Vada pav is a famous chat/street food in northern part of India and one of my favorites next to pani puri! You get the best vada pavs in Mumbai and I have fond memories of eating them in one of my summer vacations to my aunt’s place in Mumbai as a kid. Since then I have tried them in many places, some of them good and some bad ones. Vada pav’s are fried potato balls served with dinner rolls/pav along with spicy garlicy dry peanut chutney and some serve green chutney too along with it.
I was discussing recipes with one of my best friends “Mad” (Mad short for Madhumita) who has shared her recipe for rava milk burfi for my blog. We have been friends since our school days and share very similar interests, primarily on food and cooking. I was telling her that I have been wanting to try out recipes from different parts of India and thats when she suggested a couple of dishes, Vada pav being one of them. First I dismissed the idea, as I knew I had to fry the vada/patties, but I suddenly thought, why not make it healthier? After all, it was one of my favorite chats and I wanted to surprise my hungry hubby when he got back from work. As I thought of ways to make it healthy, I decided to substitute potato with sweet potato and shall fry or bake the patties instead of deep frying. I was out of peanuts so, I quickly substituted some walnuts and pistachio for the spicy chutney. I was a little skeptical when I baked them, and just as I suspected, I did not like the baked patties/vada. So I shallow fried them in my non stick paniyaram pan with some oil and it turned out perfect. So here’s the recipe for my version of Vada pav:)
For the vada:
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 tbsp minced garlic and ginger or use ginger-garlic paste
- 4-5 roughly torn curry leaves
- 2-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp or more chilli powder
- 1 green chilly finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida
- salt to taste
- oil as needed
For the batter:
- 1/2 cup besan
- 1/4 tsp red chilly powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- salt to taste
For the spicy chutney:
- 2 tbsp walnuts
- 2 tbsp pisatchio ( or use peanuts instead of walnuts & pistachios as per the original recipe)
- chilli powder as per your spice levels
- 1/2 tsp amchur / dry mango powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 garlic
Lets make the spicy chutney first. Dry roast the nuts and garlic until you get a nice aroma.
Dry roast the cumin and amchur, chilly powder for a minute. Take care not to burn the spices. Grind all the ingredients (nuts, garlic, and spices) to a coarse powder. Add salt to taste and set aside.
For the vada:
Boil the sweet potato until they are soft and cooked. Peel the skin and mash the sweet potato. Its ok to have few small chunks here and there.
In a pan, add 1 tbsp oil/ghee. When hot, add mustard, cumin seeds, green chilly, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and let the mustard splutter.
Add the mashed sweet potato, turmeric, chilly powder and salt and saute until they are well combined and the raw smell of garlic is some what gone.
Let the mixture cool. Add the fresh coriander leaves and mix well.
For the batter, add besan in a bowl and water little to little to make a batter of pouring consistency. It should not be very watery though.
Mix rest of the ingredients for the batter. Set it aside for 10-15 minutes.
Make medium lemon sized balls of the sweet potato filling and dip it in the batter.
Add little oil in your paniyaram/appe pan and fry the balls until they turn golden on both sides. (If you are not worried about calories, go ahead and deep fry them until they are crispy and golden)
Heat the pav/dinner rolls in a tawa. Add the spicy chutney on one side of the pav.
If you are using green chutney, add it on the other side.
Place the vada/patties in the middle and serve immediately!!