Vada Pav

February 24th, 20112:34 pm @

King of street foods - vada pav.

I’ve written before about my love of Bombay’s favourite street food, vada pav – the city’s street-side veggie burger that is a little celebration of the carbohydrate. Not everyone can get to Bombay to partake,so this home-made version will suffice till you can get there and sample it yourself.

Of course, purists will tell that no home-cooked vada pav can match the sublime heights reached by the guys on the street. The years of accumulated gunk on the hotplate, the secret masala of spices, even the location, all go towards making a mix that can’t be recreated at home.

Quite possibly, they’re right. Although home-cooked vada pav also come sans faecal matter, dodgy water and you at least know what your hands have been up to and when you last washed them.

This will make about 6-8 servings.


  • 8 medium potatoes, boiled and smashed up (not mashed, you want some texture)
  • 2.5 cm piece of  ginger, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 2 cups gram flour
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Pavs (or any hamburger bun will do if you can’t get them)


  • With a mortar and pestle, grind the ginger, garlic and chilies into a paste.
  • Add the paste, coriander leaves, and salt to the potatoes.
  • Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add the mustard seeds and when they start to pop add the turmeric powder and curry leaves.
  • Give it a stir then pour it over the potatoes and stir in.
  • Take balls of potato mix and fashion them into a little potato patties.
  • Set aside
  • Mix salt, turmeric powder, chili powder and gram flour in a bowl.
  • Add water and whisk until you get an even batter.
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Dip each patty in batter, then place it in the hot oil.
  • Shallow fry like this on both sides until the patty turns golden.
  • Remove and drain on kitchen towel.
  • Heat a separate pan and smear a very light coating of oil over the surface.
  • Slice open the pavs and hold them face-down on the hot pan, gently frying them.
  • Spread your favourite chutney on the fried pav, put a vada in the middle and serve.
Enhance the reality by having the server fiddle with their crotch, scratch their nose and spit on a nearby wall. Stray dogs looking for scraps would also add to the ambience.
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