Vada Pav !

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If you’re visiting Mumbai, you can’t leave without having Vada Pav. Vada Pav is the most lovable street food of Mumbai. There are around more than 40,000 stalls offering this iconic fast food. So why is it so famous?

Vada Pav is one of the most essential part of Mumbai’s food world. In the city of dreams, this typical Maharashtrian, cheap, flavourful and a tummy filling snack brings different levels of Mumbaikars together. Be it the construction site workers, middle class man enjoying the affordable snack during his month end slack or the rich mumbaikars, sneaking out once in a while to devour this street snack. A line I read in one of the articles summarizes the relation between Mumbai and Vada Pav – “Everyone in Mumbai surrenders to the delight of this Vada Pav.” Such is the love for Vada Pav.

According to a legend, Vada Pav was created by Ashok Vaidya, a snack vendor who sold vada and poha right outside the chaotic Dadar Station’s Platform No.1. Now his son, Narendra Vaidya continues his legacy. In the early 1960s, Vaidya came up with the innovative idea of selling Vada Pav as an on-the-go snack after a customer in a rush asked him to stuff a vada inside a pav. His mouth-watering snack was an instant hit. What started out as sustenance food has now become an irresistible classic, a street food icon. Vada pav is a rare Indian street food that boasts its very own World Vada Pav Day on 23th August.

For me, the best memory of Vada Pav is during the school days. One of the factors Vile Parle (east) and my school Parle Tilak is known for is Babu cha vada and patti samosa. I remember having vada pav in school was like a treat for us. Once a month, usually on saturdays, my mom used to give me Rs.5. At that time, vada pav used to cost for Rs.3.50 paisa in our school. So after the half day school, we used to treat ourselves to vada pav and with the remaining money, have 2-3 chocolates. If there was anyone’s birthday in school, everybody knew they would be getting a vada pav as the birthday treat. Such good memories.

I was craving Vada pav for the last 2-3 weeks. So thought why not make it at home. So here’s the recipe.

Note : This recipe makes around 10 vadas. Please keep in mind the amount of salt you put in every element that makes the vada pav. We definitely don’t want a salty vada pav. 

Ingredients :

For the Potato Filling

  • 5-6 medium size potatoes, boiled and cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • pinch of asafoetida/hing
  • 7-8 curry leaves
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, 1 inch ginger piece, 5-6 green chilis – grind together to make a crush
  • 1/2-1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • chopped coriander leaves around a tbsp or so
  • oil for frying the vadas

For the batter/coating

  • 1-1 1/2 cup besan/gram flour/chickpea flour
  • 1 tbsp rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4th tsp soda bicarbonate
  • water as required

For the Date-Tamarind Chutney

  • 250 g dates(khajur)  – seedless
  • 100 g tamarind (imli)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • pinch of salt
  • water

For the Dry Red Chutney

  • Some of the coating batter, fried
  • 1-2 tbsp red chili powder (as spicy as you want)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • salt to taste

And ofcourse required number of pavs.

Method : 

  1. To make the tamarind chutney, soak the dates and tamarind in warm water for 20 mins. In a grinder, add the soak tamarind and dates, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt. Grind in into a thick runny paste using some water. Remove in a bowl and keep aside.
  2. To make the dry red chutney, in a bowl mix together the gram flour, rice flour, turmeric, salt and soda bicarbonate. Add in the water as required and mix until a pouring-coating consistency is formed. Make sure there are no lumps. Heat the oil for frying the vadas. Use some of this batter about 3-4 tbsp and drop it in the hot oil and fry until crisp. Place on the tissue to drain the extra oil. After it is cooled down, transfer in into a blender with the garlic cloves, red chili powder and salt. Grind it into a powder and keep it aside.
  3. To make the potato filling, heat the oil in a pan. Add in the mustard seeds, let them crackle. Add in the asafoetida, curry leaves. Next add in the garlic-ginger-green chili crush. Mix. Add in the turmeric and mix. Turn off the gas and add in the boiled cubed potatoes. Add salt, lemon juice, coriander leaves and mix well. Filing is ready.
  4. Heat the oil for frying. Take a big spoonful of the potato filing and roll it in a shape of vada. Give a stir to the coating batter. Once the oil is medium hot, dip the vada in the batter, coating from all sides and drop it in the oil. Fry until the vada is golden in colour evenly.
  5. When serving, cut the pav in half. Apply date-tamarind chutney to one side. Place the vada on one side and put some dry red chutney on it. Serve hot.

Eat this comforting vada pav warm, with a cup of chaha (tea) and recollect all those good old memories.

Happy Cooking !

Reference : 

  • madhurasrecipes
  • archanasrecipes
  • Mumbai’s favorite snack by Sneha Patil on culturaltrip.com – https://theculturetrip.com/asia/india/articles/mumbais-favorite-snack-vada-pav/
  • quora
  • and ofcourse google.

 

 

 

 

 

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