Delectable Street Foods – Vada Pav

Vada Pav - Delicious spiced potato burger
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A  deep fried potato patty and  simple white bread ,  how much flavor can these pack ?? The answer is “plenty” , if  you ever had  the  famous  Mumbai Vada Pav .  What started as a  quick fix meal idea  by a  street food  vendor , Ashok Vaidaya,  some 50 years back  has  reached  iconic  status  today.  One day he  stumbled on the  idea  to  put  the  potato fritters (vada) that  he was  selling   in a  bun  and  served it with a  generous  sprinkling of spice  powders  and   chutney .  Needless to say ,  it  was  an instant hit . Roadside   food vendors    found  it  easy to churn these out  quickly   and  the busy  working  class got a completely satisfying meal on the go.  Today it is no longer  dubbed as a poor  man’s food ,  but  relished  and  critiqued by foodies  all over .

Vada Pav - Delicious spiced potato burger

 The  name  says it  all – pav means bread ,  and  vada   stands for   Batata  Vada   or potato fritters . Potatoes   and  white  bread , both  are  like  sturdy blank  canvases  providing the  easy  backdrop for  any  flavors  combinations.  And  here  both of  these  fulfill these roles remarkably well.
Making  these  is not  a  complicated  affair  either,  unless one  plans  to do   everything  from  scratch at one time.  The  chutneys and  powders  are  usually  made in  the Indian  kitchen as   these  are  used  in a variety of  dishes.   These  keep  well  and  are  usually a  few  batches   are  made at  a  time  and  stored  in the  fridge for  few  days.
 Pav bread is  readily available  at  the  neighborhood  bakeries. If  you would like  to  make  your  own  try  this   recipe ,  it   makes  wonderfully soft  pavs . You can  substitute  burger  buns  or  rolls of  your  choice.
making batata vada - or potato fritter
 The  steps  are  few  and  clear
  • Cook and  mash potatoes
  • Add  fresh  herbs and  spices – ginger  ,garlic , chilies , coriander etc.
  • Form into balls
  • Make a chick pea  flour  (besan) batter
  • Dip the  balls  in the batter
  • Deep Fry
  • Slit  the  pav in half almost  all the   way
  • Make a sandwich !

The preferred  method is  to  cook  the potatoes  is in a  pressure  cooker  with  enough  water  to  cover  the   potatoes  for 1  whistle .  Cool  and  peel  the  potatoes  and dice into big  chunks. I prefer  to  use  fresh  ginger  and   garlic  in   general.  If  you have a  fine  grater  this  is  easy – peel and  grate. Fresh   ginger  garlic  has  much for  flavor  than the  ginger  garlic paste.

To add  or  not  to add  green chilies  is  up to yo. Add according to your  heat  tolerance level.   The chutneys  usually pack a  punch.   chutneys.   Heat one tablespoon oil  in  a  pan   and  add  a  pinch  of  mustard seeds. When the seeds crackle  add  the   garlic  and  chopped  green chilies.  Fry for a  minute  and  remove    from heat  before  the  garlic  turns  brown . Add a  pinch of asafoetida(optional). Pour  this  hot  oil with  seasonings,  turmeric, chopped  cilantro  and  a sprinkling  of  salt on top  of  the  chopped potatoes .  Mix  everything  well to a lump free dough.

Now  comes  the  batter – in  another  bowl  mix  the  ingredients  for  the  batter –  gram flour , chili powder, asafoetida,  and  salt .  Add  enough  water  to  make a  fairly  thick batter .   Form  the  potato  mix  into lime  size  balls  and  flatten ever so   little  so they don’t  roll.   Place one  potato ball  in the  batter  and   flip to coat  the  other side.

This is  a  good    test   for the  thickness of  the batter . If  the  batter runs  off  the  patties   leaving just a  see  through  film  it  is  too thin  , add  more   gram  flour . On the  other  hand if  the  ball gets  glued to  the batter  and is  difficult  to   flip it  add  more  water  to  thin the batter.

Head   enough  oil in  a  kadai or  wok  to immerse  the  patties  and  deep  fry them  till lightly browned .

Vada Pav - Delicious spiced potato burger

Lay everything  out  on the  table  and  have  everyone  make  it  their  preference.   This is  the  type  of  food  that you enjoy with   friends –  have a  conversation  around  it.  Not  something   you will want  to  tackle  with  fine  china  and  cutlery 🙂

So here is  the  from  scratch recipe  for  making   Vada pav.  It  looks  lengthy, but it  is  rarely that  someone  makes  all these   from scratch  at  one  time.  Chutneys , especially the tamarind  chutney , is  usually  made  in a  larger  batch than  required  as  it  keeps   really well – up to a  few  months  if  properly stored.   The  garlic  powder  will stay fresh  in an  airtight  container  for a  few  days out side , and  can  be  refrigerated   for  longer  shelf  life.   The  green chutney need  s  to be  stored  in teh  fridge  and  keeps  well for  a  few  days .

Vada Pav
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

Vada pav is a  deep  batter fried spiced  mix  of  potato , slathered  with  spicy and  tangy sauces  and  sandwiched between soft  buns .  This is a   delicious vegan  burger/ on the  good  food  popular in many parts of   India.  

Course: Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Syama
Ingredients
Batata Vada Filling
  • 2 Potatoes Medium
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Green Chili to taste
  • 1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 Pinch Asafoetida (Optional)
  • 1/8 Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt to Taste
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
Batter
  • 1 C Chick Pea Flour (Besan)
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Flour
  • 1 Pinch Baking Soda Optional
  • 1 Pinch Asafoetida Optional
  • 1 Pinch Turmeric
  • Water As required
  • Salt To Taste
Tamarind Chutney
  • 1/2 C Tamarind Lemon size ball
  • 1 C Water
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Pinch Ginger Powder
  • Rock salt To taste
  • 1/4 C Jaggery
Green Chutney
  • 1 Cilantro Bunch
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Green chili To taste
  • Salt To Taste
Garlic Spice Powder
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/4 C Grated dry coconut
  • 1 Tbsp Peanuts
  • 1 Tsp Red Chili Powder OR To Taste
  • 1 Pinch Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 Inch Tamarind Piece
  • 1 Tsp Oil
To Serve
  • Pav Buns
  • Fried Green Chilies
Instructions
Make Chutneys
  1. Spicy Garlic Powder : Heat 1 Tsp oil in a small pan and roast garlic cloves and peanuts till it begins to turn brown. Keep the heat on low and add the dry coconut and roast till it turns golden brown. Turn off the heat and add red chili p, coriander powder, tamarind and salt. Mix well and let cool. Pulse in a food processor/blender till smooth. Taste and adjust salt if needed. Store in an airtight container.
  2. Green Chutney : Clean cilantro in plenty of water and dry well using paper or kitchen towels. Place cilantro, garlic and green chili in the blender.Pulse a few times. Add the lemon juice and half the salt. Grind till smooth. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if required. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  3. Sweet Tamarind Chutney : Soak tamarind in 1C warm water and set aside for 30 minutes. Gently squeeze spoon and strain to extract pulp, adding more water if necessary. Powder or grate jaggery and add to the pulp. Heat a pan and dry roast the cumin seeds remove. Powder the roasted cumin seeds and set aside. Add the tamarind jaggery pulp to the pan and bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer until it becomes thick. Turn off the heat. Add the cumin powder , ginger powder and salt on top and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Let cool and store in an airtight container.
Prepare Batata Vada
  1. Cook the potatoes till fork tender. Peel and coarsely chop them into big chunks. Finely chop the garlic, cilantro and green chili.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a small pan, add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds pop add the chopped green chili and garlic. Fry for a minute and turn off the heat. Stir in asafoetida pour the spiced oil over the potatoes.
  3. Add salt , turmeric and the chopped cilantro. Mash everything together to make a lump free mixture. Divide the mix into portions and form into lemon sized balls. Press and flatten these to form thick discs. Cover and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl and mix gram flour, rice flour, baking soda, asafoetida, turmeric, and salt. Add enough water and stir well to make a lump free thick batter.
  5. Pour enough oil in a pan (or kadai) to immerse the potato patties and heat till the oil is almost smoking. Lower heat to medium . Dip the patties in batter, turn to coat all sides evenly. Place the patties in the hot oil gently. Fry till both sides are golden, flipping sides as needed. Remove from the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels to catch excess oil.
Serve
  1. Split a pav bun horizontally and toast lightly. Spread generous amount of chutney on one half of the bun and place the vada on top. Add chutney's of choice or sprinkle sev (fried gram noodles) or fried green chilies or spice powder to taste. Top with the other half and serve 🙂
Recipe Notes
  • Asafoetida is  available  in  Indian  grocery stores  and  can  be  omitted. 
  • These  chutneys  and   chutney powders  can be  prepared   ahead  of  time. 

Take  Pav  buns ,  slice  horizontally  and   toast  lightly .  Spread chutney of  choice  on the  bread ,  place a  patty   and add a  sprinkling  of    chutneys or  spice  powders .  Serve fried  green  chilies .

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Vada Pav - Delicious spiced potato burger

 

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