Pavachi Bhaji: Maharashtra’s Breakfast Upma With A Twist
Image Credit: It is nothing but a bread upma doused in curry.

For the unversed, upma is a semolina or rava-based breakfast dish, where rava is roasted along with boiled vegetables like peas, potatoes, and onions. Flavoured with mustard seeds, upma is a delicious treat for morning and is very light on the stomach too. But what if you don’t have rava available at home?

You can try making this bread upma then. Also known as Pavachi Bhaji, this Maharashtrian-style bread upma is commonly eaten for breakfast. Contrary to all the other bread upmas, this one is a curry-based treat. Pieces of bread are broken and tossed in heaps of spices and dunked in a masaledar gravy. That’s how the Marathi bread upma is made.

Pavachi comes from the word ‘pav’, which is a type of bread whereas bhaji is a type of gravy or sabzi in Maharashtra. Combine the two and you get a hot and spicy bread upma that is moist, soft, and flavourful. Usually, upma is a dry breakfast, where the roasted semolina melts in the mouth. In the case of bread upma, since there are chunks of bread, the idea is to ease the process of chewing.

For that purpose, the bread is dipped in a curry which moistens it and makes it easier to eat. Not only this, it is also quite wholesome as it contains bread and sabzi in one. One could also think of it as a deconstructed pav bhaji since similar ingredients are used in both. For making Pavachi Bhaji, all you need are some pieces of bread and loads of masalas.  

Prepare the gravy by adding cumin and mustard seeds to a pan full of oil. Then add in the tomatoes and onions. Mash them all together to form a curry-like consistency. Add in boiled and chopped potatoes to the curry and let it cook for a few minutes. Meanwhile, dice the bread into small pieces and throw it in the pool of spices. Combine it well, coating all the bread chunks properly. Finish off with coriander leaves and dig in right away.