Saturday, June 14, 2014

Mamma's Stuffed Bruns

Sometimes there are certain dishes, that you want to make since a long time, but doesnt. Not because you cant make it, but because you have never seen it made. For me that dish was Paav aka Bombay buns.
There are countless bakers in the small, narrow streets of Mumbai who wake up before the sun does, knead, bake and sell these delicious, simple staples to stores or door to door, fresh and steaming hot.  They offered a variety of fresh baked goodies from a few different kind of paavs, doughnuts (not the American kind, but a soft long roll stuffed with creamy icing), pizza bases and cake rusks.
The Brun Paav aka crusty roll was one of my most favorite items among them. Brun paavs sold those days around 50 paise per roll. The seller was an old man we called Babu. His family made and sold paav for years and Babu was the second generation in this business and he brought them out to sell in his trusty cycle, hanging hot from burlap bags filled to the brim. Now, these burlap bags attached to the handlebars of his cycle. It was an actual art trying to not hit his knees on the steaming bags, and burn his skin. he would pedal his cycle with a lean on either side and knees turning away from the cycle which was pretty much pedalling with his heels. It was quite a sight, watching him ride his cycle in the mornings with a full load, which gave us kids something to be amused at.
Without fail, Babu arrived at 6.15 a.m. every morning. We brought hot "kadak paav" as it was called, at 2 for a rupee, Babu, carefully wrapping it in a piece of pre-cut newspaper piece, so that us kids didnt burn our hand. Mom would have boiled the milk and cooled it down byt hen for us. We would tear off pieces off the paav, dip it into our milk and eat it with relish. The salty, soft interiors and the chewy crust sweetening as we chewed was quite the experience. May God bless that sweet guy!
To replicate this experience, I would always wait to go back to India, sometimes two to three years so that I could catch up on all the flavors I grew up with Brun Paav always remained an item on that list.
Now switching back to the present, I finally found a fail-proof Brun paav recipe from a fellow Mumbaiite and blogger, Shailja Tomar Gonsalves, and under her mentoring recreated the same magical taste in my own kitchen. And its a keeper!
Now, after making three batches of Brun Paav in 4 days, I had to experiment. And this recipe is the result of that curiosity. How do you make a perfect recipe, perfect? Stuff it up with spiced meat!
presenting my Stuffed Bruns...and I dedicate my post to the amazing Shailja, without whom I would still be waiting for my India trip to enjoy my Brun paav! 

4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp yeast ( I used active dry yeast)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp melted butter
Warm water + 1 tsp sugar to bloom the yeast
Warm water -as needed to knead
3 tbsp milk - to brush the buns

1 lb ground meat ( beef or mutton)
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chopped green chillies
1 sprig tender curry leaves, chopped
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp ground garam masala made from  fennel seeds, green cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, and cloves.
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp of the rendered fat from browning the meat or 2 tbsp of your favorite oil
Salt as needed

1. In 1/2 cup warm water stir in 1 tsp of sugar, and then stir in 2 tbsp yeast. Leave it aside to bloom for about 10 minutes. At the end of 10 minutes, it should be frothy.

2. Stir together the flour, butter, sugar and salt well until combined and make a well. Into this well, add the bloomed yeast mixture. Incorporate it into the flour as much as possible. Now, use the warm water and knead the dough into a soft, lightly sticky dough. You can use a mechanical mixer or use your hands. Pour a little oil in your palms and pat it all over the kneaded dough and leave it covered with a tight fitting lid, in a warm place to rise, for an hour.

3. In a pan, brown the ground meat with a little salt and pepper. Drain the meat, once browned, reserve for later. If you dont care for the Saturated fats, use that fat to saute the onions. If not, use 2 tbsp of oil and saute the onions. When they turn soft and translucent, add the minced garlic, ginger, green chillies and chopped curry leaves, and saute well until tender and aromatic. Now reintroduce the reserved ground meat and add all the dry spices and stir well.Cover and cook for  about 15 minutes on low heat until all the spices are incorporated into the meat. Switch off the heat, stir in the chopped coriander leaves and let it cool.

4. Meanwhile, check on the dough. It should have doubled in size. Roll it by hand, on a floured surface into a cylindrical shape. Now using a knife, divide and cut into 12 pieces. Roll the 12 pieces into rounds. Leave in a pan, covered to rise for 45 minutes. It should rise and double again. Even if it did not, at the end of 45 minutes, you can still move on to the next step. 

5. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

6. Grease your palms lightly. Take each round and make a well. Divide the meat mixture into 12 parts and stuff one part inside the dough well. Gather the edges on the top, and lightly twist and press it on to the top and gently roll the stuffed roll to form a ball.
Keep the ball on a lightly greased baking pan. 
Now, repeat the steps until all the meat mixture and dough is used up.

7. Brush the stuffed rolls with a little milk all over. Place an oven safe pan with 1 cup hot water on the bottom shelf to make the crust chewy. Now bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the top of the buns are lightly reddish brown and hard when tapped.

8. When done, cool off in a bread basket, on top of a clean towel.

Serve them warm with tea for breakfast or as a filling snack.



  1. I plan to make these bruns today :).

    1. Thanks you very much Sonal! <3 Let me know how it goes!

  2. Wow!! It looks awesome.. Glad to meet you!! Loved your to know about your blog from Sonal!!

    1. Thank you do much! Glad to meet you too. I look forward to seeing more of you around! :-)

  3. For sure.. Hope to see you at my small space also��