Tuck into delicacies from Northeast re-imagined as fillings between pav

Mar 08, 2018, 12:02 IST | Snigdha Jasan

Tuck into delicacies from the region re-imagined as fillings to be relished between slices of pav at a pop-up

Pav Gitika Saikia

In a culinary landscape that boasts of the bhut jolokia, nutty black sesame, fermented soya bean and innumerable preparations of pork, what's somewhat difficult to picture is the humble pav. And Gitika Saikia's thoughts were no different when she was approached by Rohan Mangalorkar, founder of Bandra-based Pack-a-Pav, to showcase her signature northeastern dishes sandwiched between a pav. "Trust me, I have never racked my brains this much!" confesses the popular Assamese home chef, known for her venture Gitika's PakGhor, under which she curates menus and holds pop-ups across select Mumbai restaurants.

Saikia, however, took up the challenge and through several trials and rounds of food tasting, she has come up with three pav dishes, which will showcase flavours of Assam and Nagaland, at the upcoming edition of Pav With Friends. A three-monthly dining series by the QSR, it invites Mumbai-based home cooks and chefs to run its kitchen over a weekend, where the menu solely features their creations with the regular dishes taking a break.

"A lot of dishes from Assamese cuisine consist of gravies, so the challenge was to modify them as pav fillings while keeping the flavours intact," shares Mangalorkar. While the veg pav on the menu includes a patty, both Mangalorkar and Saikia wanted to steer clear of any more patty-based sandwiches as the preparation involves using corn flour and breadcrumbs.

If you love giving your taste buds a regional roundabout, but are a Mumbaikar at heart who cannot do without laadi pav, this could be your match made in heaven.

The veggie bun
In a pop-up celebrating a meat-heavy cuisine, it only follows that just one of the three preparations is a vegetarian one. But the layered flavours of the potato & raw banana pav ('150) are tempting enough for one to make that trip to Pali Naka. While a patty made with boiled raw banana is the star of the dish, the pav comes slathered with a smoky curd dip, tomato chutney and a dash of mustard oil. Fried baby potatoes tossed in garlic powder and a pickle made of Indian olives get served on the side. The baby potatoes have been flown in from a village in Dibrugarh. "The sweet and sour flavours will keep you guessing till the end about which way the dish leans," Saikia shares.

Curried flavours
Originally a curry of chicken and fermented soya bean, or akhone as it is called in Nagaland, it features in Saikia's akhone chicken pav ('200) as a thickened gravy. "The combination of haldi and black sesame gives the gravy a beautiful green hue," she shares. The spices are minimal to stay true to the Naga style of cooking.

Pork tales
Pork mince enveloped in the nutty flavour of black sesame with a hint of bhut jolokia, one of the hottest chillies in the world, forms the core of the spicy black sesame pork pav ('200). The sesame comes from Tezpur in Assam as it is nuttier than the version available in Mumbai. "Since the idea was to not do another patty, the pork is presented like a dry smash," says Mangalorkar. The spiciest of the three variants, it is served with fresh onion rings, smoked curd dip and achari baby potatoes.

On: March 10 and 11, 12 pm to 1 am
At: Pack-a-Pav, off Pali Naka, Bandra West
Call: 9920230240

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