Friday, November 14, 2014

Vada-pav/ potato pakoda/ Batate vada

Vada-pav/ potato pakoda/ Batate vada

Vada pav is a well-known delicacy in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra, India.  It is the most popular form of street food in Mumbai. For many people, including me, it brings back memories of childhood. It makes for a quick comforting snack.

Stuffing for Vada:

Potatoes: 4 medium sized
Onion (optional): 1 small size finely chopped
Jeera powder (Cumin powder): ½ tsp    
Haldi (Turmeric): 1 tbsp
Hing (Asafoetida): ½ tsp 
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 table sp
Coriander (Dhana) –cumin (Jeera) powder: 1 tsp
Salt: to taste
Green chili-coriander paste: to taste (I had put about 1½ table spoon)
Lemon juice: around 1-2 table spoon (according to sourness of the lemon)
Oil: 2-3 table spoon (for tempering)
Mustard seeds (Mohari): 1 tsp
Kadi-patta (Curry leaves): 4-5 cut coarsely. Do not use curry powder as a substitute. It does not do the job.
Oil: For deep frying the vadas. Preferably use vegetable oil, although Canola or Corn Oil can be good substitutes.
Kitchen paper towels for draining the oil post frying the vadas.

Whole green chilies: As a side (Completely optional)

Binding / Cover:

Besan (chick pea flour): 2 medium size cups
Red chili powder: 1 ½ tsp
Haldi (Turmeric): 1 ½ tsp
Jeera (Cumin): 1 ½ tsp
Ajwain (Ova): 1 tsp (optional)
Baking soda: 2 pinches
Lemon juice: 2 tsp
Water: as required to make a semi thick batter
Salt: to taste
Cooked Toor dal: ½ cup (optional)


Boil all the potatoes in pressure cooker up to 4-5 whistles. Alternatively potatoes can be boiled in the microwave oven. Alternatively they can be boiled on the stove-top.

Take a large bowl, peel and mash them as you would mash it for mashed potatoes. Add onion, cumin powder, haldi, hing, ginger-garlic-green chili-coriander paste, coriander-cumin powder, lemon juice and salt to taste to the mashed potatoes. Mix everything together nicely. I have often found that mixing with the hands is the easiest way of doing this. Check the taste and adjust salt or spice according to your taste. Put a wok or kadhai on the stove top for tempering (tadka). Add Mustard seeds to the hot oil, let it splutter nicely. Add curry leaves and the entire mashed potato mixture. Cook for 5 – 6 minutes in a covered vessel.
Take it off the stove top and spread it on a plate. Allow it to cool down. This is the mixture that forms the filling for the vada.
Potato sabji or bhaji for filling
The next step is to prepare the binding or cover for this mixture. The binding forms a thin layer that holds the mixture in place.

Take besan, red chili powder, haldi, jeera, ajwain, baking soda, salt & cooked toor dal, add water and make a semi thick batter. At this time do not add lemon juice. This batter is going to be the binding for the Vada.

Roll small balls/ tikkis of the potato mixture and set it aside on a plate. Heat oil in a wok for deep frying the vadas. I took vegetable oil, you may take oil of your choice. Check the temperature by dropping a few drops of besan batter, if it floats immediately that means our oil is ready for frying the vadas. Now put lemon juice in the batter and stir nicely. You may see a little bubbles in the batter. This will make vadas really light and fluffy from outside. 

Dip vadas/ tikkis in the batter with the help of a table spoon and fork. Coat it nicely with besan batter and gently, carefully put 4 vadas at a time in the hot oil. Fry till nicely brown from outside. Put it on kitchen paper towel, it will drain away the excess oil from the vadas. Now put 3-4 green chilies in the hot oil and take it out immediately otherwise they may splutter and accidents can happen. Put the hot green chilies in little salt and serve it as Vada-pav's side. 

Serve hot vadas with Pav, green chili or chutney of your choice (usually it is served with dry garlic chutney). 
Don't forget to enjoy....Happy Cooking!!!!!

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