Homemade Vada Pav | Mumbai Famous Street Food

Mumbai's Special Street food, Vada Pav, where the spicy potato filling is coated with gram flour batter and deep-fried to make a spicy and yummy snack.

Vada Pav is popular street food in Mumbai and Maharashtra. Any Mumbaikar (the person living in Mumbai) will vouch for this yummy and soul-satisfying dish. Being born and brought up in Mumbai, I am no different. I tend to make this Mumbai Famous Vada Pav or Holi Special Vada Pav at home once in a few months.

Holi Special Vada pav being served on a paper, with red garlic chutney. Fried Green chilies are also served along and an open vada is seen in the background


This spicy and tasty Vada Pao is available in almost all streets in Mumbai and Thane. But still, everyone has specific joints or favorites. It is best enjoyed during the monsoon in India. People from Mumbai flock to a neighboring town Lonavala to enjoy monsoon and Lonavala’s vada pav.


Vada pav is also common during many festivities. For us, it is common during Holi or we call it Holi special vada pav. It is one of those easy pick and grab foods when you are on a run to apply the Holi colours to your loved ones. I remember my mom making more than 100’s of Vada’s in the morning of Holi, and then we enjoying it with our family and friends during the Holi party.


Mumbai Special Vada pav being served on a paper, with red garlic chutney. Fried Green chilies are also served along and an open vada is seen in the background


So what is Vada Pav?

Vada Pav means a sandwich or a burger made. It consists of Vada the filling or the patty and pav means the bread or the bun. Vada is made of a potato mixture, which is seasoned with spices. It is then coated with gram flour batter and then deep-fried. The Vada is then sandwiched between pav, i.e. bread or dinner roll along with some chutney and green chilies.

Close up look of the Street food vada pao sandwich, held in a hand


Pav for Vada Pav

The pav here has to be soft and light. If you are looking to make pav at home check my recipe for Eggless Indiav Pav / Dinner Rolls, which has detailed and step by step instructions on how you can make this pav or dinner rolls at home.


Chutneys for Vada Pav

There are different chutneys that go along with vada pav. The most famous chutney is the Spicy Garlic Chutney for Vada Pav. If you like the vada pav along with a spicy and a sweet taste, then this Green Coriander Chutney and Imli chutney pairs well. This is also a no onion no garlic chutney so best for those who cannot eat vada pav lasun chutney.

Batata Vada being served on a dark blue plate


Potatoes for Vada

Potato is one of the main ingredients in this vada pav. One needs to choose potatoes that are not too watery. Try to use a semi floury type potato. If potatoes have too much water, they might split during frying. They will also absorb more oil which is not good. 


Boiling of Potatoes

Another thing to note here is whenever making vada it is best to boil the potatoes 4-5 hours before and let it cool completely. So if you are making it in the evening, it is best to boil them in the morning and let it cool completely before using it. And if you are making for the afternoon, best is to boil them early in the morning or the previous night. This helps in binding the potatoes well, using less oil, and making the best vada for vada pav.

Single Vada pav being served on a paper, with red garlic chutney. Fried Green chilies are also served along and an open vada is seen in the background


Besan Batter for Vada

Besan Batter is made using gram flour. Gram flour is nothing but a flour made using split chickpeas. Few spices are added to the mixture and a batter is made along with water which has a semi-thick consistency. The consistency matters here, as it has to coat the potato ball nicely and not leave it. 

I like to keep the besan batter simple and is generally the case. It has mild spice in it and the main flavor for the vada comes from the potato mix. The besan covering gives a nice crunch to the vada. I always make the besan batter 20-30 minutes earlier. This helps in the besan or the gram flour to absorb some water.


Making of Vada Pav

The overall process of the vada pav is simple. The potato mixture is first made using a few spices. It is then cooled and small balls are formed. This mixture is then dipped in gram flour batter and then deep-fried.

It is then sandwiched in between pav, which is smeared with spicy chutneys. Generally, deep-fried green chilies are served along with it. In all, a spicy and Zanzhanit (Marathi word for spicy) snack is ready. 


If you are looking for more street foods or spicy food try this Spicy Kolhapuri Misal or this No Onion No Garlic Pav Bhaji from Mumbai.  


Here goes the recipe for Homemade Vada Pav | Mumbai Special Vada Pav | Holi Special Vada Pav



Holi Special Vada Pav

Homemade Vada Pav | Mumbai Special Vada Pav

Mumbai's Special Street food, Vada Pav, where the spicy potato filling is coated with gram flour batter and deep fried to make a spicy and yummy snack.
5 from 6 votes
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Course: Appetizer, Snacks
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Besan, Chickpea, Potato
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 15 Vada
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre

Equipment

  • Wok
  • Pressure Cooker / Pot

Ingredients

For the Batter

  • 2 Cups of Besan (Gram Flour)
  • 1/2 tsp Hing (Asafoetida)
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera (Cumin – Optional, I have skipped it)
  • 1/2 tsp red chilly powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Water for preparing the batter

Potato Mixture

  • 8-10 medium-size potatoes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5-6 green chilies finely chopped (as per taste)
  • 1/2 inch grated ginger (around 1 tablespoon)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic grated (Optional – around 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder (as per taste)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 cup Chopped coriander

Other Ingredients

  • Oil for Frying
  • Pav for assembling
  • 5-6 green chilies if you need to fry and add as a side

Instructions

Potato Mixture

  • Boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker or a wide pan until done.
    Clean potatoes ready to be boiled
  • Once cooled, peel and mash them evenly.
    Peeled and mashed boiled potato
  • In a pan or a wok add in the 2 tsp oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add in the mustard seeds.
    Adding mustard seeds in the oil
  • Once the mustard seeds crackle add in the cumin and the curry leaves.
    Adding of cumin and curry leaves in the tempering
  • Add the grated ginger and garlic if using.
    Ginger, garlic and green chilies being added in the tempering
  • Add the turmeric, red chilly powder.
    Turmeric being added in the tempering
  • Now add the mashed potatoes
    Adding potato in the tempering
  • Give everything a quick mix.
  • Add in the salt, lemon juice, sugar and mix everything.
    Adding lemon juice in potato mixture
  • Add in the chopped coriander.
    Adding of coriander in the potato mixture
  • Mix everything and keep it aside to cool
    The prepared potato mixture

For the Batter

  • Sift the besan. Sifting helps to make a lump-free batter.
  • Add in the salt, asafoetida, cumin seeds, and red chilly powder.
    Gram flour with salt, turmeric, red chilly and asafoteida
  • Prepare a lump-free semi-thick batter using water.
    The gram flour batter
  • The batter should not be too watery. It should be thick enough to coat the potato mixture.
  • Let the batter rest for 20-30 minutes so that the gram flour absorbs water.

Preparing the Vada

  • In a wok add the oil and let it heat on medium.
  • In the meantime, make round balls of the potato mixture.
  • Take a lemon size potato mixture in your hand and press it with your hand as if making ladoos or truffles.
  • Keep them aside.
    The prepared balls from the potato mixture
  • Check if the oil mix is ready. Drop a tiny ball of the gram flour batter in the oil. If it comes up instantly the oil is ready.
  • Slowly drop the potato balls in the besan/gram flour batter and evenly coat it.
    Dipping of the vada in the gram flour batter
  • Drop this in the hot oil. Be careful not to put your hand in or not dropping it from a height.
    Frying of the vada in hot oil
  • Let this cook on medium for 2-3 minutes, until you see the bottom getting a bit cooked.
  • Using a serrated spoon, gently put some oil on the top.
  • I do this step so that when you turn the batter does not stick down.
  • Flip and cook on the other side.
  • Fry this for 7-8 minutes on medium heat turning in between until golden brown from all the sides.
    Frying of the vada , they are frying on the other side
  • Remove it on an absorbent paper.
  • Repeat the process for the remaining vada’s.
  • If you are frying green chilies, do this in the last as the oil gets the spicy chilly taste.
  • First, slit the chilly in between and then fry for 3-4 minutes turning in between.

Assembling the Vada Pav

  • Take a pav/dinner roll.
  • Slit it in between.
  • Apply chutney as per your choice.
  • Add the vada in between and slightly press it.
  • Enjoy it as an evening snack with some tea.

Notes

  • Try to use the semi floury style potatoes. If the potatoes have more water it will absorb more oil.
  • Best is to boil the potatoes 4-5 hours before or the night before you want to make Vada Pav.
  • Sift the besan. Sifting helps to make a lump-free batter.
  • Use a whisk to make the batter, it helps to make a smooth and a lump-free batter.
  • Drop a tiny ball of the batter in the mixture to check if the oil is ready. If it comes up instantly the oil is ready.
  • Do not fry the chilly whole else it will pop out of the hot oil and you will be burned.
  • If you do not eat garlic, skip the garlic in the vada mixture.
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Mumbai's Special Street food, Vada Pav, where the spicy potato filling is coated with gram flour batter and deep-fried to make a spicy and yummy snack.



Update


This post was created in Feb 2019. Today I am updating the content, and added new pics and sharing with Foodies_RedoingOldPost, where we a group of bloggers work towards updating our old post.

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