Batata Vada – Mumbai’s most famous street food- the inimitable Wada Pav

  • Servings : 8-9
  • Prep Time : 20m
  • Cook Time : 20m
  • Ready In : 45m

Bombay spells local trains and railway stations spell Batata vada for me. One of my favourite memories of Bombay is buying steaming hot Batata vadas at the railway station.

In summer when we went to Pune, to my Uncle’s house, the train journey held a promise- a promise of buying Batata vadas or Vada Pav at a station called Karjat- about midway between Bombay and Pune. Karjat Batata vadas are really famous- even writing about them makes my mouth waters and reminds me of the enticing smells of the vada wafting in from the vendor’s stalls.

So what is a Batata vada- Batata is a term used in Maharashtra and Goa for potatoes, a term derived from the Spanish Patata- the Portuguese influence! The rest of India calls potatoes Alu.

So our  humble spud is boiled, mashed, spiked with garlic and a few seasonings, then dipped in besan (chickpea) batter and deep fried- The Vada (wada)

This is then served with a spicy dry red garlic chutney and fried green chillies, either by itself or with a pao (soft small bun) – which is called Vada pav.

But trust me- I lie not. Batata vadas are addictive. You cannot have just one vada- so not possible.


I have anxiously watched many an  uninitiated friend unsuspectingly, try one bite, think it’s yum, smile  and watched the expressions change as the flavours exploded in their mouths one after another- the garlic, curry leaves , and then the chilli.

But every time, this has happened, the hand has reached out for another and yet another.

And now that I have  made you really hungry, I think it’s time for me to share this special recipe, my Mum’s recipe. One of the best batata vadas that I have eaten.

Hope you enjoy making it.

Ingredients for the Potato Stuffing

Potatoes- 4 – boiled and mashed about 2-21/2 cups
Curry leaves- 10
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp

Cumin seeds (optional)-1 tsp
Green chilli- 1 chopped
Ginger, finely chopped- 2 tbsp
Garlic cloves, grated- 2
Turmeric powder-1 tsp
Asafoetida (Hing)- ¼ tsp
Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp
Oil for frying


Ingredients for the Besan batter

Besan (Chickpea flour)- 1 cup
Turmeric powder- ½ tsp 
Chilli powder- 1 pinch
Water- 1 cup 
Rice flour (optional)- 2 tbsp 

Method for the Potato Stuffing

  1. Boil the potatoes till soft. Mash them well. There should be no lumps.
  2. In a pan, heat 2 tsp oil.
  3. Add the mustard seeds.
  4. When they start spluttering, add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, chopped ginger, smashed garlic cloves, chopped chilli & asafoetida.
  5. Fry for about 1 minute. Do not let burn.20140217-P1080204
  6. Now add this  spice mixture along with the oil to the the mashed potatoes.
  7. Add salt.
  8. Add the turmeric powder
  9. Mix well and make equal sized  balls of the potato mixture.
  10. Flatten them a little as it helps while frying.

Method for the Besan Batter

  1. In a bowl, mix the gram-flour, turmeric powder, add salt to it.
  2. You can also add a pinch of red chilly powder to it.
  3. Add rice flour. It helps make the cover a bit crispy and crunchy.
  4. Add water to make a slightly thick batter.
  5. Heat enough oil in a small wok. Heat till hot. Add 2 tbsp of this hot oil to the batter. This also helps the cover get crunchy when fried.20140217-P1080206Preparing the vadas:
  6. Dip each vada (potato ball) in the besan batter. Ensure that the batter is not too thin, but coats the potato ball on all sides when dipped.20140218-P1080211
  7. Coat the ball evenly with the gram flour batter.
  8. Gently put into the wok containing the hot oil and fry until golden brown.20140217-P1080207
  9. 20140217-P1080208 Remove with a slotted spoon and leave for a minute or two on absorbent kitchen paper to drain the excess oil.
  10. Serve hot.

Batata vadas are best served with fried green chillies tossed in salt and a  dry chutney made with of garlic, red chillies and onions- A Maharashtrian special.

As an alternative, you could serve it as a vadapav- in a bun. For many many people in busy Bombay, this serves as a delicious meal on-the-go!

20140218-P1080216  20140218-P1080218

Tags: , , Ingredients: If you like this recipe, please share, or leave a comment below. It only takes a click!