Vada Pav

Vada pav

Whether you’re rooting for the Steelers or the Packers, there is no way you can lose at your Superbowl party with this classic snack straight from the streets of Bombay.

I like to think of the vada pav as an Indian hot dog– a spicy, deep-fried, incredibly crispy potato dumpling cradled within a soft, fluffy roll and smeared with some exquisitely red-hot garlic chutney. Its many layers of flavor, textures and its stark, rustic simplicity make it one of the most beloved street foods of Bombay. You can find vendors at practically every street corner in the city frying the red-gold vadas in bubbling hot oil and serving them up to salivating customers faster than you can say “vada pav.”

When I was at school, the cafeteria served up vada pavs for as little as a rupee, which is about the equivalent of two cents. I don’t think any of the kids even considered eating anything else– I certainly didn’t. And although I am sure it costs much, much more now, thanks to rapid inflation in India over the past few years, it is no doubt one of the most affordable snacks you can find anywhere in the city.

I try to make my vada pav healthier without taking away any of the flavor by making the pav, or the tiny roll that the vada is cradled in, with whole wheat flour. This is a recipe I’m really proud to share with you because it’s just so darn good. I used some wheat gluten flour to help build the bread’s structure and it was just as cushiony and soft as the traditionally white pav.

laadi oav, whole wheat

The vada and the pav can both be at room temperature when you serve them, which means you can do most of your work beforehand so you don’t have to be running around when everyone else is having all the fun in front of the TV.

Happy Superbowl viewing, all! And may the best team win.  


Batata vada recipe
Batata Vada
Batata Vada is a spicy potato dumpling coated with gram flour and deep-fried. This is one of India's classic street snacks.
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Indian Vegetarian
  • 4 potatoes, boiled and then mashed (I like to leave the skins on, but they typically are peeled, so take them off if you'd rather)
  • A generous pinch of asafetida (hing)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp green chilli paste
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil, like canola
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • In a bowl, mix together:
  • ¾ cup chickpea flour, sifted
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder like paprika or cayenne if you really want to kick up the testosterone in the room
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of baking soda
  • Oil for deep frying
  1. Heat the oil and add the turmeric and the asafetida.
  2. Now add the ginger, garlic and chilli pastes and saute just a few seconds. Add the potatoes and salt, mix well, and take off the heat. Mix in the lemon juice.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool before you handle it.
  4. Take the chickpea-chilli mixture and add enough water to make a fairly thick batter, about the consistency of pancake batter.
  5. Make balls with the potato mixture, about 1 inch in diameter. Dunk one at a time into the chickpea batter. Turn to coat and then drop into the oil which should be at between 350 and 375 degrees.
  6. Fry the vadas on all sides until they turn reddish-brown. Don't overcrowd the pan. Remove to paper towels and drain.
lasunachi chutney

Garlic Chutney/Lasoon Chutney
Garlic Chutney or Lasoon Chutney
Recipe type: Condiment
Cuisine: Indian
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 4 dry red chillies (reduce if you really don't want the heat, but 4 doesn't make this chutney too hot)
  • A half-inch ball of tamarind
  • 1 tsp + 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Heat 1 tsp of oil in a skillet.
  1. One by one roast half the garlic cloves and the rest of the ingredients except the tamarind and salt, allowing everything to turn lightly golden brown and putting each into a plate before moving on to the next ingredient. Be very careful roasting the coconut because it will brown very fast.
  2. Place all the  ingredients including the unroasted garlic cloves, the tamarind, salt and 1 tbsp oil in a food processor.
  3. Process until everything breaks down into a coarse powder.


ladi pav

Whole Wheat Laadi Pav
A healthy recipe for Whole-Wheat Laadi Pav, perfect with vada pav, pav bhaji or misal pav.
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Indian vegetarian
Serves: 9 - 12
  • 1½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • .2 tbsp vital wheat gluten flour
  • 1½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. Mix the sugar, ½ cup warm water and the yeast in a mixing bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes until the mixture starts to froth, indicating the yeast is alive and well.
  2. Sift all the flours and baking soda into the bowl. Knead on low speed in a stand mixer or by hand for about 3 minutes, trickling in 1 cup of water until you have a dough that's smooth but slightly sticky
  3. Add the oil and continue to knead until the oil has been absorbed by the dough, about 1 more minute.
  4. Now place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat all over with oil, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside for 2 hours until the dough has risen.
  5. Punch down the dough and divide into 9 or 12 balls, depending on how large or small you want your pav.
  6. Shape them into a slightly rectangular shape by pulling at the sides of the dough and tucking under on all four sides.
  7. Place the tolls in a rectangular 9 X 13 inch baking dish smeared with oil and lightly floured, or on a cookie sheet, close enough but not touching each other. Let the rolls rise for an hour. They will join at the ends when they have risen, forming a slab, or laadi in Marathi
  8. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees. Place the pav in the oven and bake 23 minutes.
  9. Brush the tops with a little oil, if desired, for a pretty, glossy look.
  10. Remove to a rack and allow the rolls to cool before breaking them off.

To assemble the vada pav, make a slit through the center of the pav without going all the way through the bottom. Slater the bottom with some of the garlic chutney, place a vada on top, place your thumbs on the underside of the pav and your fingers on top, press the top and bottom together, and dig in.

vada pav

The Laadi Pav goes off to Pari of Foodelicious for her “Only”: Cooking with Bread event.


Bombay’s spicy street snacks make perfect Superbowl food. Want more inspiration? Try my Pav Bhaji, another surefire winner. Or my healthy baked Samosas, or flaky Vegetable Puffs.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    Wholewheat paav looks so wonderful with the wheaty color and fluffy texture. Love that garlic chutney, will treasure the recipe for my idlies, dosas and chapattis.

  2. says

    Perfect, perfect looking all three! Much thanks for the garlic chutney recipe Vaish … always wondered how they made it. I love crushed garlic and green chillies in the potato mix … but then have never made them .. always get them from the shops. The buns are just so great looking. :-)

  3. says

    Sanjeeta, Satya, Thanks!

    Sharmila, The garlic chutney is my favorite too. I roast half the garlic to mellow the flavor a little, but for incorrigible garlic lovers I would advise leaving all the garlic raw. That’s how my parents did it.

    Divya, thanks!

    Manasi, The gluten flour gives the bread structure– without it the bread would not be as fluffy. I would advise cutting down a bit on the whole wheat flour if you’re not using gluten– use 1 cup whole wheat and 2 cups of all purpose. Also, you might need a little less water so trickle it in slowly.

  4. says

    Yum Vaishali, this looks divine. You are a very talented lady. I shall have to make this soon although I shall try to pan fry. The whole deep-frying is too much for me:).

  5. Anonymous says

    Hahahaha….Dear Vaishali, you actually brought back memories of good old Andheri (West) where Shiv Sena Batate Vade Wala stall located near the Apna Bazaar. I still remember his great batata vadas, which were available ar Re 1 for seven when we were kids. The last I ate there was in 1995, just before departing India, and a vada pav there was priced at Rs 3, if I recall correctly. Guess it must be somewhere in the region of Rs 10 each now.


  6. says

    OMG! Those are the most beautiful home baked pav I have seen :) I love pav – and nothing spoils the taste of pav bhaji for me as having to eat it with the pav we get in Delhi – commercial produced sweet rolls :( On my trip to Mumbai last week, I actually bought pav and made bhaji the same day to eat it with – it was absolute heaven. What happens if I don’t have wheat gluten? it will still turn out fine right?
    The garlic chutney looks amazing

  7. says

    Priya, thanks!

    Fifi, the wadas would have to be flattened to be pan-fried, and the texture will not be the same. I’d just advise deep-frying and exercising moderation– foods fried at the right temperature absorb almost no oil, and because one eats them so rarely they taste all the more delicious :)

    Pavithra, Raw Girl, AMA, Thanks.

    Manasi, good luck and hope they turn out great!

    Mints, the pavs are definitely easy to make. Hope you try ’em! :)

    Apu, thanks!

    LittleMy: Yes, who needs an excuse for yummy food :) Hope you try them.

    Ashwin, yes, I remember that stand near Apna Bazar. Although the words “Shiv Sena” just put a sour taste in my mouth :(

    Anonymous, baby cribs: Thanks!

    Preeti, Thanks!

    Miri, Thanks, and I am with you on having the right pav for pav bhaji or it’s just not the same :).
    If you’re not using gluten to make this pav, I would recommend reducing the whole-wheat to one cup and using two cups of all-purpose flour. Too much whole wheat without gluten to add structure would make the bread too dense.

  8. says

    Suma, There’s absolutely nothing wrong with gluten– it’s a high-protein flour derived from wheat that’s perfectly wonderful and indispensable in wholegrain baking. The reason some readers can’t use it is because it’s not easily available everywhere. Even within the U.S. you’d most likely only find it at health food stores and online.

  9. Anonymous says

    Thank you Vaishali. That was a quick response. I feel better now and would love to make this vegan dish. I often wondered why it is widely advertized on food packets sometimes as “gluten-free” ..for example wheat flour, noodles etc. If gluten was not bad, why is it given this treatment? Is there something I am missing? Or is that a different kind of gluten ( derived from some animal byproduct) than what you have used in your recipe?

    Your recipes and pictures are awesome Vaishali and I’m sure you know it. But what I would like to mention here is your style of writing and how every post, every step, every action, every sentence has this subtle message of how healthy vegan diet is. and how serious you are about it. You are a strong no-nonsense woman. :)


  10. says

    Suma, Thanks for your kind and thoughtful words– I appreciate them.
    About gluten, some people have gluten allergies and that means they cannot consume foods that contain gluten which occurs naturally in grains like wheat, barley and rye. That’s the reason some foods are labeled gluten-free.

  11. says

    This vada pav brought back memories of the ones I used to eat just after swimming lessons at the Ghatkopar BMC pool :) I think the vada pav should have a religion in itself!
    Maybe you’ve heard of a chain of outlets in Mumbai called the Jumbo King (a la Burger King)? They even have a cheese vada pav! Altho’ I honestly think this is best eaten from the road side bhaiyya :)
    Thank you Vaishali, this one made my Sunday!

  12. says

    I made only paav today, it turned really good,i used it for dabeli. I knew I can blindly follow your recipe and it will turn small note, for paav you mentioned salt in ingredients,but forgot to mention when to add it, though i added in flour itself.


  13. Anonymous says

    Hi vaishali,
    I baked these yesterday. Since i was trying it for the first time I halved the ingredients and managed to bake 5 pavs. Overall it was a success but I felt the texture was a bit on the denser side.I did use the wheat gluten. Can maida be the reason for this, coz I dont get APF?

    God Bless

  14. Anonymous says

    Yes, the wheat gluten is in powder form and I have used the regular milled wheat flour that we generally use in India to make chapatis.

    God Bless

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