There is no other food in the world I love more and miss more than the Mumbai vada pav. What is amazing about this dish is that, it does not have very many ingredients, but the right proportion of everything can make it so good that, no other food can compare to how tasty this is (at least for all Mumbaikars). We miss it so much that once we land in Mumbai, for our India vacation, we make sure to eat this even before we reach home. Everyone in my family shares the same love for vada pav that I do. It took me many trials to nail this taste just like the street vendors. Finally, when I did, every single person who ate it wanted the recipe. So here it goes for all who have tasted this and all who would like to try it.
Prep Time: 15 mins, Cooking Time: 15 mins, Servings 10-12
- Potatoes 8 ( I have used golden potatoes medium or small in size)
- Cilantro Coriander ½ cup
- Green chillies 10 (4 for potatoes stuffing mixture and 6 for frying. I used lavangi mirchi, which is small and a very spicy version of the normal green chilly)
- Garlic pods 3 medium
- Ginger ¾ inch piece
- Curry leaves 6-7
- Mustard seeds 1 ½ tsp
- Urad daal (split black lentil) 1 tsp
- Turmeric 1 tsp
- Asafetida (hing) 1tsp
- Pav (soft bread roll) 10-12
- Gram flour (Besan) 3 cups
- Rice flour 2-3 tbsp
- Fruit Salt (soda bicarb) 2 pinches
Steam the potatoes in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles. If you are using Instapot, steam for 7-8 minutes if they are small or medium, using the trivet/ steaming rack to hold the potatoes. Once the steam releases naturally, open, peel and mash them.
Take the coriander, garlic, ginger and 4 green chillies (you can adjust the heat, but a very mild version would not be as tasty) and make a coarse paste in the mixer. Do not add water.
Heat 2 tsp oil. Add mustard seeds to the oil, once they crackle add urad daal, turmeric, hing, curry leaves and the coriander, garlic, ginger and green chilly mixture to the oil. Mix and cook for a minute till the garlic loses its raw flavor.
Now add this paste, fried in oil, to the mashed potatoes and add salt to taste. Please do not add the potatoes to the kadhai and cook them on heat. This changes the taste a lot. I would recommend you add a little more salt than you would normally like, to this mixture. This is the single most important tip for the vada pav to taste like the one you eat outside. These details makes a huge difference. Make small and flat patties of this mixture.
Take the gram flour and rice flour and adding water slowly, whisk till you make a smooth thick paste. The paste should be thick to coat the patties when dipped, without showing the stuffing. Add the 2 pinches of soda bicarb and salt to taste to this mixture.
Heat enough oil in the fry pan. I am using an iron kadhai that I got from India for frying, iron helps maintain a constant and stable temperature while frying. Dip the potato patty in the gram flour paste using a fork as I have shown. This helps you to have your hands clean while frying. Put the coated patty for frying. Fry for 30 seconds or until golden brown on both sides before removing. Lay on paper towels to soak up excess oil.
Prepare the plate by adding the vada (patty) into the pav (soft bread). Serve with fried chillies sprinkled with salt and some dry garlic chutney. I have a store bought dry garlic chutney. Some people like to add tamarind and green chutney. I don’t prefer that as the flavor of the chutneys gets so strong that you will not be able to enjoy the subtle and mouthwatering flavors of the vada. If you do not substitute or replace any ingredient from this recipe, I assure you that you will feel accomplished and proud after making this amazingly flavorful dish. The proportions of the ingredients makes a huge difference.
Do tell me how it was. Share your thoughts and photos after you try the recipe.