Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Batata Vada Odyssey

Batata Vada is the ball of potato dipped in chickpea batter and fried in hot peanut oil. What's not to like in it?

Batata Vada has a special place in the heart of a Mumbaikar. It is not only the signature dish of The Great M, sandwiched in a soft fresh bun, the ubiquitous pao but also is the consumed most at railway stations. The mention of batata vada conjours up memories of journeys and also of commutes to work day in and day out for many Mumbaikar. Join me on an odyssey of the best batata vadas paired with the paos.

Starting with VT or CST as it is now known. Begin with Capital theatre building, the corner outlet next to the restaraunt sells a nice batata vada but the bhaaji inside is not the maharashtrian yellow but a fainter color as is the south indian yellow. Go little further a few furlongs in the same line as Cannon. The Dandekar's of Cannon were famed for their pav bhaaji don't remember if they made batata vada. Next to it the Kalakatta stall that was a must after the savory treats, wonder if their menu has changed now. Drool.

Jump on to the local train get off at Dadar, eat at Mama Kane's. Take a Thane local. Go straight to Kunja Vihar opp the dilapidated ST Bus stop. Their's is the best Batata Vada and soft buttery pav with the thikhi-meethi chutneys. You have to stand in que to get service. Every Vada pav is warmed in the microwave before serving. Take a harbour to Chembur, walk towards Joy Hospital, a woman has a push cart that even doctors swarm. It was many times our snack when a family member was hospitalized in Joy Hospital.

On the western railway side Khaoo galli (Food Street) is loved by many people to me it brings back memories of food poisoning after chomping on a vada pav after the school annual functions at the nearby Patkar hall. Another train route to Dadar and closer to Mama Kane's on this side of the city. At Parle East it has to be Champion, Goregaon West has some busy stalls and the Malad's famous M M Mithaiwala's.

Infact every station has its batata vada stall famed for crawling roaches as well as others that Mumbaikars swear by. In most conversation between family members over the phone you will hear a hungry one telling that they had Vada pav to survive till they reach home. Yes Vada pav is indispensible in Mumbai.

What is a good vada all about? Mashed potatoes spiced right and dipped in chickpea flour that coats the ball of potates in a thin coat. If you are eating one with a thick cover, I bet it is hotel style, they use soda bicarb in the batter. That makes you thirsty after eating. A home style one is without the soda bicarb.

If I had to acknowledge copyrights for Batata vada, I have to do it this way.

For My family's sake my tuppence worth recipe:


1/4 kg raw potatoes
1 handful cilantro
1/4 teaspoon mustard
a pinch of asafoetida
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 inch ginger.
2-3 green chilies
salt to taste
2 teaspoon oil

Boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker.

In a mortar and pestle pound the green chilies, garlic and ginger together with salt. Save.

In a wok heat oil add the mustard, let it crackle. Then add the asafoetida and the pounded masala of ginger etc. Put off the heat add the boiled potatoes, cilantro, turmeric and salt mix well.

Now shape either as balls or flat vadas.

Prepare batter for dip.

1 cup chickpea flour
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 to 3/4 cup water

Oil for frying. Dip the balls in the chickpea flour batter and fry till you get a reddish ting to make sure they are fried well and crisp.

You will see a no entry board on heaven's door if you haven't tasted Batata Vada, such is the cult following.


  1. Oh its a great recipe. One of my fav one. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Anjali, being one of those Mumbaikars you refer to, I must say that I absolutely adore batata vada and vada-pav and miss them so terribly! Thanks for taking me down memory lane. Your recipe looks great!

  3. I love these Vadas. You can try this vada with Pav & dry ground nut chutney will taste more yummy

  4. vada pav. as you said, what's not to love? but what truly makes it is the dry garlic chutney.

  5. I loooooooooooove these, we call them Aloo Bondas!

  6. just made these. eating them with chai. yummy. yummy. yummy. burp.

  7. The Batata vada seems to be a fave will all you guys :). Thank you all for the commments.

    Vaishali hey its so easy...go make it....enjoy.

    Trupti in matters of vada pav ...we are purists ;)....if the pav is not right we rather have just the we get only sweet buns and dinners rolls not the mumbai pao. I hadn't baked any pao so enjoyed just the vada with coconut chutney.

    Bee you are right, I did miss the kanda lusun chutney. happy you liked the recipe and chai is a great finish off. :) I'm awaiting your burp and fart manual :).

  8. Aaawwww! u made me all nostalic mentioning those AWESOME hangouts for vada pav in mumbai!! I am a fan of VP!!

  9. Hey Anjali, Your batata vadas stirred up the nostalgia in me. I am from Goregaon, and Vishwas and Surabhi serve excellent vada pavs in the west. Away from India, all I can do now is await with patience till I land there and meanwhile just drool over your lovely vadas.

  10. Hi Anjali, I just came up on this old post of yours. Next time I visit, we are going to ditch our waistlines and go on a khaboo tour!

    1. Yes! Let's do it. Can't wait to see you again :)


Thank You for taking the time to leave your thoughts here.

Popular Posts

On Trail