Mumbai's popular street food; Vada Pav. Flavorful potato filling and sweet and spicy chutney in soft and fluffy buns.
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Vada Pav, the most popular street food of Mumbai can be found everywhere in the city. From street vendors to restaurants and from movie theatre to fairs and events; Vada Pav is everywhere.
The word Vada in Vada Pav means deep fried potato patty and of course Pav is nothing but a dinner roll. So both of those put together and served with a spicy and sweet chutney and deep fried chili; we get the complete Vada Pav from Mumbai.
Vada Pav is best enjoyed on the streets of Mumbai; where the vendor makes fresh vadas and serves them with the pav and chutneys.
The BEST vada pav in my opinion is in Parle, outside Mithibai College. In fact a chain called Jumbo Vada Pav has come up with LOTS of options like cheese vada pav, schezwan vada pav etc! They are super creative and delicious!
When you make Vada Pav at home; you can enjoy them for snacks or as a complete dinner!
What you need to make Vada Pav
The recipe for Vada Pav has two main components; vada and pav.
For the recipe I have used store bought garlic chutney and made my own cilantro chutney and sweet tamarind chutney.
The pav bread used in the recipe is homemade too. However, the same can be bought from the store too.
Dinner rolls work well for the recipe but pick the ones that are not very sweet. They will make perfect Vada Pav. If you want to make your own; try this recipe.
Coming to the Vada, the main ingredients are potato, chickpea and spices. Boiled potatoes are tempered with Indian spices and dipped in a seasoned chickpea flour batter and fried.
Most of the ingredients for this recipe are easy to find in the pantry or the Indian store. However if you cannot find a couple of ingredients, you can still make the recipe without compromising on the taste.
The most important ingredients in the vada filling are potatoes, chili or similar spice, salt, sugar and lemon juice. Other ingredients like asafetida, curry leaves or urad dal can be left out from the recipe.
How to serve Vada Pav
Once you have all the ingredients in place and have followed the recipe below to make the vadas, it is time to serve them. The components that make the recipe even better are DEFINITELY the chutneys.
A dry garlic chutney is the star of the recipe. Spicy, tangy and garlicy, this chutney can be made at home or store bought. Here I used the one from the store.
Adding some sweetness in the recipe is the dates tamarind chutney. Made using basic ingredients like dates, jaggery and tamarind this chutney is a MUST have for chaats and works well with vada pav too.
The perfect way to add moisture and spice to vada pav is the Green Cilantro Chutney. Check out this recipe to make your own. The same can definitely be bought from the store too.
What is Vada Pav without some Chai? A glass of masala chai completes the street food feel of vada pav and tea. One of the BEST combinations for a rainy day or otherwise; this street snack can now be enjoyed right in your home!
As I mentioned above, Vada and Pav make the IDEAL combination. However, once you have the vada ready, it can be used in multiple ways. Just dip the vada in spicy cilantro chutney and make that a snack.
Break the vada into pieces and top it with chutneys and sev to make a quick vada chaat.
Another popular variation is to make Chura Vada. When you fry the vadas, small bits of chickpea flour end up in the oil and get fried. These fried chura are served in the pav with chutneys. This chura pav is really popular too.
Looking for a non fried version of Vada pav? Try this BAKED Vada Pav then! It tastes superb and has no deep frying involved!
Other Mumbai street snack recipes
Mumbai is very popular for its street food. There are SO many amazing dishes to try. If you would like to try some, here are my favorites: Kanda Bhajji: Crispy Onion Fritters, Mumbai Tawa Pulao, Vegetable and Cheese Grilled Sandwich, Panipuri, Pav Bhaji, Misal Pav, Bhel Puri, Masala Toast, Kutchi Dabeli.
For the Vada
Potatoes 4 medium
Ginger 1 inch piece
Garlic 3-4 cloves
Green Chili 2
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Curry Leaves 5-6
Asafetida a pinch
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Urad Dal ½ tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar ½ tsp
Oil 2 tbsp
Cilantro 1 handful
For the Batter
Chickpea Flour 1 cup
Rice Flour 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder ¼ tsp
Red Chili Powder ¼ tsp
Salt ½ tsp
Water ½ cup
Oil to fry
Dry Garlic Chutney
Sweet Dates Tamarind Chutney
Homemade or store bought Pav Bread
To make the Vada
Wash and boil the potatoes with a pinch of salt. Peel, mash and set aside.
In a mortar pestle or a blender, process garlic, ginger and green chili to a coarse paste.
In a pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. Once they splutter add asafetida, urad dal, curry leaves. Next, add the processed ginger garlic chili paste and sauté till fragrant.
Add turmeric powder to the oil and immediately add potatoes. Mix well and add remaining salt and sugar. Mix well and turn off the flame. Add lime juice and cilantro.
Let the mixture cool. Once cool, divide it into balls of 1-2 tablespoon mixture. Set aside.
To make the batter and fry vadas
Mix together all the ingredients under batter except water and oil. Start adding water and make a smooth batter.
About ½ cup water might be required but do not add it all together. Add as required. The batter should not be too thick or thin. It should coat a spoon without slipping all off.
Heat oil in the pan and wait till it is medium hot. Take a potato ball and dip it in the batter. Coat it with the batter on all sides.
Drop it carefully in the hot oil and fry it on medium heat. Flip the vada midway through the frying. Once they are golden brown, remove from heat and place on a paper towels to drain the excess oil.
To assemble Vada Pav
Make your own Pav using this recipe.
Slit a pav bread from the centre. Apply some Green Cilantro Chutney on one half and some sweet chutney on the other. Sprinkle dry garlic chutney and place a vada on it.
Enjoy with some more chutney to dip and a side of Masala Chai!
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