How it All Began
Sources says, that it all started way back in 1971 with Ashok Vaidya’s vada pav thela, stationed just outside Dadar station. He was the first one to envelope a crisp, hot vada with a chutney-slathered pav and serve it to a customer who was in a tearing hurry. But of course, the fortuitous marriage between pav, vada and chutney is pure Mumbai tradition and has since been adopted as the snack of the Maharashtrian masses.
In fact, the snack is now so popular that there is even a Vada Pav Day every 23rd of August.
Vile Parle’s Shivaji Vada Pav deserves special mention. Its Schezwan version is a huge hit for students of nearby Mithibai and NM colleges. Samrat and Anand Vada Pav stalls nearby have their own fan following too. Dutta Snacks Center in Panvel is a popular stop for people enroute to Lonavala and the ghats. They even have a counter within Bharat Diamond Bourse Canteen in BKC.
And almost every railway station has a vada pav thelawala, because it is perfectly portable food and great for people on the go. Graduate Vada Pav outside Byculla Station is particularly popular. But much as I begged them, none of them were willing to part with even a wee bit of the recipe they used. However, if no vada pav wala is near and your cravings are high, here is a recipe you can use at home.
Here is a quick recipe based on these famous stall across Mumbai.
1 ½ cups boiled, peeled and mashed potatoes,2 green chillies, a pinch of ginger, 1 ½ tbsp grated garlic, 1 tsp mustard seeds, ½ tsp asafoetida (hing),6 – 8 curry leaves, ½ tsp turmeric,Salt to taste, Oil, for frying , 100g besan (gram flour),Soda
Wants to know the method as well? Here it is.
Grind the ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle. Heat the mustard seeds until they pop, then add in the curry leaves and chillies for twenty seconds or so. Turn the heat off and mix the potato with the spices (except the turmeric). Shape them into little balls.
Mix the besan, turmeric and soda separately for the batter. Dip the potato balls into this mixture and then deep fry them until golden.