Vada Pav (Potato Fritter Sandwich) From Maneet Chauhan & Jody Eddy

November  4, 2020
0 Ratings
Photo by Linda Xiao
Author Notes

This sandwich is a vegetarian’s dream. It’s also a nice option for meat lovers looking for a sandwich stuffed with something just as enticing as a burger. Vada pav, one of Mumbai’s most popular street foods, is a potato fritter the size of a baseball stuffed into a flaky white bun, smeared with coconut and spicy green chile chutneys, and then squished until it’s small enough to fit into your mouth. They’re so much fun to eat and are one of my favorite chaat to have on sticky, hot Mumbai afternoons. I loved them when I was a kid because the size of the vada felt insurmountable until I finally sorted out a way to shove it into my mouth, which simply means I squeezed it down enough and opened my mouth wide enough to fit it all inside! I’m looking forward to sharing the exhilarating vada pav experience with my own kids the next time we’re in Mumbai.

Reprinted with permission from Chaat by Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy copyright © 2020. Photographs by Linda Xiao. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.Food52

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • Vada
  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for deep-frying
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon hing (asafetida)
  • 4 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri or other red chile powder
  • 1-inch pieces fresh ginger, peeled with a spoon and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chaat masala
  • Fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Chaat
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 flaky white buns, such as potato or brioche buns
  • Green Chutney
  • Coconut Chutney
  • Pan-fried serrano chiles (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. Make the vada: In a saucepan, combine the potatoes and enough water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them using your hands (the skin should slip right off). Place the potatoes in a bowl and mash them with a fork until they are mashed but still slightly chunky.
  2. In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until the oil glistens. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and sauté until they begin to hiss, about 2 minutes. Add the hing, curry leaves, turmeric, chile powder, ginger, and garlic. Sauté, stirring often, until the garlic is tender, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and then transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add the potatoes, cilantro, and chaat masala to the spice mixture in the bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is incorporated. Season with lime juice and salt to taste. Form the mixture into four 2-inch balls and arrange them on a plate in a single layer. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside at room temperature.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour and enough water (begin with 1/4 cup) to form a paste that resembles thick cake batter. It should not be runny. Stir in the coriander and season with salt.
  5. Line a plate with paper towels. Pour 5 inches oil into a deep heavy-bottomed pot and heat to 350°F on an instant-read thermometer. Dredge the potato balls in the chickpea batter until they are well coated. Shake to remove any excess. Using a slotted spoon, gently lower a vada into the oil and fry until golden brown on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn with the spoon as it fries to ensure even cooking and browning. Transfer to the paper towels to drain and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining vada.
  6. Assemble the chaat: In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Split the buns and place them in the pan, interior-side down; fry until light golden brown, about 1 minute. Place one bun, open and interior sides facing up, on each of four plates. Slather both sides of the bun with green chutney, then spoon coconut chutney on top. Place a vada on the bottom bun and top with fried chiles (if using). Serve with additional chutneys on the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Annada Rathi
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  • So sett
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  • k
  • carswell

5 Reviews

k November 13, 2020
I do have a question about this. I tried to make it last night and when I put the potatoes in with the chickpea batter they fell apart entirely. What did I do wrong on that? The chickpea batter was like cake batter. I'm so bummed. Any thoughts?

So S. January 24, 2021
This kinda happened to me to, i ended up just spooning the batter over it and rubbing it in, trying to dredge it like normal was a nightmare. it's also impossible to put down, as the batter is so sticky it sticks to the dredging bowl and pulls off some of the potato ball w it..... tricky tricky
k January 25, 2021
Indeed. Reminded me of wallpaper paste. Delicious wall paper paste. I did get two done and I'm glad I did. They're really good even with fighting the dredge. :)
Annada R. November 5, 2020
Vada pav is instant nostalgia. Such an outstanding fiery food, served piping hot on the streets of Mumbai. Love the image taken, does justice to the real deal.
carswell November 5, 2020
Is it wrong that my mouth is watering? I don't think so.