One of the good things about growing up in a place like Bombay is that there is an endless supply of food, whatever your budget. And one food that tops every other cuisine is the street fare. If you excuse the hygiene levels ;), the street fare menu is one of the best in matters of range and flavour.
And of course vada pav is the king of all food (if you fry potatoes, it never goes wrong!!!). It is a quick grab and go dish, hence it is a favourite amongst the college crowd, the office goers and in general everyone. And if you are away from India for long, you will make this one often enough. This recipe is moderately hot.Here is the beloved vada pav’s recipe:
For the masala
Coriander, a bunch
Green Chillies 2-3
Garlic 2-3 cloves
Ginger 1-2 tsps
Cumin Seeds 1-2 tsps
Carom seeds 1-2 tsps
Dry mango powder 1-2 tsps
Lemon juice – 1-2 lemons
For the Batter
Besan (Gram flour) – 1 and half cup
Red Chilly Powder
Salt to Taste
Oil for frying
Boil the potatoes in a cooker till they turn soft, but not slushy. Peel them and mash them after they cool.
Add the green chillies, coriander, garlic, ginger, carom seeds, cumin seeds in a blender and blend them into a fine paste.
Add the green masala paste to the potato mash along with some salt and mash them further, so that the masala mixes but some lumps remain. Roll this potato mash into small balls.
For the batter
Pour the besan into a bowl, add salt and red chilly powder, and mix them well. Then add water and whisk them well till it has no lumps. You do not want the want the paste to be too runny just thick enough that you dunk the potato balls in it and it is coated with the batter.
Heat the oil it is very hot. Once you heat it drop a bit of batter into the oil, if it floats right up quickly your oil is ready for frying. Dip the potato balls in the batter and once they are coated with batter, fry them in the oil. You want to keep the flame on medium simmer so that batter doesn’t get burned or remains undercooked. Stay safe while you do this and it would be wise to use a spoon to dip the vada, as it can be called now, in the oil.
It is ideal to use a pav bread for this dish but you can also use a burger bun (without sesame).
For the dry garlic chutney
This is a chutney that can go with so many dishes and even a simple curd rice. But it tastes especially great with vada pav.
1/2 cup peanuts
1 cup dry coconut
5-6 cloves of garlic
3-4 tsp of red chilly powder.
Salt to Taste
Optional (the chunks of the besan batter from the frying).
This chutney is very hot, if you wish you can adjust the ingredients as per your taste. Blend this well in a blender.
Now the vada pav is ready to be eaten. Just put the vada between the pav bread and enjoy it.