Vada Pav Sandwich - Mumbai Street Food Recipe

Ready to eat: 45 min
Nia Bennett | May, 16 2019

Mumbai and Vada Pav have a symbiotic relationship. Vada means a spiced potato dipped in batter and pav means bread or bap/teacakes.

Vada pav is so iconic to the city that if you ever plan to visit Mumbai - this has to street food you try. Give us a shout and I will happily recommend some of the best places to try Vada Pav.

Growing up, I was never allowed to eat burgers from fast food chains, so this Indian veggie burger came closest to a treat. I have fond memories of my dad returning from work with a bag full of vadas, samosas, pavs and chutneys for us to assemble and eat to our desire. So this recipe is nostalgic and recreating food so close to my heart is tough, but this one came pretty close to what I loved eating both as a kid and an adult.

If you are trying to make homemade vada pav and this is your first attempt, let me tell you one thing - the process can be long, but it is definitely worth it.

To make a vada pav you need to

  1. Make garlic coconut chutney
  2. Make  tamarind chutney
  3. Make vadas (potato balls)
  4. Fry the vadas in oil using the batter
  5. Toast the pav (bread)
  6. Assemble and eat

Making Garlic Coconut Chutney

The garlic coconut chutney is dry and a vital ingredient for vada pav. Traditionally this is very spicy, so if you like less heat, use the ratio I have in the list below. But if you prefer spice, feel free to double up the chilli powder.

Making Tamarind Chutney

You have two ways to make this; you can either purchase store bought pulp, add water, jaggery and spices and boil to get a thick consistency or use fresh tamarind, soak it in water, add jaggery and let it boil and thicken.

Making Vada Pav

The potato balls are nothing but boiled potatoes, then mashed and tempered with spices and curry leaves. These vadas are then coated in gram flour batter and then deep fried.

Once you made everything, it’s time to assemble them into the bun. Apply both the chutneys on each side, now place the vada in between the two buns, add a roasted (chilli) and serve with some more chutney.

Ingredients

Serves: 9

  • 2.5 tsp vegetable oil (Dry Garlic Chutney)
  • 10 cloves garlic (Dry Garlic Chutney)
  • 1 cup grated coconut (Dry Garlic Chutney)
  • 3 tsp kashmiri red chili powder (Dry Garlic Chutney)
  • 1 tsp salt (Dry Garlic Chutney)
  • 1 cup water (Tamarind Chutney)
  • 1/3 cup tamarind paste (Tamarind Chutney)
  • 5 tbsp jaggery (add more if you need more sweetness) (Tamarind Chutney)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (Tamarind Chutney)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder, or to taste (Tamarind Chutney)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder (Tamarind Chutney)
  • 1 inch ginger (for the vada)
  • 6 large garlic (for the vada)
  • 2 green chilies (for the vada)
  • 1 tbsp oil (for the vada)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (for the vada)
  • 12 curry leaves (for the vada)
  • 4 medium potatoes, around 600 grams (for the vada)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (for the vada)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste (for the vada)
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander (for the vada)
  • 1 cup gram flour, also known as chickpea flour (batter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (batter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (batter)
  • pinch baking soda (batter)
  • 1/2 cup water (batter)

Method

Prep: 30 min > Cook: 15 min > Ready to eat: 45 min

  1. Heat oil to a pan and add chopped garlic and fry until garlic turns slightly brown. To the same pan, add freshly grated coconut. Cook for until it turns light brown be careful not to burn the coconut.
  2. Transfer the toasted garlic, coconut to a blender and add salt, red chilli powder and grind till it’s a dry chutney.
  3. Now in a saucepan soaked tamarind, jaggery, salt, red chilli powder, cumin powder and water and let this boil on medium till it thickens. Now allow this to cool.
  4. Peel and boil potatoes until soft. When it’s cold, gently mash it. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the ginger, garlic and green chilis. Set all this aside.
  5. Add 1.5 tablespoons oil to a pan, once it’s hot, temper by adding mustard seeds, use a lid and let the mustard seeds to pop for 40 seconds. Now add curry leaves, crushed ginger, garlic and chillies and let this cook. Now add the boiled potatoes, turmeric, salt, chopped cilantro and mix well. Allow everything to cook for 5 minutes on a low to medium.
  6. Once cool, make medium sized balls out of the potato mixture. Now make the batter.
  7. To make a batter, add gram flour to a bowl, to this add turmeric and salt. Start adding water and slowly whisk to form a smooth paste.
  8. Keep adding extra water to reach the desired consistency. The batter should neither be medium consistency, neither thick nor thin.
  9. Heat oil in a deep pan/wok, once the oil is hot. Dip each potato round into the batter, coat it from all sides. Then drop it carefully into the hot oil.
  10. Fry the vadas in hot oil until golden brown. Fry all vadas, drain excess oil using paper towels.

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