If you visit Mumbai and don't try the famous vada pav, you haven't really visited Mumbai. No matter where you are in India's financial capital, you will find street vendors selling this vegetarian snack. Easy to spot, these stalls are equipped with a characteristic wok or kadhai with one person dunking batter-laden vadas in piping hot oil, while another person stuffs the freshly fried vadas between chutney-smeared pav and hands it over to salivating customers. Even if you didn't have vada pav on your mind, simply walk past one of these stalls and the aroma of frying batter will call out to you.
Boiled potatoes are mashed with a mix of spices, coated in gram flour batter and deep-fried to make the vada. This is then served sandwiched between a slice of pav along with chutney and lightly fried and salted green chillies. The vada pav recipe may sound deceptively simple but wait till you take a bite. Vada pav had even Anthony Bourdain stumped, who said, "It doesn't sound promising in theory, but it's the best thing I've ever eaten." Bourdain called the snack 'Bombay Burger', thanks to its resemblance to the burger.
First made in the 1960s as a cheap street food in Mumbai, vada pav has gained iconic status over the decades and has become a cultural symbol of the city. Convenient to consume on the go, filling and pocket-friendly, vada pav is a fitting representation of the fast-paced and bustling city.
While nothing can compare to vada pav from the streets of Mumbai, like any other street food, it's healthier when made at home. Watch this recipe video to make the vada pav recipe.
Click here for step-by-step vada pav recipe.
To spice things up, Chef Ripudaman Handa adds red chilli paste to the vada mixture. Follow the chef's simple instructions in this Hindi recipe video to make vada pav recipe at home.
Click here for the list of ingredients and step-by-step method of this vada pav recipe.
To ensure an authentic Mumbai vada pav experience, accompany it with shengdana chutney. This fiery red chutney is an integral part of Maharashtrian cuisine. When paired with vada pav, it adds a burst of flavour and spice to the snack. Click here for the chutney recipe.
This is another chutney that most commonly accompanies the vada pav. While shengdana chutney is a dry powder, the green chutney is wet and usually smeared on the inside of the pav pocket. Click here for the green chutney recipe.
For Jain foodies, Chef Gautam Mehrishi whips up a Jain version of vada pav without potatoes and garlic. The chef replaces potatoes with raw bananas. To make the jain vada pav recipe, follow the chef's simple instructions in this Hindi recipe video.
The vada pav has a fan following not just with the masses but also among Bollywood's stars. While Vidya Balan's favourite vada pav comes from Chembur, Preity Zinta swears by the vada pav near Mithibai College in Vile Parle. Read more to find out where Bollywood celebrities go for their favourite vada pav and when they had this iconic snack for the first time.
While vada pav is most people's initiation into Maharashtrian food, there is a lot more that the cuisine offers - from sweet puran poli to spicy misal. Check out this list of places in Mumbai where you can sample the best of Maharashtrian food.
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