I have mentioned before that indian food is my absolute favourite thing to eat, I really could eat it every day. After a recent visit to the excellent Maharaja restaurant in Liverpool ( see review at Seven Streets) I was inspired to make some of my favourite Indian recipes. During my last visit to India I was brave enough to sample the local street food and boy am I glad that I did. Amongst my favourites was vada pav, a potato based take on a burger that originates from the Maharashtra region. If you are ever in Pune, visit ' JJ Garden ' for a vada fix but if not then give this recipe a try. Vada refers to the potato patty, that is quick and easy to make and includes ingredients that any spice lover will have in their cupboard. Pav is the small bun, almost square in shape, that holds the patty. You can buy the buns if you are short on time but I made them using Dan Lepard's soft white bap recipe from Short and Sweet, just make them smaller than the recipe states. Traditionally vada pav is served with a green chutney, which I have included in my recipe, but you could replace with other Indian chutneys or simply fry a little chilli and onion add on top.
JJ's garden Pune, picture from Pune Diaries
( makes 10)
For the Vada
6 large potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1cm cube fresh ginger
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
2 -3 green chillies
6-8 curry leaves
small handful of fresh coriander
salt and black pepper
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
small cup of gram flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
oil for frying
For the chutney
bunch fresh coriander
small handful of fresh mint
1 green chilli, finely chopped
juice of half lemon
1 tsp grated coconut ( optional)
1/2 clove garlic
1 tsp olive oil
For the Vada
1. Boil the potatoes until soft and roughly mash in the pan.
2. Blend together the ginger, garlic, chilli and coriander with a little water, in a food processor until a paste is made
3. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and gently cook the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves, until the seeds start to ' pop '.
4. Add the turmeric to the frying pan and stir then add in the mashed potatoes
5. Stir the mixture and mash until smooth but be careful not to let it get too runny. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Mix the gram flour, bicarbonate of soda, chilli powder and gram masala in a large bowl and add a little water to make a thick batter.
7. Divide the potato mixture into 10 ball shaped pieces, dip into batter and fry until golden brown. Remove from fryer and drain excess oil.
For the chutney roughly chop the coriander and mint and mix in a small bowl with all other ingredients.
To serve, take your pre-prepared pav and spread some of the chutney onto both sides. Pop in one of your warm pieces of vada and enjoy. If you do like your food with a little more kick then add a few extra chillies on top. In Pune the locals wash their food down with sugar cane juice but I prefer with a beer or three.