Vada pav, sometimes spelt Wada Pav or Wada Pao is a vegetarian fast food dish native to the Indian state of Maharashtra. The dish is a simple creation involving a deep fried potato patty with some coriander and spices, served in a bread roll with condiments. Usually, people eat it with chutney and onions. It originated as cheap street food in Mumbai but is now offered in stalls and restaurants throughout India.
It’s not very clear on who first started the vada pav, but the most common theory is that it was born somewhere in the mill heartland of Central Mumbai catering to the mill workers of what was earlier known as Girangaon. The combination of the potato or batata vada in a pav was a hit and this became a popular snack across Mumbai and around.
Despite the ethnocentrism in Maharashtra in particular, vada pav is claimed to be a part of the culture of Marathis despite this sandwich (bread and potato) being western in style.
The vada pav is now a very popular snack across Mumbai and is now found at street stalls, cafes and restaurants throughout India.
Preparation Time: 60 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 1 hr. 20 Minutes
Serves for 4
- 1-2 Potato (medium)
- ¼ cup milk (almond, soy, etc.)
- 2 tsp butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- ¼ onion, finely chopped
- 2 large mushrooms, finely chopped
- 50 g baby spinach/cabbage(lightly packed), finely chopped
- 40 g broccoli/ cauliflower florets, finely chopped(optional)
- 40 g tri-color bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2-3 tsp vegetable oil
- pinch salt
- 125 g cup flour
- 150 ml milk
- pinch salt
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 5 cups whole wheat or white panko bread crumbs (or homemade bread crumbs will do)
Boil potatoes for approx. 18 minutes, until they feel tender when poked with a fork. Drain potatoes and mash with ¼ cup milk, 2 tsp butter, and salt. Set aside.
Heat 2-3 tsp butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add garlic, onion, carrots, broccoli, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and green onion. Sauté until tender. Season with a pinch of salt (about 1/4 tsp).
Mash vegetables into potato mixture. Refrigerate mixture until cool enough to handle.
Forming and Breading Patties:
Measure out approx. 2 tbsp of potato mixture, roll it into a ball and flatten into a ¾” patty. Arrange patties on parchment paper. Makes 14-18 patties. Chill or freeze so that patties are firm before breading.
In 3 bowls or shallow dishes, fill the first with ½ cup flour, the second with a well-blended mixture of milk, cornstarch and salt, and the third with bread crumbs.
Dip each patty briefly into flour, then into the cornstarch thickened milk and then the bread crumbs.
Firmly press the bread crumbs into the patties.
Frying or Baking the Vadas:
Frying: Heat ½” of oil over medium heat. Once the oil is evenly hot, fry patties in batches of 1-5 (depending on the size of oil vat), flipping after about 1-1½ minutes. Each patty should be golden-brown and fully heated within 2½-3 minutes.
Notes: Overheating will cause the potato filling to spill out. Make sure oil is hot enough to sufficiently brown the patties in 3 minutes or less or the filling may spill out.
Baking: Preheat oven to 230 C. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Baked breaded croquettes for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
Serve with bread rolls/pavs, coriander and tamarind chutney.
To reduce your bread intake with the dish, you can also cut the unopened rolls into 4 equal parts(vertically). Flatten/ball them and place inside the potato mixture and cover it. And follow the rest of the cooking procedures as is.
This, in turn, becomes an inside- out Vada Pav. This can be a party trick to amaze your friends at dinner parties.
Serve with chutney.