We always prefer to plan our trips thoroughly, jot down the places to explore and restaurants to eat. When we visited Mumbai last month, I knew it would be more like a casual trip. I just wanted to relax, savor Mom’s cooking and visit the beach. Arvind had just one thing in his plan, to eat as many Vada Pav as he could. No kidding! And the plan was quite successful. He had been missing the good authentic version of vada pav for such a long time that I couldn’t blame him for getting all gluttony over it.
What is Vada Pav?
To break it down, Vada means fritters and Pav means buttery buns. It’s one of the most popular street food in Mumbai and Pune. One cannot visit these places and not indulge on the carb loaded treat.
Vada: Mashed potato is spiced and then made into dumplings, which is then dunked in chickpea batter and deep fried. The idea is to keep the dumplings crunchy outside but soft fluffy inside.
Pav: Typically these pavs are eggless buttery buns. Soft and fluffy.
The fried dumpling is slide between the buttery buns and a special dry garlic chutney is sprinkled on top. Often served in a paper plate topped with blistered green chili, which is my opinion is a mandate.
Vada Pav is so easily available in every corner that no one really bothers to make it at home, unless you live oceans across and getting access to such authentic street food is almost impossible.
The dry garlic chutney binds it all together!
Although called chutney, this is basically a dry spice mix prepared with garlic, peanuts, sesame seeds, desiccated coconuts and dry red chilies. The garlic is cooked in dry roasted and then everything is grind to a course texture.
Apart of the Vada Pav, this dry chutney tastes amazing when sprinkled on fruits, or fries. It has great depth of flavor and tastes amazing.
You also need Coriander Chutney and sweet tamarind chutney!
Like every other Indian chaat coriander chutney and sweet tamarind chutney is also needed in these mini Indian sliders. Both these chutney together helps to adds moisture along with zesty bite that you absolutely need to balance all the carb.
Few weeks back, on a Sunday when I completely ran out of ideas for breakfast, Arvind decided to try his hands with vada pav. I might have rolled my eyes a little but decided to go with it as I had oats ready as a back up plan. Surprisingly, I really liked the vada pav this time. The vada (potato dumpling) was delicious, it was fluffy and he added a lot of flavor to it. The taste was quite unlike from what I experienced in Mumbai. Or maybe, it was my peculiar taste buds. Did I ever tell you that I crave homemade biryanis more than the store bought ones! Well, I guess, the same rule now applies to vada pav too.
I gobbled more than one this time and we made it again the next weekend! With a pipping hot cup of tea, it’s a treat you don’t want to miss.
for the vada pav dry garlic masala
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon peanuts
- ¼ cup desiccated coconut
- 2 dry red chilies
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon oil
for the vada (potato dumplings)
- 2 large potatoes, boiled and mashed
- 2 green chilies
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- water to make the chickpea batter
- 1 teaspoon vada pav dry garlic masala
- oil for deep frying vada
few other ingredients
- pav, soft buns
- coriander chutney, find the recipe here
- tamarind chutney, find the recipe here
to prepare the vada pav dry garlic masala
- Dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, desiccated coconuts and dry red chilies separately and put everything in a grinder except for sesame seeds.
- Now, heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan and roast the garlic. Once done, put it in the grinder along with roasted peanuts, desiccated coconut and dry red chilies. Grind it to a fine dust.
- Then, add coriander powder and chili powder along with salt. Give it a taste and if you want more heat, add more chili powder.
to prepare the vada (potato dumplings)
- Blend garlic and green chilies.
- Then, heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. Once it starts splattering, add garlic and green chili paste. Allow it to cook for a minute and then, take it off the heat.
- Add this mixture to the mashed potatoes along with turmeric powder. Check for salt and add any, if required.
- Give it a mix and make several medium size vadas out of it.
- Next, in a separate mixing bowl, make a chickpea batter by mixing chickpea flour with vada pav dry garlic masala, salt and water. The batter should be thick enough to cover the dumplings when they’re dipped in it. The vada pav dry garlic masala is optional but I feel it adds a punch to the batter.
- Finally, heat enough oil for deep-frying in a work or deep saucepan. Drop the potato dumplings in chickpea batter, shake off the excess batter and drop them in hot oil very carefully. It takes a few minutes to cook the dumplings. Once done, take it off and keep it in the paper towel to soak excess oil.
for the vada pav
- Slice the pav in half. Spread tamarind chutney on one side of the pav and coriander chutney on the other side. Place a vada on one side on the pav and press is slightly. Sprinkle generous amount of vada pav masala on top. Place the other half of the pav on top and take a big bite.