Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vada Pav ~ The Pop Mumbai Street Food

Who does not like Vada Pav? I am yet to come across one who could say 'no' to this delicious humble Indian Burger unless some dietary restriction prevents them from saying so. The humble seasoned Potato Patty deep fried in Gramflour ~ Besan and wrapped in a Pav ~ The Indian version of double decker daily bread, with some spicy dry red colored chutney interspersed between the buns; throw in a deep fried salt wrapped green chilli and chow chow away to glory. I picked my mom's recipe which has no ginger-garlic and modified it a little to suit a spicy palate with some extra's and more crispness.

The best Vada-Pav I've had was at Bandra, Mumbai where an aunty serves home made Vada Pav outside her door step. She sits on a rickety wooden chair perched outside the door with a huge tray with Vada's on one side, a heap of Laadi Pav on another and a tiny mountain of some spicy red coconut chutney or Tikhat Chutney Pood along with. On another corner would be the green chillies deep fried which is given along with the entire loot. So, post the order she curls up all of them in a newspaper, ties them with a cloth string with a professional expertise and hands over the warm potli with a smile. Whenever I visit Mumbai, I make sure I hunt down this aunty after going through the various narrow bylanes just to eat this warm snack.

Khao Galli, Mumbai, a street dedicated entirely to 'FOOD' located near Marine Lines is another place which is a favorite food spot of mine. You will spot different street-food treats adorning the sides of the pavement. The efficiency is uber cool and your dish gets ready on demand within 2-3 minutes approximately. The person serving you suggests to have it with Cut Chai ~ a simple cardamom flavoured tea with some cream or malai dunked on top for extra flavour. The plate looks colorful with the reddish brown Patty peeping in from the Pav with bright colors of red coarse chutney bursting out. He also gives you a nice green chilli deep fried and wrapped in salt. It certainly makes me a happy soul for the entire day!

The best way to enjoy a Vada-Pav is certainly to discover a local vendor selling Vada-Pav. You can spot the vendors in most of the places in Mumbai - near the local train station, market places and if nothing works out, take time to go to a restaurant and order for one without further ado. Both of us yearn for Street Food and we make sure we make Vada-Pav's very often. That's the beauty of this humble snack which costs a tiny little sum of Rs.5/- and gives lots of happiness and soul-satisfaction in return.

Cooking time - 10 minutes
Preparation time - 40 minutes
Yield - 6-8 Vada Pav's

Vada: Patty -
Potatoes (boiled and mashed) - 4 cups
Onions - 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/3 teaspoon
Green Chilli paste - 1 teaspoon or 2-3 Green chillies chopped (fry them in little oil prior to be added)
Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste - 1 teaspoon

Vada Seasoning -
Curry leaves (chopped into bits) - 3-4
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil - For seasoning

Vada Coating Batter -
Gramflour or Besan - 3/4 cup
Boiled Toor Dal - 2 teaspoon (for crispness)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Rice flour - 1/2 teaspoon
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Garam Masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Hot oil - 1 teaspoon
Water - For batter consistency
Oil - For deep frying

Spicy Red Coconut Chutney or Tikhat Chutney Pood
Coconut powder - 1/2 cup
Tamarind pulp (separated in raw form) - 1/2 teaspoon
Garlic (shredded to tiny bits) - 1 teaspoon
Salt - As per taste

6-8 Green Chillies - Deep fried & dunked in some salt

Indian Pav - 6-8 or Hamburger Buns - 6-8

Boil and mash the Potatoes and keep them aside. Mix in Turmeric powder, Ginger-Garlic paste, chopped Coriander leaves and add salt as per taste, keep aside. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and once they begin to pop, add curry leaves which are chopped into bits. Add Onions and saute a little. Pour this seasoning on the Vada and mix well. If adding Green chillies not as a paste, make sure you saute them in little oil before adding to tone down the heat. Make small Vada's ~ round shaped of Ladoo size out of the mixture and keep them aside.

Make a thick batter of Besan along with baking soda, red chilli powder, garam masala powder and rice flour. Rice flour makes the Vada crisp. The thicker the batter, the better would the coating cling to the Vada. Heat the oil for deep frying the Vada, take a teaspoon of oil and pour into the batter. Mix well and deep fry the vada's individually after dipping them in the coating batter. Deep fry evenly till they turn golden brown and transfer to kitchen tissue to absorb excess oil. Deep fry green chillies, stir them in some salt, transfer to kitchen tissue and set aside.

Grind the coconut powder, red chilli powder and garlic along with little salt to a coarse powder. Store in an air tight container and refrigerate, use as per requirement.

While serving, plonk open the Burger or Paav, pour some generous amount of Red Chutney. Tuck the Vada in, pour some on top. Close the Vada and enjoy with a deep fried green chilli - a bounty full of flavour in your mouth.


  1. Reading your post, is making me crave for indian street chaats. Vada-pav looks delicious..

  2. @ Madhu -
    Thank you. Chaats have their own charm. Vada-Pav is an alltime comfort food.

  3. What a coincidence, today I have made the potato stuffing for batata vada for after school snack for my son. (it is snowing here, so need some hot comfort food)

    really any thing stuffed in a pav with chat condiments is comfort food for me :)

  4. @ Mayuri -
    Thanks. I am sure your little ones are enjoying the snack party. :)
    The Vada Pav flavour takes me back to Mumbai in no time. Lol!


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