I know many children and adults alike, who are born and brought up or have lived here in the Gulf most of their life and have no ties to places like Mumbai and Delhi, that have rarely eaten chaat food – pani puri, vada pav, pav bhaaji….and so on. And I’m completely the opposite. Having lived in Dubai all my life and being originally from Kerala, many of my northie friends are shocked to see how much addicted I’m to chaat food and my knowledge of which place sells what best there.
Honestly I don’t remember who introduced me to chaat items, but for sure not my parents because dad’s not such a fan of these and I introduced my mom to it (and she loves it too!). But I know for sure, what I first had was Paani Puri and from then on there was no turning back. I totally love paani puri. And call it my good luck, I got married to a mumbaikar who like all mumbaikars love their street chaat sellers!
All during my pregnancy, I only wanted paani puri. No it wasn’t a craving because I really had no cravings. But it was just me taking undue advantage of being pregnant and knew darn well…once this pregnancy is over I can’t ask for paani puri everyday! So alright, I let the others call it craving then… ;-). And during that time, when we went to Mumbai for vacation my MIL started to get a little worried seeing me eat paani puri everyday. I mean eating in Dubai is different but I’m sure many might agree there’s not much guarantee on the hygiene factor of the food being sold on Mumbai streets. And therefore, she would let me eat only from sellers she’s known for years.
The following year when I went with my son who by then was a little over a year old, I introduced him to mumbai chaat dishes too. I know he was a little too young, but then I would give him a bite of whatever I was eating. My SIL (husband’s sister) was shocked to see me give my son pav bhaaji and sev puri and stuff. She being a mumbaikar herself wouldn’t dream of letting her then 2 year old son to even take a bite of what she was eating. My argument… give it to the kid. If it suits him, perfect. If it doesn’t suit him, he’ll show it immediately…and then you stop! If you don’t try, how would you ever know?!?! 🙂
Coming back ….Gayathri from Gayathri’s Cook spot had posted a vada pav recipe a month back. The second I saw it I knew I had to try it and hence bookmarked it. It was fabulous! My husband and I just couldn’t sing enough praises. I didn’t make the pav though, because it was on impulse just an hour before dinner time, that I decided to make it and hence didn’t have time to make the pav. But next time, I’ll try the pav too.
This is what I did to make the aloo vada for the vada pav with minimal adaptations. For the original recipe of Gayathri and also for the recipe of making home-made pav….click here.
- Potato (medium-sized) – 3
- Cumin Seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Garlic – 5 pods, finely chopped
- Chilli Powder – 2 teaspoons (divided)
- Turmeric – 1/4 teaspoon
- Coriander leaves – 2 tablespoons
- Besan/Chick Pea Flour – 1 cup
- Baking Soda – 1/2 teaspoon
- Oil – For deep-frying
- Salt – to taste
Pressure cook potatoes, remove skin and mash with a fork.
Meanwhile in a pan, heat a teaspoon of oil and splutter cumin seeds. Add the chopped garlic. When the raw smell’s all gone, add 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder, turmeric and saute.
Add the mashed potatoes, salt and coriander leaves. Mix it all well and switch off flame and let the mixture cool down.
Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix chickpea flour (besan), 1 teaspoon chilli powder, baking soda and salt. Add water and prepare a thick batter. Also, heat enough oil in a frying pan to fry the potatoes.
Once the mashed potato mix has cooled, divide it into 8-10 equal portions/balls (size of a lemon), and slightly flatten it.
Remove from oil and keep aside.
- Coriander leaves – 1 cup
- Mint leaves – 1/4 cup
- Ginger – 1 inch
- Green chilli – 5 nos.
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Lemon juice – 1-2 tablespoons
- Yoghurt – 3 tablespoons
- Sugar – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt – to taste
Process all the ingredients in a food processor untill it’s smooth. Add a little water if needed. Coriander-Mint chutney is ready.
Seedless Dates – 25 grams (10-12)
Raisins – 25 grams
Jaggery – 25 grams
Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Garam masala powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Tamarind – lemon sized ball (de-seeded)
Water – 2 cups
Soak the tamarind in 2 cup warm water for 2-3 minutes. And then squeeze the pulp well.
Pour this tamarind mixture with water into a saucepan and let it come to a boil. Add the dates, raisins and cumin seeds. Let it cook on a low flame for about 5 minutes till the dates get really mushy. Let it cool.
Once the mixture cools, grind it to a fine paste, adding very little water. Strain through a sieve and pour this tamarind-date paste back into the saucepan.
Now add the jaggery and allow it to melt and blend well with the tamarind date mix. Cook for another 10 minutes till it becomes a thick pouring consistency
Then add chilli powder, salt, garam masala and cook again till the raw smell is all gone.
Turn off heat and let the mixture cool. This can be refrigerated and used as and when required.
TO MAKE VADA PAV
- Aloo Vada
- Pav (you can buy ready-made or use home-made ones)
- Coriander Chutney
- Sweet chutney
- Butter, for toasting
Slice the pav horizontally and put a teaspoon of butter on the cut side of each half and put the pav on a hot frying pan. Toast till it turns a slight golden.
Take the pav from the pan, smear some green chutney and some sweet chutney on both slices or just on the top portion. If you want your vada pav to be spicy, then add more green chutney and less of the sweet chutney.
Place one aloo vada on the lower portion of the pav and cover it with the top pav portion.
Serve it with onions, lemon slice and green chilli!