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Vada Pav

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It’s finally here! The most requested street-style Vada Pav recipe. I’m thrilled to share my mom’s mouthwatering recipe that I grew up eating, along with all our secret tips to make it super easy and fun to prepare. Get ready to bring the flavors of Mumbai to your kitchen!

vada pav in a black plate with green fried chili

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Vada Pav, often called the “Indian burger,” is Mumbai’s beloved street food sensation. This iconic dish combines a spicy potato fritter (vada) nestled in a soft dinner roll (pav) with a medley of flavorful chutneys and a heap of besan chura. It’s a delightful burst of flavors and textures, perfect with a cup of Masala Chai.

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I grew up with my mom making most of our meals at home, including delicious street foods. Finally, in the summer of 2021, while she was visiting me, she taught me how to make Vada Pav. Cooking together was so much fun, and to my surprise, it was quite easy!

All the components can be prepared ahead of time, making it a super easy Vegan Indian Meal to cook at home. I’m thrilled to add another exciting Indian street food recipe to my collection and can’t wait for you to enjoy it as much as the Pav Bhaji, Ragda Patties, Dabeli, and Misal Pav recipes.

History of Vada Pav

It is believed that Vada Pav was invented in the 1960s by Ashok Vaidya, who ran a small stall outside Dadar railway station in Mumbai. It quickly became a favorite among commuters due to its affordability, portability, and delicious taste. Today, Vada Pav, with its humble origins, has become a culinary symbol of Mumbai, enjoyed by millions across India and beyond.

If you are visiting Mumbai, Ashok Vada Pav near Kirti College is a MUST try!

Notes: There are a couple of unique touches in my mom’s recipe. First, she adds dry shredded coconut to the dry red chutney instead of the toasted bread pieces often used by street vendors. Second, she spreads tangy-sweet tamarind chutney, which enhances the flavor and keeps the Vada Pav from being too dry.

vada pav topped with fried mirchi

Ingredients

Here are the ingredients for each component of this recipe: the spicy potato filling, the outer coating for the vada, and the essential red garlic chutney. The complete recipe with exact ingredient amounts are in the recipe card at the end of this post.

Spicy Potato Filling Ingredients

  • Potatoes – russet or red potatoes work best for this recipe.
  • Spices – coriander seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, hing, and green chilies are all you need to add that authentic spicy taste to the potato filling.
  • Aromatics – fresh ginger and curry leaves add a wonderful earthy aroma.
ingredients for potato filling

Outer Covering Ingredients

This batter is used to make the batata wada and is used to make the crispy fried batter pieces (aka Chura) that are used to make the spicy garlic chutney. The chura is also topped on the vada before serving.

  • Besan – Make sure to use fine besan made from split brown chickpeas (chana dal) which is readily available in Indian grocery stores. Besan is not same as the chickpea flour.
  • Ajwain – Carom seeds make the dish easier on the stomach.
  • Turmeric – a little goes a long way in adding a beautiful yellow hue to the vadas.
  • Baking Soda – a pinch of baking soda makes the batter airy resulting in light and crisp vada.
ingredients for vada pav batter

Vada Pav Red Chutney

  • Garlic – fresh garlic adds the best flavors.
  • Fried batter – aka “Chura” these crispy bites add earthy flavors to the chutney and are made using the same batter that is used to fry the vada.
  • Coconut – adds nutty and aromatic flavors. Some families also add peanuts or sesame seeds to the chutney, while street vendors add toasted pieces of pav.
  • Red Chilli Powder – I recommend Kashmiri red chili which is not super spicy but adds a bright red color to the chutney. You may use spicier chili powder if you like.
ingredients for vada pav dry red chutney.

How to Make Vada Pav

1. Potato Filling

  • Steam Potatoes – I love the convenience of Instant Pot but you can also use a stovetop pressure cooker or steam them on the stovetop.
  • Peel and dice – Let the potatoes cool down completely. Peel off the skin and dice them into small cubes.
  • Saute spices – Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add asafetida, turmeric, crushed cumin and coriander seeds, ginger, green chili, and curry leaves, and cook for one minute. Add the potatoes and salt.
  • Potato Filling & Shaping the Vada – Mix well while mashing with the back of a spatula or a masher. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice, then garnish with cilantro. Mix well and let it cool down. This is your spicy, flavor-packed potato filling. Shape the mixture into flat vadas about 2 inches wide and ½-inch thick. Make 10 to 12 vadas.

2. Outer Covering for Vada

  • Batter – Add besan to a mixing bowl. Lightly crush the ajwain seeds by rubbing them between your palms to release their aroma, then add them to the bowl along with turmeric and salt. Add a little bit of water at a time and mix well to create a smooth, flowy batter. Finally, add baking soda and give it a quick stir.

3. Frying Chura, Chilies and Batata Vada

  • Heat oil in a frying pan or kadai. Check the oil temperature by adding a few drops of batter into the oil; they should rise quickly within 10 seconds.
  • Chura – Dip your fingers into the batter, then gently shake your hand over the oil to form small, roundish balls (known as Chura) in the oil. Ensure your fingertips are at least 6 inches above the oil to avoid the hot oil from splattering on your hands. Fry on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until they turn lightly golden and crispy. Remove the Chura with a slotted spatula and drain on a paper towel-lined dish. Repeat the process until you have about 1 cup of fried Chura. Allow it to cool.
  • Fried Chilies – add whole green chilies to the hot oil and fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spatula and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle salt over the fried chilies. These chilies are optional but for a full Mumbai street-style taste you must try it at least once.
  • Frying Batata Vada – Dip the shaped vada one at a time into the batter. Use a spoon to generously coat it on all sides, lift and tilt the spoon to remove any excess batter, to create a thin layer of coating around the vada. Carefully add the vada to the hot oil using the spoon. Repeat with another 2 or 3 vadas.
  • Fry until golden brown on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes, turning halfway through. Fry the remaining vadas in batches.

4. Red Garlic Chutney

  • Vada Pav Garlic Chutney – Add garlic, fried chura, coconut, salt, and Kashmiri red chili powder to the grinder jar. Grind until all the ingredients are well incorporated, forming a slightly coarse chutney.

5. Spicy Green Chutney

  • Make the spicy chutney by adding all the green chutney ingredients to a blender and make a smooth paste. Tip: Make a double batch and freeze it in silicone ice cube trays to use later, spread it on sandwiches, or dip with samosa and pakoras.

Serving

Once all the components are ready get ready to assemble the Vada Pav.

  • Slice the pav in the center without cutting it all the way through.
  • Spread green chutney on one side and tamarind chutney on the other.
  • Spread garlic chutney on the bottom, place a vada over it, and add a generous heap of besan chura on top.
  • Add a green chili on top, then gently press the pav closed.

Storing

Store leftover chutneys in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for a longer shelf life. I like to portion them into silicone ice cube trays and thaw a few cubes at a time as needed.

Refrigerate leftover fried Vada for 2 to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, place them in the refrigerator overnight. Microwave for 30 to 45 seconds to reheat.

Store chura in an airtight container; if it becomes soft, simply reheat it in an air fryer or the oven at 300°F for 2 to 5 minutes.

closeup photo of vada pav in hands

Tips for Authentic Mumbai Vada Pav

  • Spice Level: Adjust the number of green chilies in the potato filling and the amount of red chili powder in the dry garlic chutney to suit your spice preference.
  • Crispiness: For extra crispy vadas, add a tablespoon of rice flour to the gram flour batter.
  • Light Vada: When coating the vada with batter, ensure you create a thin, even layer around it. Use a spoon to lift the vada from the batter, tilting the spoon sideways to remove any excess batter while maintaining an even coating. The spoon also allows you to safely add the vada to the hot oil.
  • Chutneys: Homemade chutneys add authentic flavor. They can also be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator. While optional, my mom always added the sweet tangy tamarind chutney to balance the spicy flavors of the batata wada and other chutneys.
  • Pav – If possible get fresh Indian pavs from bakeries like “Hot Breads”. You can also use Whole Foods or any store-brand dinner rolls, just make sure they do not have more than 2 grams of sugar.

More Indian Street Food Recipes

Recipe

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vada pav in a black plate with red chutney, chura and fried chili.

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Vada Pav Recipe

Learn how to make Mumbai’s beloved street food Vada Pav at home!

Prep Time20 minutes

Cook Time40 minutes

Course: Brunch, dinner, Lunch, Snack

Cuisine: Indian

Servings: 6

Calories: 493kcal

Ingredients

Potato Filling

Outer covering

Garlic Chutney

Green Chutney

Fried Green Chilies (optional)

Instructions

Batata Vada Filling

  • Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot insert. Place the trivet inside and arrange the potatoes on top of the trivet. Close the Instant Pot lid and set the pressure release valve to sealing. Pressure cook for 15 minutes, then allow for natural pressure release. Note: You can also steam potatoes on the stovetop.

  • Allow the potatoes to cool, then peel off the skin and cut them into small cubes.

  • Roughly crush the coriander and cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle, and set aside.

  • Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add asafetida, turmeric, crushed cumin and coriander seeds, ginger, green chili, and curry leaves, and cook for one minute.

  • Add the potatoes and salt, mixing thoroughly and roughly mashing them with the back of a spatula or a masher to create a smooth filling. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice, then garnish with cilantro. Mix well and let it cool. Shape the mixture into round balls and flatten them to make vadas about 2 inches wide and ½ inch thick. You should be able to make 10 to 12 vadas

Batter

  • Add besan to a mixing bowl. Lightly crush the ajwain seeds by rubbing them between your palms to release their aroma, then add them to the bowl along with turmeric and salt. Gradually add water, mixing well to create a smooth, flowing batter. Add baking soda just before you are ready to fry, and give it a quick stir.

Frying

  • Heat oil in a frying pan or kadai. To check the oil temperature, drop a few drops of batter into the oil; they should rise quickly within 10 seconds.

  • Dip your fingers into the batter, then gently shake your hand over the oil to form small, roundish balls (known as Chura) in the oil. Ensure your fingertips are at least 6 inches above the oil to avoid the hot oil from splattering on your hands. Fry on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until they turn lightly golden and crispy. Remove the Chura with a slotted spatula and drain on a paper towel-lined dish. Repeat the process until you have about 1 cup of fried Chura. Allow it to cool.

  • add whole green chilies to the hot oil and fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spatula and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle salt over the fried chilies. These chilies are optional but for a full Mumbai street-style taste you must try it at least once.

  • Dip the shaped vada one at a time into the batter. Use a spoon to generously coat it on all sides, lift and tilt the spoon to remove any excess batter, to create a thin layer of coating around the vada. Carefully add the vada to the hot oil using the spoon. Repeat with another 2 or 3 vadas. Fry until golden brown on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes, turning halfway through. Fry the remaining vadas in batches.

Garlic Chutney

  • Add garlic, fried chura, coconut, salt, and Kashmiri red chili powder to the grinder jar. Grind until all the ingredients are well incorporated, forming a slightly coarse chutney.

Green Chutney

  • Add cilantro, green chili, garlic, cumin seeds, salt, sugar, lemon juice, and water to a blender jar and blend until smooth.

Assembling Vada Pav

  • Slice the pav in the center without cutting it all the way through. Spread green chutney on one side and tamarind chutney on the other. Place a vada on the green chutney side, then sprinkle garlic chutney and chura on top of the vada. Add a green chili on top, then gently press the pav closed.Assemble the remaining vadas just before serving.

Notes

Air frying Vada  –  Preheat the air fryer to 400 F. Spray oil in the basket and place 5 to 6 Vadas. Spray some more oil on top of the Vada and air fry for 9 to 10 minutes. After the first 6 minutes add the green chilies and air fry for another 4 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 493kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 2276mg | Potassium: 715mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 380IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 206mg | Iron: 6mg

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Source: Ministry of Curry

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