What is vada pav?
go-padalso written wada pavIt’s a veggie burger. A potato ball or patty, topped with spices, green chili and garlic, is dipped in a kiss (Chickpea flour from India) battered and fried.
Vada is served hot inside a soft bun or bun and with or without added spiced chutney. It is also served with fried chilies on the side for an added kick. The touch of spice, the different flavors of the chutney, the crispy crust of the vada, the sour mouthfeel of the hot potato, and the smooth texture of the bread is a real flavor bomb. Vada-pav is an Indian fast food, takeaway food.
How to serve vada pav
The fluffy bun is cut in half and layered with the seller’s secret chutney recipe for added strength or flavor. A hot, crispy fried go slides into the soft bun, like a slider. Originally, thrifty vendors made chutney from crispy dough nuggets that escaped into the oil as the vada was fried.
Another way to serve is cooraSome have added the crisps to the vada sandwich or served fresh crisps as a side dish along with fried green chili. a dry heat lasagna chutney made with garlic and dried coconut is sprinkled on the go for extra heat. This creates a spicy veggie burger ready to eat from your hand or from a plate or newspaper holder.
What are the origins of vada-pav?
Maharashtrians, mostly a Marathi-speaking community, from the state of Maharashtra in India (Bombay/Mumbai is the state capital), have made go sweet potato at home as a snack for centuries. Batata vada is the favorite snack of Maharashtrians and a real treat for the family.
Sometime in 1966, a man named Ashok Vaidya, a Maharashtrian, opened the first go-pav store outside one of Mumbai’s busiest urban rail stations, Dadar. He was the first to conjure up the combination of a Maharashtrian vada inserted into what was a European heritage, the soft bun. These sandwiches were (and are) baked fresh by the thousands, every day by small Iranian or Muslim artisan bakeries.
The Dadar and Girgaum areas of Mumbai had a large migrant population group, mostly manual and textile workers, as Bombay was an industrial city at the time. It is now a commercial powerhouse.
Vada Pav was, and still is, a very cheap breakfast or lunch, ideal for cash-strapped workers. The main goal of the mill workers was to save a lot of money and transfer most of their salary to their families in the villages. These factors, along with the satisfying taste and satiety of hunger, made vadapav an instant success story. This was poor people’s hot food at its best, costing just a few rupees.
Why is go pav so famous?
Vada Pav is the most popular and cheap street food in Mumbai. It is sold prepared with fresh ingredients, fried and assembled as a prepared snack, in road carts or in small restaurants hidden in many streets of this megalopolis. It is so popular as a hearty and tasty snack, made up of double carbohydrates (potato and bread), that millions of vada pav are sold every day in Mumbai alone. Furthermore, it is equally popular in other cities as well.
Vada pav’s reputation is so widespread that people from all walks of life in Mumbai (and now other cities too) eat it regularly. The slum poor or the super-rich, CEOs or Bollywood stars, students or workers, have all developed such an affinity for it, that vada pav has become a social equalizer.
Being a hearty vegetarian snack, it appeals to all the communities that live here, as many Hindus are strict vegetarians. Almost everyone living in Mumbai eats vada pav and actively seeks out the famous sticks that serve it. Above all, it supports the wallet even at the end of the month.
In the monsoon season, when the days are gray and humid, vada pav comes to the right place to make people feel warm. Many tourist destinations in India have some stalls where people stand in long queues to satisfy their addiction to this special snack.
The reputation for the crispiest vada or the best vada pav in town with tantalizing chutneys spreads quickly by word of mouth, so long lines for a slice are inevitable.
In Mumbai, vada pav fans will travel the distance to a famous commune, enduring traffic jams, just for their dose of that perfect vada-pav. When just a humble potato in a sandwich can penetrate a population, it goes without saying that vada pav is the ultimate snack to try at least once.
Vada pav is an Indian potato ball or cake, topped with spices, green chili and garlic. It is dipped in besan dough and fried.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 people
Author: Sumitra Naren
To carry out
- 3 large waxy potatoes, about 20 ounces/600g, boiled
- 2 large onions, about 300g, diced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1-inch/3 cm piece of fresh ginger
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 green chilies
- ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 spoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
- 1½ cup Indian chickpea flour, besan
- 1 tablespoon rice flour (or cornstarch)
- 1 pinch of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon chili
- ¼ teaspoon asafetida powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup of water or more
- Vegetable oil, for frying
For the tamarind chutney
- 4 tablespoons of tamarind pulp
- 2 tablespoons molasses (or powdered brown sugar)
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
For the garlic chutney
- ½ cup dry dried coconut
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon of salt
Coarsely mash the boiled and peeled potatoes.
Coarsely chop the ginger, garlic, and green chili, then grind or blend without water to a coarse paste.
Heat the oil in the pan. Add the chopped onions and sauté over medium heat until translucent.
Add the ginger, garlic and chili paste, reduce the heat to low and sauté for a few seconds to reduce the raw smell.
Add the turmeric, coriander, and cumin powder. Stir to mix well.
Add the mashed potatoes, sugar and salt. Stir and cook for about a minute to mix everything well.
Remove to a bowl, add lemon juice and chopped cilantro and mix well. Let the vada mixture cool down.
To prepare the vadas, heat a deep frying pan with the oil.
In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients for the topping.
Add the water little by little and mix so that no lumps form. Add enough water to make a runny but thick pancake-like batter.
With moistened hands, take a lemon-sized ball of the vada mixture and roll it up in the palm of your hand. Press down lightly on the ball for a round, flattened patty with even edges.
Form 3 to 4 meatballs at a time and place them on a lightly oiled plate.
Dip some chickpea dough in the oil to control the heat. It should go up immediately.
Then keep the heat by reducing the flame to medium.
Pour a cake into the dough, with a spoon pour a little dough on it. The vada should be evenly covered with batter on both sides. The dough should be consistent with a few millimeters (⅛ inches) of coating, not too thick.
Remove with a larger spoon and gently drop into the oil, or use your fingers to coat with the batter and gently slide the vada into the oil. You need a large container of water to wash your fingers after each batch and a dark-colored kitchen towel to dry them.
Depending on the size of the pan, fry 2-4 per batch.
Flip once and fry the vadas until light golden on both sides. Remove any chunks of chickpea dough, which may separate and float.
Remove the vadas to a plate lined with kitchen paper and finish frying everything else.
Fry the peppers for a few seconds, if they are used at the end as a side dish.
Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Salt them.
Cut the sandwich in half, keeping it intact at one end.
Brush 2 teaspoons of tamarind chutney on one side. Place the Vada on top of it and press lightly to flatten it out a bit.
Add the garlic chutney on top of the vada. Add a fried chili over the vada or to the side of the plate.
Fold the bun to form a patty.
Mix all ingredients.
Add a little water to make it slightly liquid. The chutney should taste tart, sweet, with a hint of chili, and salty. Adjust accordingly.
Amount per proportion
calories 195 calories from fat 72
% Daily value *
saturated fat 1g6%
Trans fat 0.04g
Polyunsaturated Fats 4g
Monounsaturated fat 2g
Sodium 1272 milligrams55%
Potassium 405 milligrams12%
carbohydrates 33 gramseleven%
Protein 2 grams4%
Vitamin A 251UI5%
vitamin C 12 milligramsfifteen%
Football 76 milligrams8%
Iron 2 milligramseleven%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
BBC TravelWikipediaDocumentary Vada pav Inc
Sumitra Naren has worked in several countries as a consultant for high value organic food ingredients, creating organic agriculture projects for product development and branding. She hosts emerging Indian culinary events, cooks with professional chefs, and writes food and environment articles for international publications.