Vada Pav

Two batata vadas with 2 pav and spicy garlic coconut chutney is served on a plate
Batata vada with pav

Batata vada or just vada is essentially a deep-fried potato fritter is served along with a soft pav nicely smothered with tangy chutneys. Vada pav is the quintessential street food of Mumbai enjoyed by all classes of the society. It would be a sacrilege if you don’t eat a vada pav when you are visiting Mumbai.

Vada has gained popularity because of its convenience and of course its taste. Hawkers sell their fare on railway stations, at stalls at every nook and corner of the city. A fast food combo which can be easily devoured even while catching the local trains of Mumbai; it has captured the hearts of all Mumbaikars and Indians alike.

My Earliest Memory of Vada

As a child, I was introduced to the ‘Khidki Vada’ of Kalyan in the suburbs of Mumbai. Khidki Vada has a glorious culinary tradition of more than 50 years in the city of Kalyan. It is the vada handed out of a khidki or window which has earned it its name. I used to find the filling very spicy as a kid, so I started eating the outer besan coating with much ado. But that set the trend for a vada pav for me almost at least once every week till the time I left Kalyan. Served with a generous helping of dry garlic-coconut chutney, the hot khidki vada just melts in your mouth and leaves you craving for more.

Nowadays, whenever I am visiting my parents in Kalyan, I eat the Amber vada pav near my house, which is served with a tangy tomato chutney on its side. The tomato chutney with the vada is a heavenly combination as well. You must try it to believe it. Vada pav is not obviously the healthiest of food options dished out of our kitchen but mind you, you can’t stop eating at one 🙂

Ingredients for 6 vadas

4 medium to big potatoes: boiled firmly and mashed. The potatoes should not be mushy and should be mashed without leaving any chunks.

Besan – 1.5 cups of besan

Little water to form a thick batter with besan. The batter should not be watery or it will not coat the vadas well. Neither it should be too thick or the vadas will taste more of besan and less of the filling.

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Oil: For frying

Salt to taste

For the Tempering:

Green chillies: 4-5. Depends on your spice intake

Ginger: 1 inch, peeled and chopped

Peeled Garlic: 8-10 pods

Mustard seeds – 1.5 tsp

Oil: 3 tbsp peanut oil for tempering a

Hing/Asafoetida – A generous pinch


Add besan, water, 1.2 tsp turmeric and salt to a bowl and mix it all well to form a thick batter. Next, grind the green chillies, ginger and garlic to a fine paste without adding any water to the mixer.

Now, prepare the tempering. Heat the oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start popping, add hing, chilli-garlic-ginger paste to the oil and fry it well for 40-50 seconds till the oil imbibes the flavour of the seasoning.

Now add this tempering to the mashed potatoes. Add salt to the mixture and mix it well. Make around 6 flat, palm-sized balls of this filling mixture and keep them ready. Heat the oil. When the oil is hot, dip each potato ball in the batter. Make sure that the potato filling is nicely coated with the besan batter. Then fry the vadas in oil till they are golden brown in colour and ready.

Some people add a pinch of soda to the batter to make the coating light. However, I usually skip the soda.

Serve the piping hot vadas with chutneys of your choice and soft pavs. Enjoy!

Some other popular Maharashtrian dishes from my kitchen that you would love to check out are the Sabudana Khichdi and Panha. Try them out and let me know how you like them. 🙂

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