Country roads, take me home, to the place where I belong…John Denver was singing about the mountains of West Virginia but his song resonated with me as I read about prominent Mumbaiites like Suketu Mehta urging the world to run to Mumbai – not away from it in response to the recent terrorist attacks. I agree with Suketu’s message and am trying to not give in to fear, to not feed into the goals of such heinous acts. So, inspired by another of Suketu’s writings, I wanted to share one of Mumbai’s most celebrated street foods, Vada Pav.
The stacks of pav have been sprinkled with chutney – the top half of the inside of the bun is bathed in green chutney, the bottom with red garlic chutney…I walk away from the stall and crush the vada by pressing down on it with the pav, little cracks appear in the crispy surface, and the vada oozes out its potato and pea mixture. I eat. The crispy batter, the mouthful of sweet-soft pav tempering the heat of the chutney, the spices of the vada mixture – dark with garam masala and studded with whole cloves of garlic that look like cashews – get masticated into a good mouthful, a good mouth-feel. My stomach is getting filled, and I feel like I am eating something nourishing a long spell of sobbing.
Suketu Mehta, Maximum City
This description has stuck with me ever since I read Maximum City months ago. It took about an hour for me, my brother, his wife, H, and R to make the vada pav (pronounced vuh-duh pow) but it was a lot of fun – from the rolling to the frying to the smearing the chutneys and then chowing down. Photos courtesy of my brother – deep frying and simultaneous picture taking not recommended.
1. Vadas: Boil ~8 potatoes and 1 cup of frozen peas. Peel the potatoes andmash with the peas in a mixing bowl using a potato masher or a big spoon.
This vada pav recipe was given to us by H’s mom with a little improvising on our part…like so many desi recipes passed down from parents, it was a list of ingredients without any measurements (b/c apparently parents don’t measure!). I wrote down the amounts we used as went along so here’s to another desi recipe being demystified.
Also, here’s a post from Holy Cow, a vegan cooking blog, also about celebrating Mumbai and it’s beauties through it’s street food that I really liked.
16 responses to “Mumbai Mama, Take Me Home – Vada Pav”
That looks absolutely fantastic! I really need to get over my whole “frying food scares me” issue.
I see some very good recipes here, what a great site! I’ll look forward to more delicious recipes from you! This looks really delicious(darn, I cant get the John Denver song out my head) once I have all the spices, I’ll be making this one at home 🙂
Erin, thanks! They live up to Suketu’s description so definitely a good reason for overcoming frying fears. I think the key is to keep the oil from getting hot and of course, being really really careful!
Alisa, thanks for your compliments. That song has been stuck in my head ever since the weekend too! Looking forward to checking out your site.
thank you, that’s an amazing picture, looks exactly like the vadapav at borkar’s that i ate.
great site. i’m a hungry desi too.
suketu, thanks for the compliments. i hope to one day make it to borkars…next up, maybe i’ll do masala cokes!
Found you a Mike’s. Those vada pavs look WOW!! Good job done…they look really pro!!
Thanks Deba! Happy to have found you and the Daily TIffin too. Let me know if you try the vada pav.
Hi, I tried your vada pav recipe and i have to say, it was the same taste i had in Pune. It was amazing. We rae in Singapore and we were really craving for vada pav. Thanks a lot. It was too good. Could you also please post the recipe of the chilli garlic chutney which goes along with it.
Hi Sonal, thanks! I’m happy to hear that the recipe worked out for you…I used store bought chili garlic chutney but if I find a good recipe, I’ll be sure to post it. At least you get great Indian food in Singapore 🙂
by ant chance do u have the recipe of Pav.
Haag, sorry I bought my pav from the store 🙁 If you can’t find pav, you could try american hamburger buns (but they won’t have the mild sweetness that pav has.
We’re making these tonight.
You == jealous.
So jealous. I was thinking the other day that it’s about time to have these again.
Where can I find Borkar’s vada pao as the one mentioned in Maximum City-Mumbai by Suketu
[…] Pav but also gives you a full recipe of it with awesome pictures so have a look at her post called Mumbai Mama, Take Me Home â€“ Vada Pav Here are some interesting articles on the Vada […]
Thanks for the recipe. I was delighted to see the passage from Suketu Mehta’s book–I love the description of the vadapav in it, and I too, haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since! I’m definitely going to try this recipe soon.