On the Hook: How did the Pav manage to take a detour to India?
Updated : May 10, 2021 16:05 IST
Pav bhaji, Vada Pav, Keema Pav, Misal Pav and the list is endless. You hop on to the streets of Mumbai, and you sure to find more than a hundred ways to eat your Pav. Hats off to the creativity and innovation of Indians who managed to adapt a foreign item to local tastes. Yes, you read that right.
How PAV got its name?
But first, let us understand how does Pav get its name. The etymology here is quite simple. Pav means one pav or one quarter. So, it's a bun divided into four equal quarters and baked to become the Pav that it is. So how did it land up in India, and where does it originate from?
Tracing back to the American Civil War, the Portuguese entered India through Goa and brought them the Pav. Now due to the shortage of cotton exports to Great Britain, India banked on the lucrative opportunity. When that happened, the workers worked day in, day out to meet their demands, and so they were bound to get hungry. That’s when stalls started setting up outside mills for these workers in the night, which served Pav Bhaji.
Let's dig into the history of bhaji now!
Bhaji was nothing but a minced mixture of leftover vegetables. Oh, this reminds me, you know tomatoes were once considered to be poisonous in our country. Hard to believe at first. Not only this, another staple ingredient of our vegetables and curries, i.e., potatoes were brought in the Portuguese along with the tomatoes and Pav.
Did that trigger your curiosity too?
It's just amazing how one food item can change the course of food served in a particular region. And look how we always thought that the Pav and Bhaji were original to our financial capital. Like Pav is paired with several items or eaten as Bun Maska for evening tea or breakfast, Pav bhaji has its variations with curry leaves in the South and rajma in some parts of North India.
Now that's what you call a proper unity in the diversity scenario.