Much like the bhel puri I made recently, the Indian street food snack called vada pav was brought to my attention when I read the review of a Covent Garden restaurant named Dishoom. This is one restaurant I’ll surely be going to whenever I get back to London. In the meantime I thought I’d recreate this Mumbaian/Maharashtrian roadside food in my own kitchen; far from the dusty and congested streets of India’s capital.
The basic recipe for the vada (potato fritters) is very much a dry potato curry, spice-up with the usual suspects like ginger, garlic, turmeric and other spices. I still had some left-over aloo puri in the fridge so why not roll it into balls and douse it in gram flour batter and fry it? My aloo puri contains tomato, which ran the risk of making the fritter explode in the oil, but luckily that didn’t happen. Vada pav purists may scoff at my version but I’m sure that if I had a stall somewhere by Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai I’d have some intrigued customers.
What we basically have is a hot curried potato fritter inside a bread bun, spiced even more with some crumbly peanut & roasted garlic chutney. Anyone that loves their Indian street food is sure to love this thing.
Using a 1/3 cup measure, portion the aloo puri and roll into balls. Place on a plate and refrigerate until needed.
Place the gram flour, turmeric, bicarb, 1 teaspoon peanut oil, salt and cumin seeds into a mixing bowl. Pour the water in and mix to a batter. Set aside.
Heat the 1 litre of oil in a small saucepan over a medium flame. Take the balls of puri and gently coat them, one-by-one in the batter. Fry in the hot oil, one or two at a time, until golden. Place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain as you cook the remaining balls.
Cut the bread rolls almost in half, sprinkle the bottom half with some shengdana lehsun chutney, top with a hot vada and drizzle over some tamarind chutney. Eat immediately.