Bombay Street Food: Vada Pav

Recipe from What's For Lunch, Honey? 


For the filling

500g small potatoes, steamed with skin on
150g sweet potato, steamed

For the Masala

1 small piece ginger, minced
2 garlic clove, minced
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 green chilies, finely chopped
1/2 cup coriander leaves, chopped

For the tempering

1 teaspoon turmeric powder
5-8 curry leaves
2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon oil or ghee

For the batter

1 1/2 cups gram flour (besan)
1/2 cup rice flour
approx. 2 cups water
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon chilli powder(optional)
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Peanut oil for frying

Pita bread
Tomatoes, sliced
Onions, sliced in rings


Peel and mash both sweet potatoes and potatoes with a potato masher. Depending on how you like it - either mash completely or coarsely allowing for some chunks. I like mine slightly chunky.

Add ginger, garlic, onions and green chili paste, coriander leaves, and salt to the potatoes. Mix, preferably with your hands until everything is incorporated.

Put 1 tablespoon oil or ghee in a pan and heat at medium heat. Add mustard seeds. Once they start splutter, add turmeric powder and curry leaves. Carefully pour this tempering over the mashed potatoes and stir in gently.

Using your hands make small balls of mashed potato mixture. Traditionally Vadas are shaped into balls, I flatted them to make them into patties as they fit better into the pita bread.

For the batter

In a large bowl mix together both flours. Add salt, turmeric powder and all the spice powders. Gradually start adding water and keep mixing with a spoon or whisk. Remove the lumps and whisk into a smooth batter. The batter should not be too watery or too thick. If lifted by a spatula, it should flow in a ribbon like consistency, similar to pancake batter.

Heat some peanut oil in a pan. Drop some batter in the oil to check if the oil is the right temperature. If the batter immediately floats on the surface of the oil, the oil is ready. The oil should not be too hot either, otherwise the vadas turn dark from the outside before they are actually done from the inside.

Now dip each ball in the batter, letting the excess batter drip off. Gently and carefully add the vadas to the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan, or the temperature of the oil reduces which will slow down the frying process. In the simlar way, fry all the vadas until golden. Remove on a paper towel and drain.

To assemble the Vada Pitta Pav warm the pita bread in the oven. Once warmed through slice off the tops and cut open. Spread generously with the sun-dried tomato and tamarind chutney, fill with onion rings, sliced tomatoes and rucola. Finally, add the vada. Enjoy warm