Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Vada Pav

 So, the Bombay PavSukka Lasun Chutney & Batata Vada came together and formed this heavenly dish called 'Vada Pav'. Any person from Bombay / Mumbai will know what this yummy street food is. Its like the fast food of Mumbai............ like a desi burger 😀

To assemble the Vada Pav we just need a few things. 

We had a besan paste made for covering the potato mixture in this recipe. We use the leftover paste to make the chura (crumble). Add 2 crushed gralic cloves and some chilli powder to the paste and drip drops into the hot oil. Fry till its nice and crispy. Drain it onto a paper towel and let it cool. Pulse it a couple time in the mixer. Chura is ready. 

Take green chilis - i generally get the medium hot ones from the Indian store. Make a small slit in the middle. Fry it in the hot oil - be very very careful. Just 2 minutes and its done. Drain it on a paper towel and sprinkle salt.

Take the Pav and slit in the middle. Put some butter on the pav and then sprinkle the sukka lasun chutney. Put a vada on it and smoosh lightly with the top of the pav. Savor with Chura and Friend Green Chilli.
You can use the green mint and coriander chutney as well as the date and tamarind chutney too inside the pav before adding the vada.

Batata Vada (Potato Vada)

This weekend we saw the worst noreaster in our 15 years in New Jersey. It was snowing from Sunday afternoon unto Tuesday afternoon. Snow snow everywhere just reminded me of the Mumbai rains. Ofcorse fried pakodas with chai is what comes to mind. But, we went a step ahead and made batata vadas and then some vada pav. 

Snow day spent well in the warm kitchen cookign this up and then sitting and savoring it with a hot cup of elachi chai (cardamom flavored brewed Indian tea)


For Potato Mixture

6 to 7 medium golden potatoes
1/4 cup crushed garlic
2 green chilis finely chopped - add more or less as per your spice tolerance=
10 to 12 curry leaves - torn to pieces
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
a pinch of hing/asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
2 to 3 TBS oil
salt to taste

For the covering

2 cups besan (bengal gram flour)
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 teaspoon ajwain (carrom seeds)
pinch of hing/asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon eno fruit salt
water to make a paste
oil for frying vadas


For Potato Mixture

Boil potatoes in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles. Once they are cooled down, peel and mash them with your hands. You should get about 3 to 3 1/2 cups roughly smashed potatoes. In a karahi, add oil. When it heats up, add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Then add the crushed garlic and bring the heat to a medium. Mix well. Add the green chilis & curry leaves. Add tumeric powder and some salt. Mix well. Get it off the heat. To this add the smashed potatoes and mix everything well. Check to see the salt - add a little more if needed. Make golf size round balls and set them in a plate. I got about 16 portions from the mixture.

For Vadas

Mix the besan, rice flour, asafoetida, salt, tumeric powder and lightly crushed ajwain in a bowl. To this add water little by little to get a nice thinck lump free mixture. It needs to be a nice thick mixture that lines the back of a spoon very smoothly. Take a wok and add oil to it. I generally use peanut oil for frying, you could use any oil with a high smoking point. Heat the oil on medium flame.While the oil is heating, add the eno fruit salt to the besan mixture and mix well. The mixture will swell up and its fine. When the oil is heated, add a drop of the besan mixture to check if it floats to the surface, if yes then the oil is reay to fry the vadas. Carefully take a portion of the potato mixture and roll it in the besan mixture and cover it all over. Carefully put it into the hot oil. It will bubble up and immediately float to the suface. If you have a big wok, you can fry 3 to 4 vadas at one time. Use a slotted sppon to turn the vada around. When the outer covering turns a golden color, take it out on a plate lined with kitchen towels. It takes about 7 to 8 minutes to get the vadas ready. Vadas are ready to be savored as it is, with read chutney or green chutney or imli chutney. You could also make vada Pavs.

Sukka Lasun Chutney (Dry Garlic Chutney)

 Sukka Lasun Chutney (Dry Galic Chutney) is a red, firey, spicey and yummy chutney that you will find in Maharashtrian homes regularly. This chutney is loved with simple varan and bhaat (dal & rice) and even with chappatis. My mother used to roll the chappati with this powder and molten coconut oil.......... oh it was so yummy and filling. Ofcorse the chutney at home was never too spicy as our tolence levels are pretty low 😏

We made this chutney this weekend. The plan was to make vada pav and this is the spicy chutney that accompanies it. 


1/2 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup dried coconut (Khopra)
1/4 cup garlic cloves
1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional)
1/4 cup red chili powder -  add more or less as per your spice tolerance (I used kashmiri.......... but, you can use any type you like)
salt to taste


Dry roast the peanuts on a medium low flame till you get a nice aroma and they turn golden. Remove them to a plate. You can remove the skin of the peanuts if you wish to. - just rub them and it will come off - blow it into the sink. Add the coconut and dry roast till its golden. Remove on a plate. Dry roast the sesame seeds till they start spluttering and then remove onto a plate. Peel the garlic and slice the. Roast on a low flame till they turn a golden color. Remove to plate. To this plate add the chili powder and salt. Mix it well. Let it all cool down completely.

Once the mixture cools down, add it to a mixer pot and pulse it 4 to 5 times. Check to see that the peanuts are ground - if not, pulse it again a couple times. There is natural oil in the peanuts and sesame and that is released when you pulse the mixture. Store it in an airtight container. I keep it in the refrigerator to maintain the freshness and aroma.

Bombay Pav/Pau

Any person who comes from Bombay ( I still cannot call the place Mumbai) will always love the 'Bombay/Mumbai Pav'. This bread is used for making Vada Pav, Pav Bhaaji, Kutchi Dabeli, Keema Pav, Maska Pav and so many other yummy things.

I have a Laadi Pav  recipe from 2012 - I have always got amazing results. But, I have always tried to mix and match the ingredients to get it as close to the Pav from the local bakery back home as possible. 

This one hit a home run. It was exactly as Khan Uncle made it in his small bakery at Evershine nagar in Malad. The pav from his bakery were used for making all the yummy delicacies at home. I miss all this.... but, am happy to be able to make my own stuff too. I always say.... Yeast is my best friend. 


3/4 cup warm water (100 F) - do not use hot water or else it will kill the yeast
2 teaspoons (tsps) yeast (active dry yeast)
1/2 cup warm milk (100 F)
2 tablespoons (TBS) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 TBS melted butter OR Olive Oil
3 to 3 1/2 cups Bread Flour/All Purpose Flour 
1 TBS butter to put on the top of pav (optional)


In a mixing bowl add the warm water and sugar and yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes till it becomes a frothy mixture - this shows that the yeast is active and that its proofed.
Add the warm milk, salt, butter/oil, garlic powder, pepper powder, italian seasoning and mix well. Now add the flour one cup at a time and mix well till everything is incorporated. I used only 3 cups flour in this stage.
Take this sticky dough on the counter - you may add a little dough (1 tablespoon at a time) to get a soft dough (it will still be a bit sticky). Knead this dough very well for 7 to 10 minutes. This is important to get the gluten going.
Make it into a ball and keep it in a big bowl that is greased with some oil. Let it sit covered in a warm place for 11/2 hours untill it gets double in size.
Punch the fluffed up dough and knead again for a minute. Make 15 equal portions (medium pav size) or 24 equal portion (small size). Place these on a  greased 9X13 pan in a line with a little space in between each roll. Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it sit in a warm place for 45 minutes till the rolls have doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 380 F. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes till the tops of the rolls become brown. I try and tap the tops and when it sounds hollow, I know its done.
Remove from oven. Take the butter and smear it on the top of the pav with a brush when its hot - this will give it a beautiful glaze. This is an optional step. Let it cool on a wire rack before serving.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Sweet Pongal



1/2 cup rice (I used ambemohar) - kolam, sona masoori or basmati can be used too
1/4 cup moong dal
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup jaggery 
1 cup milk
2 cups water
4 cardamom (peeled and powdered)
2 tbs broken cashews
2 tbs raisins
pinch of edible camphor (if available)


Wash and rinse the rice and moong dal. Drain all the water and keep aside. Add 1 tbs of ghee to a pressure cooker or Instantpot. Add the rinsed rice and moong dal and roast till there is a nice aroma. Add the milk and water and mix well. Cover and pressure cook - 4 to 5 whistles in cooker or 21 mins in the instantpot with valve closed. Once done, let the pressure release naturally. Mash and mix the dal and rice together. Mix in 1 tbs ghee and mix well again.
In a saucepan add the jaggery and 2 tbs water. Let the jaggery melt. Add this to the mashed rice and dal mixture and mix well. Add cardamom powder and edible camphor (if using). 
In a small pan add the 1 tbs ghee. When it gets hot add the cashews and the raisins. Turn the heat off and let the cashews and the raisins simmer. Add this to the pongal. Serve warm.

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