Street side Vada Pao

By • March 29, 2011 • 23 Comments



Author Notes: Ask anyone from Mumbai about what they remember most about street food & Chances are high that you'll hear the word 'vada pao'. It was & still remains the ultimate fast food of sustenance, The Vada, a heady mix of crumbled potatoes, ginger Garlic & sauteed green chile, enrobed in a batter of chickpea flour is deep fried and stuffed inside a rustic Pao ( the Indian version of a portuguese saloio roll), dusted with a spicy red Garlic chutney powder. Pao is part & parcel of the Bombay/Mumbai food scene thanks to to the Portuguese influence during colonial times.
In the past couple of years a number of fast food chains have opened up vada pao counters with machines making the vadas...yeah whatever... Part of the experience of eating it is to visualize the huge black cauldron of smoking hot oil frying up batches of the piping hot vada & get your hands on them before they disappear!
The Pao really completes this snack. The closest I've come across in the US is a saloio roll & its worth getting these to make the dish. Other substitutes sold by Indian grocery stores (labeled as Pav) just do NOT cut it! Although its never done in the traditional version, I like to add a few salad greens for an extra crunch!
Panfusine

Serves 12

Potato vada

  • 4 large Idaho potatoes, boiled in their skins
  • 2 tablespoons oil for the seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 green chiles cut
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated fine
  • 1 sprig curry leaves, torn into bits
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder
  • Plain seltzer water as needed
  • 2 cups oil for deep frying
  • 10-12 small portuguese saloio rolls
  1. Peel the potatoes & crumble. Set aside
  2. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. when it gets hot, add the mustard & allow it to sputter.
  3. Add the green chiles, ginger & garlic, Saute till the garlic emanates an aroma. Add the curry leaves, stir and add the turmeric & salt. Remove from fire, mix well and add to the crumbled potatoes.
  4. combine the seasoning until its well distributed in the potatoes. using an ice cream scoop, scoop out potato mixture, and shape into discs about 2 inches in diameter. Cover with a plastic wrap & refrigerate till ready to fry.
  5. Combine the chickpea flour, baking powder,salt, turmeric & chile powder. mix with a fork to distribute the spices. Add seltzer to make a batter the consistency of pancake batter.
  6. Heat 2 cups of oil in a cast iron pan. when it just about begins to smoke, dip the potato discs to the batter completely coating them & drop into the hot oil. Fry till each side is golden brown. Remove and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
  7. To assemble, slit the rolls as for a hot dog, rub with the coconut garlic chutney and place a HOT vada in the centre.

Dry coconut garlic chutney powder

  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh coconut (OR)
  • 2 tablespoons dessicated coconut
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper powder
  • Sea Salt to taste
  1. In a Mortar, combine all the ingredients & pound till the garlic has completely been minced & incorporated into the powder.
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Tags: indian, savory, serves a crowd, travels well, Vegan

Comments (23) Questions (0)

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about 1 year ago susan g

We have just finished our Vada dinner, enjoying every bite!

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about 1 year ago Panfusine

Thanks susan g. You've got me craving some myself!

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

This looks so good - and fabulously starchy! A perfect indulgence for the fair.

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almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love this sandwich!

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almost 3 years ago Sagegreen

This looks great! I would order this at the fair.

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almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

So glad to see this back!

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almost 3 years ago Panfusine

Thanks Boulangere! This is the first thing I'm gonna hit as soon as I land in Mumbai this weekend!, the only difference I'll have a camera with me, clicking pics like a crazy tourist!

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almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Bon voyage! Travel safe, and come back with lots of stories.

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almost 3 years ago Panfusine

Thanks, will have lotsa stories that's for sure! & planning to stock up on ingredients that I can't get here. My first trip to India after becoming a food blogger!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I can't begin to describe what I wanted to bring back from France and Italy in the way of foodstuffs, so it will be wonderful to see what you bring back. AND what you do with it!

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I totally missed this it looks soooo good, I'm with boulangere and might stuff in a ciabatta or what about Jamaican coconut bread, might that work also? Super soft and slightly sweet.

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

Thanks sdebrango! this is the first thing I attack when I hit mumbai..the flight lands @ 11.30 pm, next morning, 7 a.m I'm out there waiting for the first batch of vadas to be fried up!
Ciabatta works great,
I must admit, I have never had the chance to taste coconut bread, but considering the dry garlic chutney has coconut, I bet it'll pair very well!

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I had it in Jamaica they put a jamaican patty in between two thick slices of coconut bread, carbs galore but oh so good. Yes I bet it would be a good pairing, I am going to research a recipe for the bread I bet homemade would be amazing.

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

I'd LOVE it if you could share the recipe & technique for the coconut bread!

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yes I will, I love coco bread and now have to find a recipe.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Sasha at global table adventure has a recipe for a Bahamian coconut bread. You could start there! http://globaltableadventure...

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about 3 years ago Sadassa_Ulna

This sounds soooooo good!

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about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Okay, for those of us who are Indian grocery store-challenged, would you faint if I stuffed this into a piece of ciabatta? Or should I just do it and not tell you about it?

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

ciabatta would work great, in fact anything with a chewy crust.. The indian store Pavs taste more like burger buns (uber soft, and with that touch of sweetness)

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over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh my goodness, this looks fantastic.

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

ooh its HEAVENLY... the garlic chutney really puts it over the top!

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

I love street food this looks really good. All the traditional flavors look perfect and curry leaves are an absolute favorite.

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

Thanks thirschfeld!