When talking about Indian street food, one cannot fail to mention the beloved vada pav. This Maharashtrian snack has legions of fans, not just in the state, but in other places as well. And it’s no surprise! Vada pav is such a delightful medley: the softness of the pav, the tangy and spicy chutneys and the flavourful fried vada inside. Many people would agree that you get some of the best vada pavs not at fancy restaurants but at roadside stalls. But if you want to recreate that street-style magic at home, we’ve got you covered! We have listed a few suggestions that can help you make your vada pav absolutely irresistible. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
Also Read: Want To Make Street-Style Kathi Roll? Follow These 5 Easy Tips
Here Are 5 Easy Tips To Make Street-Style Vada Pav At Home:
1. Get the different chutneys right (as well as their proportions)
Nearly every street food stall has its own choice of chutneys. The three most common ones are: tamarind (imli) chutney, green (hari) chutney and dry garlic (lehsun) chutney. Moreover, each one will have their own versions of these chutneys too. While making them at home, remember to prioritise the strength of the flavours: the green chutney should pack spice and refreshment (due to the use of mint/ coriander), the imli chutney should provide tanginess with a sweet hint, while the garlic chutney adds pockets of heat. Click on the easy recipes below to get started:
Also, decide how much of each you want to add to the vada pav – since you’re making them at home, this can be done according to your taste. It is best to keep the chutneys ready in advance.
2. Make a thick besan batter for your vadas.
To make the vada for this snack, small balls of a spiced potato mixture are coated in a batter before frying. This batter is made using besan, salt and water. It is similar to the batter made for pakoras. However, ensure that the batter for your vadas has a slightly thicker consistency. Pakoras are typically lighter and smaller, and hence a thinner batter can work well. But the batata (potato) vada is heavier and thus needs to have a stronger coating.
You should also consider mixing in very little oil (around 1 tsp) while making the besan batter. It can help it get a better consistency. Another thing that can help: allowing the batter to rest for 10-15 minutes before you start frying. Street food vendors sometimes use baking soda instead, for an ‘instant’ option. However, this ingredient may not always be available/suitable to everyone’s diet.
3. Pop the vadas in only once the oil is hot enough
As your batter rests, start preparing the remaining elements. Heat oil in a kadhai over a medium flame for deep-frying the vadas. Wait for the oil to become sufficiently hot before you add them. If you pop them in too soon, when the oil is not hot enough, they may absorb excess oil. Do you know what this leads to? Soggy vadas – which no one wants! Also, take care not to burn the vadas by heating the oil too much. As soon as you see the coating turn firm and light brown, remove the vadas from the oil and place them on a rack or absorbent paper.
4. Sprinkle pieces of fried besan on top of the vada
This is a wonderful way to add some crunch to your vada pav. All you have to do is fry small ‘drops’ of besan batter into the hot oil and fry them to make your own besan ‘boondis’. These don’t have to be perfectly round or evenly shaped. Their only function is to bring some much-needed crispiness. Sprinkle them on top of the vada just before serving.
5. Don’t neglect the pav – choose the bread with care
Most of us source our pav from bakeries or shops – we don’t make them at home. It is important that you choose the pav carefully. Vada pav tastes best when the pav is soft and freshly baked. Some varieties of pav (especially those that are mass-manufactured or pre-packaged) have a very doughy consistency – like a bun. But a vada pav is not a burger – so look for another kind, if possible.
While your batter rests, start slitting the pav. Later, you can apply the chutneys one at a time on the lower part. Some people prefer adding the dry lehsun chutney on top of the vada, to create an extra layer of spiciness.
Want a detailed recipe for vada pav? Then watch the recipe video here.