Delectable Street Foods – Vada Pav


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 .

 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 .    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  ahead of  time   as  they keep well .  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 . Of course one could  substitute  burger  buns  or  rolls of  your  choice.

Cook  potatoes  in  enough  water .  The preferred  method is  to  cook  them in a  pressure  cooker  with  enough  water  to  cover  the   potatoes  for 1  whistle .  Cool  and  peel  the  potatoes  and dice into big  chunks .  Grate or  mince   garlic  ,  finely chop  the  cilantro  and  green chilies.  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 .

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 a  little  to  form a  thick  disc .    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  had if  the  patty  gets  glued to  the batter  and is  difficult  to   flip it  add  more  water  to  loosen it .

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

Vada Pav

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Vada Pav


For Batata Vada
Potatoes - 2 Medium
Galic - 3 cloves
Green Chilli - 2 (to taste)
Mustard seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Chopped Cilantro - 2 Tbsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp (to Taste)
Oil - 1 Tbsp
For batter
Gram flour - 1 C
Rice Flour - 1 Tbsp
Baking soda - a pinch (optional)
Asafoetida - a pinch
Turmeric - a pinch
Water - as required
Salt - to taste
For tamarind chutney
Tamarind - Lemon size ball or about 1/2 C
Water - 1 C
Cumin - 1 tsp
Ginger Powder - 1 pinch
Rock salt - To taste
Jaggery - 1/4 C
Green Chutney
Cilantro - 1 Bunch
Garlic - 1 Clove
Lemon Juice - 1 Tsp
Green chili - 1 (to taste)
Salt - to taste
Garlic Spice Powder
Garlic Cloves - 4
Grated dry coconut - 1/4 C
Peanuts - 1 Tbsp
Red Chili Powder - 1Tsp (to Taste)
Coriander Powder - A Pinch
Tamarind - 1/2 inch piece
Oil - 1 Tsp
To Serve
Pav buns
Fried Green Chilies


Make Chutneys

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.

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.

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

Cook the potatoes till fork tender. Peel and coarsely chop them into big chunks. Finely chop the garlic, cilantro and green chili.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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 🙂

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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