachrewali - didnt make me feel so lonely. Since I am a stay at home mom, it gets lonely at home sometimes.The pav looks delicious.

  6. hey nupur , using bottled soda to knead the puri dough also makes them light n hollow ,also using more of semolina n v little ap flour does the trick ....gud luck

  7. I was so enticed by your title (pillowy!!):) funny!! nice post, and I agree this buns are not easy to bake...but there's nothing like baking your own bread at home, it's so much better than the ones from outside na Nupur!

  8. Puris from Tarla Dalal's book "Chaat"

    Makes 40 puris
    1/2 cup fine semolina (rawa)
    1/2 tablespoon plain flour (maida)
    3 tablespoons soda water (bottled)
    salt to taste

    Knead to a stiff dough. Keep covered under a damp cloth for 10-15 minutes. roll out (keep the rolled out ones under a damp cloth), then fry in batches on a medium flame and drain on absorbent paper/cloth.

    we haven't tried it.

  9. I want the doorbell and the telephone to ring at the same time (the way it does at my parents place in Pune) right now!

    After reading Bee's post, I've become a big fan of adding potato to bread dough; even pizza dough. Give it another try, you won't be disappointed.

  10. Your "ramblings" are never too long! I could relate perfectly to everything in your post, since I've just returned from the ceaseless cacophony, chaos and color of India. And I'm trying to enjoy the peace and quiet here, but not yet quite succeeding!
    Your recipe sounds like the perfect thing for a cold winter's night.

  11. Nupur,
    I've been a quiet stalker for a while but when I told my hubby that your blog entry today was Laadi Pav, he immediately started salivating saying that growing up in Pune and Bombay...Laadi pav was an evening tea time consumption. Thanks to you now he is harassing me to try your recipe out hehe. I'll keep you posted on how it turned out :o)

  12. I'd take that doorbell ringing anyday!! Convenience at its best!! no need to step out in rain or (so called) Mumbai winter!! I love the soft (pillowy, as u pu it!! ) paav with abit of butter plasterd inthemiddle just as it is or even dunked in chai!! I have made Dabeli with simple dinner rolls, but now I would love to try making ur version of paav..

    For the pani puri puris: try this: equal parts of AP Flour & Semolina to be kneaded (stiff dough) in bottled soda with a bit of salt. The process iss time consuming but well worth the effort it seems, got this info from a good friend of mine who tried it not a week ago! it is on my 'must try' list too!!

  13. Nupur, Love your blog. Visit very frequently but never left a comment.

    Never tried making my own bread. Your post has inspired me to try.

    I liked your Indianized sandwiches a lot. My daughter gets bored of Poli-bhaji and I think these sandwiches would a great alternative.

  14. This is the way we make pani puris, this is my mom's recipe passed on to her by her atya

    1C semolina flour.
    1 Tblspn oil
    cold water to knead.

    Mixed together with as little water as possible. Then give it a mix or two in the food processor and cover and let it sit for 10-20 min. Roll small puris or one big one and cut out small puris and fry in hot oil. It is a little hard to roll the dough but the puris do come out pretty crunchy.

  15. We make puris but it is a tedious process and a 2 person job but I use water so maybe soda is the secret. 5 of 10 puris will be light and crispy, rest are flat and a little soggy. We separate them into 2 piles, the flops get made into various sev/dahi batata puris etc. Nothing gets wasted!

    3/4 cup of fine rava, 1/8 cup maida/wheat flour, 3 pinches baking soda, salt, warm water is all I use. Makes about 70-80 puris. Don't try making more than these, rolling and frying so many is tiring.
    You can roll a big chapati and cut out the puris with some mold if you have the right size. I have noticed they don't work for me. So I roll pea size balls and make puri with 2-3 strokes each. This works with the highest rate of puffed puris.

  16. Another little tidbit, I would take the hustle and bustle too.
    Needed to spend one yr here in solitude in the US, to realize I DO like people and the commotion and the roller coaster ride that comes with it :)

  17. i hear u on jumping up at the sound of the door bell..i get eh same when the doorbell rings or when someone honks!! in india it is a given..and i know about the paav..soo good, i remem coming to bombay and my grandma always buying this for me reluctantly
    ( she thought it was not healthy to eat out :D )and we would take atleast 3 to 4 slabs back home to hyd with us!!

  18. I love the idea of all of the necessities of life (bread, fish, fruit) coming right to your door, and of the relationship between your Aunt and the vendors. But I think I would not like the constant coming and going of so many people interrupting my own daily routine. And yet it is so much better than endless trips to the supermarket....

  19. Your blog brought back memories of perawalla, kulfiwalla and shetoot walla (a sweet, yellow fruit with a catterpillar like appearance, I could be wrong it has been 32 years) and of course sitting with a magnet in hand excitedly watching mom endlessly haggling with the bartanwallah, exchanging sarees for pots and pans, waiting my turn to test the stainless steel pots with a magnet. I too make panipuris(gol gappe in lucknawi speak) using following recipe
    Equal parts cream of wheat and flour, some salt kneaded to a stiff dough with just plain tap water. You need to buy very fine grained suji (here in Canada Safeway sells Purity Cream of Wheat which works well. Part of the trick is to roll the dough thin(maybe 2 mm) then cut into rounds using a cookie cutter, at this point you might want to roll out the small rounds again to thin out the edges. Take care. Enjoy.

  20. Nupur, I see that you have caught up with the potato bread craze too...but it is indeed worth all the effort, isn't it..your rolls do look soft and pillowy :-)

  21. oh my! the laadi pav looks sooo good!
    i remember, we kids were assigned the big task of getting bread from the breadwallah when he came about on his bicycle. we had to run to the next lane if we did not hear him scream the first

  22. wonderful bread nupur I like the idea od dunking bread in chana masala

  23. Good post Nupur! Loved reading about day to day life in India! These past few weeks I've been so homesick that I'd rather not elaborate on it! :-)
    The pav looks awesome - love the golden color of the loaves!
    About the puris, i did try it once - only it was a flop - the puris were ok as far as texture but they just turned out pretty flat - did not puff up like the recipe promised! Ever since i've stuck to the store bought ones!

  24. Long time since i visited your post ....Excellent one ....Pav looks very inviting ..

  25. I like how effortlessly you painted a picture of life back home.

    I keep reading about potatoes going into the making of bread everywhere. Bee of Jugalbandi had a naan recipe up that uses potatoes too. This is beginning to sound enticing.

  26. Nupur, does this happen in Bombay - sending things up and down floors by means of a rope tied to a bucket - the vendor/hawker doesn't have to go upstairs and the people in the house don't have to come downstairs :)

  27. Oh Nupur! I got so nostalgic reading your post. Life here is good...nothing to complain about, but Mumbai was Mumbai! I am sitting here right now at 11:00 p.m., thinking about my paperwallah, dabbawalla & istriwalla :-(
    Your potato bread looks gorgeous!
    ...and ramble on, Nupur! :D

  28. Oh Nupur:
    With your wonderful post you make me miss Mumbai and all those noises & crowd !!Thanks for that pav recipe too. Sure you know this but Pav tastes wonderful with egg burji too.
    I have a fantastic pani puri recipe.
    2 parts maida, 1 part rawa, 1 part rice flour, add salt. Knead with bottled soda water (plain)- u get it in a can or bottle here. mkae not too hard dough - more on the softer side but not too soft,. Make small puris. deep fry them. and after deep frying , keep in a pre-heated oven for 350 F for about 10 - 15 minutes - check in between, the last oven step makes them nice crunchy and they stay puffed up too. hope my recipe makes sense!!Got it from a friend - American Desi version!! I would have never made panipuri chya purya in Mumbai. but necessity is the mother of invention, what say?:-)

  29. Great stuff Nupur. The potato bread was beautiful and glad you gave this a try! So soft and moist. Maybe you should join us DBs!

  30. Lovely post and yummalicious pavs. And the pillowy goodness title is quite apt!!

    A few questions -
    Can you point me to a picture of the kind of pans you used? And also how far did you space out the dough balls while baking? I am a novice baker :).

    We used to make pani-puri wali puris at home. Let me see if I can dig up the recipe after all these years and put it up in a post. It was rava and maida based and there was a trick involved in frying. Will defly look it up.

  31. i cant believe i somehow lost touch with you and your blog :( adding you to my blogroll so that i dnt make this mistake again...n its sooo have all fresh produce delivered right to your doorstep is certainly a bliss...

  32. Suganya, yes, this is some super-sticky dough :D When you wrote about the lady who brings around freshly harvested greens from door to door, I was filled with longing. Talk about "farm to table"!

    sowhatsnewtoday, how sweet of him to bring your fresh bread as you were up studying! Oh, and I am so glad the shrikhand recipe worked for you...thank you for the feedback.

    Ashwini, LOL now that's what I call "preferred customer service" and keeping the customer loyal for life! She is so savvy; she could teach corporations a thing or two!

    Dhanashri, I find the supermarket dinner rolls too squishy and chemical-tasting. Although not shaped like rolls, I much prefer the traditional breads from proper bakeries here: such as baguettes and ciabattas. From a good bakery, they will have an excellent crisp crust and airy crumb.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write in those puri tips...very nice of you!

    Vimmi, I completely agree, being home day in and day out in the US can get very isolating, especially in winter. It is best to get out and find new company and new things to do (and all kinds of activities are plentiful in this country).

    Rahin, thank you...I'll keep those tips in mind!

    Mansi, well, as for bread "from outside" I have been lucky enough to find excellent bakeries that sell traditional breads made with care. I don't think the average supermarket yields any edible bread though. Baking at home is a different ball game altogether, it is an investment of time with rich yields :)

    Bee, thank you for taking the time to write the recipe, but I own a copy of that book and this recipe was my starting point. I was really asking about people's own experiences, because this simple recipe is reputed to be a fairly tricky one :)

    TheCooker, yes, perhaps I should, but the truth is that we have come to love our usual pizza recipe too much :D

    Kamini, ah, it must be hard returning to the grays and stark whites of winter! Glad to know you had plenty of time to soak in all the beloved chaos of India :)

    AnuZi, OK, I hope it works for you :)

    Manasi, LOL Mumbai winter?! Yeah, the pani puri puris have been on the must-try list for so many years that I decided to schedule them for this month, or I would never make them!

    Anjali, nice to see you here. Making bread is really fun and rewarding...I think it is fast becoming an obsession for me :) I am quite sure your daughter will enjoy the sandwiches; they are total kid-pleasing food, yet nutritious, stuffed with tons of vegetables.

    AA_Mom, thank you so much for sharing the tips, passed on for generations. The food processor whirl is interesting...will try that to bring the dough together. Glad you like people and the commotion...I'm afraid I am not really a people person myself :D

    Pani puri lover, I know how we are, I will also be saving the non-puffy puris for other uses :D Addition of baking soda is a new one...thanks for sharing all those tips. I don't have a mold/cutter anyway so I think I will be rolling tiny puris! And I am a pani puri lover too; we must be related ;)

    Rajitha, oooh yeah, when someone honks here, it is so unnerving. In India, honking is like saying hello :) importing pav from Bombay all the way to are a true blue pav-lover :D

    Lydia, it is incredible how people adjust well to all these interruptions; it just becomes a part of life. Once people realize the convenience of not having to do errands, they succumb :)

    Bulbul, oh, it was wonderful to hear about your memories! The shetoot fruit sounds so intriguing...I wonder if I have ever come across anything like it.
    Thank you for sharing your puri tips! The suji I have is pretty fine but I may give it a whirl in the spice grinder to make it finer. Rolling thin dough is a challenge for me but I'll let you know what happens :)

    Sunita, oh, yes, "craze" is the right word for this :D making a mess of my kitchen every other day almost! And so worth it for sure.

    Richa, Yes, I do remember the bicycle with wide pav-laden bags hanging off of the handles! :)

    Sagari, yes, bread soaks up the spicy curry like a sponge. Yummy!

    Latha, oh dear, being homesick is no fun :( I have not found a source for these puris here in St. Louis, hence the big project of making them at home! Let's see what happens :)

    Deepa, thank you!

    Minti, thanks!

    Sra, yes, it does happen :D LOL in my aunt's home, she would generally only send down money tied to a string if she had to, but I have certainly seen the pails being lowered precariously from high floors!

    TBC, Oh, I forgot all about the istriwalla...keeping a dated notebook with 5 shirts, 6 salwars....too much!

    Meera, how could I forget the classic combination of burji-pav? My tummy is rumbling in agreement :) I appreciate your puri tips so much...especially the oven-step. Genius! Will let you know how it all worked.

    Meeta, I would have joined the DBs if you guys made all savory stuff :D I don't see myself those rich, sweet exquisite creations month after month. I will watch and cheer from the side-lines!

    Sneha, the pans I used were rectangular glass ones from Pyrex. They are part of this picture:
    The ones I used were a 9x13 inch rectangular and 8x8 square. These are standard sizes in US baking and such pans are also available in other materials such as metal. But I have had great results with the inexpensive pyrex ones.
    As for spacing the rolls, I spaced them equally from each other and from the walls of the pan, if that makes sense (!), putting 12 rolls in the larger one and 6 rolls in the smaller one. Let me know if you have any other questions or need clarifications on these!

    Superchef, glad you found me again :) have you considered using something like bloglines to keep track of new posts on the blogs you read?

  33. Hey Nupur, The bread looks great. Before tring out potato bread, I tried making pav once and it din't work out. I am going to try this potato bread version soon.
    Btw I am I joined DB this time. If you have interest in baking, please come and join. It will be great fun.

  34. I hate it when the doorbell rings multiple times and especially if it rings at 2 pm on a weekend, or a year earlier just when I had put my baby to bed.
    But I guess, I wouldn't like to go without the milkman, the paper, the istriwaalah, my maid and the veggie lady....
    Whether Mumbai, Chennai or Delhi these people have been an integral part of our lives...

    The pao you made looks amazing and I miss that the most about not being in Mumbai anymore...Jugalbandi's post on paos inspired me too and I tried out the Goan poee a couple of months back - well worth the process and wait.

  35. Oh my stars!!! I'm doing vegetarian low carb, and then THIS comes in my email!?!?!? I'm trembeling. I'm DYING! This looks just toooo good to be true! I'll try it 20 lbs from now, LOL.

  36. What a wonderful post. You've put me in the mood for paav-bhaaji tonight!

    Looking forward to the dabeli post.

  37. A very nostalgic post. Well, even wth doors closed, you can't miss the voices frm all the street vendors. But I love the hustle bustle and miss it here. Talking of cell phones, I was surprised to see even the ladies who sit with all the bhajis on the road-side will be dealing with their cell-phones. Indeed a great post. Btw, for pani puri puris I use Rava, Maida and a little baking soda. Good luck with them.

  38. I am no baker....this art of cooking is too precise for I have headed out to search for Pav in Toronto. Luckily, i found a close approximation ina local Filipino bakery......this beard is called "Pandesal" and is almost exactly like apna pav.

  39. nupur,
    i misspelled rice flour proportion. it's 1/2 part.
    2 part maida 1 part rawa 1/2 part rice flour.
    rest is fine, i checked in my notebook. sorry for confusion. :-(

  40. Hey Nupur, that was so nostalgic! The bhaji wallah/wali coming to the door step with the basket or the cart, with the freshest produce! One of the best things when i go home, which is in the countryside :). And the phool-walis, with all the lovely flower strings, so many different kinds! I miss that about Bangalore! I have tried pani-puri and papdi ones, and we did use soda-water, so they turned out fine, and it was an enjoyable experience :). The fun part was freinds doing it together! But its very time consuming, so store bought is the easy way out these days ;). Oh, and i was toying with the idea of making (paav)bhaji over the weekend, i might as well be trying the home made ladi paavs :).

    This comment is becoming long, but i totally have to share this soup recipe with you. I had sore throat a cpl. of days back and wanted some quick but yummy soup. So i made this beans-coconut-ginger soup with canned Pinto beans. You just saute' scallions and julienned ginger, add the beans and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add salt, i cup coconut milk and some read chilli paste (if you want it spicy hot!) or ground black pepper :). Cook it to the creamy soup consistency and you are in for a comforting treat :). Have a lovely weekend.


  41. I don't think I could handle the constant interruptions! We have a bread truck that comes from one of the local bakeries 3 mornings a week, and a guy comes around with hams once or twice a year...that's enough!
    It would be fun to experience it for a bit, though...

  42. Hi Nupur,

    Oh the days of Mumbai where the doors are open and neighbours are welcome to pop in and out.. the chahel pahel.. i miss them.

    I missed the ladi pav so much that i have come up with a solution, very similar to yours but without potatoes,

    I noticed you knead the dough after it has risen, if you do that all the air pockets created by the yeast is now busted. So the pav will not come out as soft as we would like.

    I would suggest a small change in the step before keeping it for rising and this has worked like wonders for me.

    make small balls and lay them in tray in the form of lady but make sure there is enough space between the balls for them to rise.
    Once risen, put them directly for baking. With this you do not burst any air bubble formed due to rising and the bread turns out soft and with lots of pockets.

    Hope this helps.

  43. That was such a fabulous nostalgic write up Nupur, loved every bit of it!! "That's the stuff money cant buy", couldn't agree more with you on that :)

    The pavs look awesome, I've been planning to try the potato bread too.... :D

    Pani puris, mom makes them using Fine Sooji and Maida. That's another thing on my to try list but of late haven't had time to. the puris turn out gr8 and are a lot more tastier than the ones we eat from outside, also they are crispy and not hard. If you want the exact recipe let me know, so I can mail it to you. We had a restaurant several years ago in Mysore, and hence mom and the other cooks made these puris at home.

  44. Nupur, I really enjoyed reading this post, it reminds of the summer holidays I'd spend at my uncle's home in the country. We never got to experience this living in the city but like you, I don't think that I could live with it all the time, I too like my peace and quiet. :)

  45. I really enjoyed this post - I love reading your little snippets of life in India. Those rolls look so good - what a lovely crackly crust they have! I haven't made yeast bread for quite a while now, but I agree - it is fun and well worth the trouble!

  46. I discovered potato bread some time last year (after reading about it on "A Year in Bread"); it absolutely transformed my whole wheat bread! Nothing to beat the smell of baking bread.
    It's kinda nice if we can have that contact with the person who grows/catches our food... but it is bound to change here in India too - already is.
    And on those paani-puri things - been there, done that. Don't do it any more - too much work. Much more gratifying to just walk down to the street corner and have the chaat wala serve :D But, I can understand you don't have that option. The recipe we used was a mix of atta and sooji (no maida - maida is for paapdi), or all sooji; fried at medium heat. We were told the 'secret' ingredient is 'samudra phase' (sea foam?)...but we were never able to procure it.
    Good luck! (I wouldn't, if I were you! You have been warned!)

  47. Shilpa, You joined DB? That's wonderful :) can't wait to see all your creations. I love baking but usually the DB creations are too complex for me so I'll watch and learn and try the few DB recipes that I find simple enough for me :)

    Miri, yes, it is a trade-off between convenience and interruption. Goan poee sounds very intriguing!

    Faith, I hate to tell you this but you are reading the wrong blog! My love my carbs and they are present in abundance on these pages :) My own "rules" are to eat complex carbs as much as possible and to practice portion control.

    Enjay, I noticed that you made looks wonderful! "Dabeli" has been in the drafts for months and I really should post it soon.

    Maya, thanks for the tip! I'll let you know how my puris turned out.

    Teju, yes, I have heard of pandesal...but most of the times it seems to contain eggs and lard so that is something to be aware of.

    Meera, thanks for the clarification :) I appreciate it very much!

    Musical, I am getting together with a friend to make the puris, and looking forward to it. Your soup recipe sounds so hearty and warming (it is absolutely freezing here!) and I can't wait to try it. I hope your sore throat is better now. Have a wonderful long weekend!

    Katiez, the bread truck sounds wonderful!

    Mru, there is a second rising step, after forming the rolls and before baking them. You might have missed it- it is step 9 in the recipe.

    Namratha, Ooh, I do hope you blog about your family recipe sounds wonderful and well-tested! Do try the potato bread, it is a great recipe.

    Cynthia, yes, it is fun to experience this for a while but is exhausting after that!

    Cathy, they had a even more crackly crust when it is was mostly AP flour (in the original recipe) but I did a trade-off by including 1/2 ww flour. Still good enough :) I am just discovering the joys of yeast bread and it is fast becoming my favorite pastime!

    Anita, well, I would not dream of making these puris from scratch but it is the only way I can eat pani puri here :D anyway, I hope it will be a fun experience. And no, I have no hope in hell of finding that secret ingredient!!

  48. I think you are right, that it would be wonderful to have a deeper relationship with the people who select and prepare our food, but it is often difficult in a busy urban environment. With that in mind, though, I have started visiting a local butcher, instead of the supermarket for certain meats, because their product always looks and tastes so good, and it's nice to have someone hand you the food and smile, instead of just snatching it from the freezer case!

  49. Very nostalgic post Nupur! I could picture the very vivid description of the happenings in your grandmother's house. How I miss all that! I love laadi pav too. We had an Irani bakery near my house in Bombay and my ayee used to send me to get the freshly baked pav. Me and my sis would make the trek to the place and would buy a bakers dozen pav; 12 for home and one to dig in the bag and tear off hot chunks of the just-out-of-the-oven pav to devour on the way! Any my sis and I would both want the crust!
    Although I would have never dared to make this pav, with blessings from you, I will certainly make this attempt!

  50. Dear Nupur,

    You reminded the olden, golden days of Mumbai. The Pav-bhaaji, the vada pav & the Daabeli too. I think we must get the recipe of laadi-pav from some bakery walla in Mumbai & start a bakery here in US only to sell those laadi-pavs.

  51. memories of bombay... I've eaten this for breakfast so many times... almost everyday during each stint in Bombay... I've got to try this at home :-) Thanks girl

  52. Hi Nupur,

    After living in the States for over seven years,I finally found a substitute for the bambaiyya laadi pav- oatmeal dinner rolls from our local food coop. They're quite good actually, but now, with your recipe, I don't need substitutes- I'm just going to make the real thing- thanks for a wonderful recipe as always!


  53. Hi Nupur,

    Quick question for you. Is it a big deal if we subsitute brown chappati flour for the white whole wheat flour? Thank you. I have made your pao bhaji dozens of times, and it always turns out beautifully. This is the first time I will attempt the paos.


    1. Nikhil- chapati flour is a bit different from whole wheat flour- it is finer in texture and might make this dough too sticky to handle. It is not something I have tried so you'll have to try and see. Other just use entirely all-purpose flour for the pav- this is how the real pavs are anyway.

  54. Wonderful, thank you. I ended up chickening out last night and just buying paos. But I will try it soon.


Thanks for leaving a comment- I try to respond to every single one.