Monthly Archives: April 2020

Vada Pav

Click here for Laadi Pav recipe

Vada Pav is considered as the quintessential Indian Burger, made famous on the streets of Mumbai and in recent times Vada Pav chains have been launched under the brand Jumboking, Goli Vada Pav, etc. as the vegetarian equivalent to the likes of Burger King, McDonalds, etc.

This simple burger serves as a breakfast & snack to millions of people each day and being reasonably priced, even lunch and dinner to the thousands of poor people and immigrant labor that make Mumbai their home in search of economic sustenance.

However, for us it is always the street Vada Pav that is our go to breakfast the morning we land in Mumbai. Our red-eye flight to Mumbai usually arrives in the wee hours of the morning and after the airport formalities, as we make our way to Malad, in the cool morning breeze and deserted streets at the crack of dawn, when Mumbaites are barely waking up from their slumber, only a very few vada pav vendors would be open to serve those hurriedly heading to catch their train/bus for their morning shift and grab a quick ‘vada pav breakfast’ and chai! We stop at one of these stalls to pick-up a couple of vada pavs each (because one is never enough!), bottled water and milk for our first breakfast upon arrival.

The contentment of sinking our teeth into the warm vada pav, our first in months, satisfies our craving and annuls the ordeal of the preceding travel bringing pleasure, gratification and warmth to our hungry bellys.

With the ongoing COVID-19 Lockdown as our travel to Mumbai seems uncertain and distant, thought why not create our nostalgic experience right where we are!

So you too, go ahead try it and why not make it as your next Sunday brunch rounding it off with some Kulfi or Falooda for a satisfying meal. Making the Vada Pav from scratch including making the green and garlic chutney, baking the Pav (the dough was made the previous day and the pav kept for proving) took me two hours. But, you can plan and prepare the previous day. Gather all your ingredients on the Saturday, make the pav and keep for proving, make the green chutney, garlic chutney, and the potato balls, and refrigerate. Next morning bake the pavs, heat the oil in the kadhai, make the besan batter, fry the batata vadas, assemble and enjoy this delicious treat. Trust me, you will give your favorite Vadapavwalla down the street a run for his money!

Vada Pav

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Print

Batata Vada – Ingredients

4 large potatoes

½ tsp coriander,  roasted and crushed

¼ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp. turmeric

Pinch of asafoetida (optional)

½ tsp. cumin

½ tsp chilli powder

2 sprigs curry leaves

1 tbsp. oil

4 tbsp. green chutney * (recipe below)

Boil the potatoes, peel and chop. Heat a pan, add the oil and heat, then add mustard seeds. When they crackle add the asafoetida & curry leaves and switch off flame.  Immediately add the crushed coriander, cumin powder, turmeric, chilli powder, salt and the boiled potatoes.  When mixture is cool add *4 tbsp. of the green chutney and mix well and mash the potatoes roughly while mixing.  Make 15 to 20 balls of the potato mixture.

Vada Pav Besan Batter

Besan (gram/chick pea flour) Batter – Ingredients

1 1/2 cups gram flour (besan)

1/2 cup water

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. chilli powder

¼ tsp. turmeric

1 tbsp. hot oil (from the oil you will heat to fry the vadas)

Oil as required for deep frying

Heat oil in a kadhai.

Mix the besan with the salt, turmeric, chilli powder.  Remove 1 to 2 tbsp. of the hot oil and add to the besan batter.  The hot oil lends a certain flakiness to the batter.  Add the water and whisk to a smooth paste thick enough to coat the vada. Add a tablespoon of water if the batter is too thick but make sure its not runny.

Add a drop of batter to test the oil, which should immediately rise to the surface and turn golden brown.

Dip the potato balls in the batter to coat fully and drop gently in the hot oil and deep fry for 5 minutes to golden brown and crisp.  Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

Vada Pav Green Chutney

*Green chutney – Ingredients 

1 small bunch coriander leaves

1 bunch mint leaves

5 green chillies

1 tsp. salt

Juice of 2 lemons

½ tsp. sugar

½ cup water

Blend the above (without the water) till smooth.  *Add 4 tbsp. of this paste to the potato mixture. Add the 1/2 cup water to the remaining chutney, mix and reserve.

Vada Pav Garlic Chutney

Garlic Chutney – Ingredients

¼ cup garlic

1 tbsp. peanuts

½ cup dry coconut grated or dessicated coconut

1 tbsp. sesame seeds

3 tbsp. Kashmiri chilli powder

Salt to taste

Dry roast the garlic, peanuts, coconut & sesame seeds each separately, till light brown.  When cool grind in a dry grinder with the chilli powder and salt to a coarse powder.  Cool and store in an airtight jar.

To assemble:

Take a pav and slit horizontally keeping the end intact.  Apply the green chutney on the base of the pav, top with garlic chutney, place the vada in the centre of the pav and serve hot.

Click here for Laadi Pav recipe

Growing Mung Bean Sprouts

Bean (Mung or Moong – Green gram) sprouts are usually sold as a premium item in our super-markets here so I was delighted to learn that it is really simple to grow them at home.

The sprouts are highly nutritious and commonly used in Asian cooking, in stir fries, Chinese chow chow, american chopsuey, Veg Chow Mien, as filling for spring rolls, dumplings, wontons, in salads, soups, etc. They have a crunchy texture and mildly sweet taste. To retain its nutrition, avoid over-cooking. Best consumed fresh or lightly cooked.

Wash and soak ½ cup mung beans overnight or for atleast 8 hours. If using a smaller container to grow use 1/4 cup beans.

Take a sieve or colander or a plastic mesh basket and line it with muslin cloth. Spread the beans on the muslin cloth, preferably in a single layer and fold the cloth over to cover the beans completely. Spray well with water, place the basket in another vessel to catch the excess drained water.

Cover the basket with a black cloth or any dark towel as you need to block the sunlight to avoid the leaves becoming green (which gives it a bitter taste). Also we are not growing the moong plants just the sprouts.

Spray water four times a day, while keeping covered with the muslin cloth. This ensures the sprouts grow nice and plump. After watering cover with the black/dark cloth or towel.

On the 6th or 7th day they should be ready to harvest. Snip off the roots and rinse well to remove the mung bean skins and use as required.

If the sprouts are allowed to grow without covering the beans with the muslin cloth they tend to grow thin and long as shown below. The plump sprouts however are more tender.

You can make a quick bean sprout salad. Blanch the sprouts for 2 minutes in boiling water, drain and rinse with cold water. Season with salt, chopped spring onion, chopped garlic, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp, soya sauce, pepper powder and chopped green chilli. Mix well and serve immediately.

Check out my post on Growing methi indoors without soil & Sprouting Seeds and Beans

Pickled Jalapenos

A COVID-19 Lockdown post

Pickled Jalapenos

1 cup vinegar

½ cup olive oil

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. salt

¼ kg. Jalapenos

Mix together the vinegar, olive oil, sugar and salt.

Slice the jalapenos into rounds.  Add this to the vinegar mixture, to cover the jalapenos completely. 

Transfer all of it to a bottle or covered bowl and keep at room temperature for two days.

Thereafter refrigerate and use when required, in garnish, sandwiches, salads, hummus, etc.

Growing Methi indoors without soil

A COVID-19 Lockdown post

Recently tried growing fresh methi at home, without soil, and was quite pleased with the results although past attempts (a different method though) were not successful.

So I am sharing the step-by-step procedure to encourage all of you to give it a try especially now more than ever, as it would be almost impossible to purchase it in the market due to present COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown conditions in India and all over the world. Secondly, there’s every reason to be more self-reliant in these trying times.

Just as many Indians do, we too love consuming fresh fenugreek, not to mention the great health benefits associated with it. Generally, it’s an acquired taste as it is slightly bitter. In most parts of the world, it is sold as a herb!

Now, grow your very own fresh fenugreek/methi bhaji at home, organically, and enjoy it every week if you so desire.

You can’t go wrong with this Method:-

  1. Wash and soak ¼ cup of methi seeds overnight or for atleast 8 hours.

2. Take a sieve or colander, metal or plastic as may be available, line the base with muslin cloth or two to three sheets of paper towels.

3. Spread the soaked fenugreek seeds on the liner, spray with water, place the colander in another vessel to catch the excess drained water.

4. Cover with a wet tea towel and set aside.

Leave the wet tea towel for first two days. This makes the sprouts grow upwards towards the moisture.

5. Keep spraying water every five to six hours so that the seeds/sprouts do not dry out. But also ensure the excess water is drained and the lined sheets remain moist at all times.

Sprouts after 24 hours – Day 1
Sprouts after 48 hours – Day 2

6. After Day 2 i.e. after 48 hours, remove the wet towel and leave the container open so the methi gets some air and sunlight, but do not place in direct sunlight. Keep the container near an open window with the sun’s rays falling on the container whenever possible. The sunlight enables it to grow well and gives a rich green colour to the methi leaves

Shoots and leaves are showing – Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

7. Allow to grow for 6 to 7 days, spraying water periodically, until the leaves open and are deep green.

Day 6
Day 6 – Evening and ready for harvest!
Hold the edges of the paper towel and lift the entire crop carefully from the container

8. Remove the methi and prepare for cooking by chopping off the roots which will also ensure the pieces of the paper towel stuck to the roots are discarded.

9. Chop the methi stems into one or two pieces. Cover with water and leave for few minutes for the husk to loosen and separate from the leaves. Some may still remain, but that is okay. Remove and wash again, drain and use. Since there is no mud or sand, repeated rinsing is not necessary.

10. Cook the methi bhaji with baby shrimp or prawns alongwith potatoes. Serve with chappatis (or any bread of your choice) and pickle for a nutritious and complete meal. Please bear in mind that, like anyother leafy vegetable, the quantity of the methi bhaji reduces considerably when cooked.

“Methi Bhaji with Prawns” recipe is in Mai’s Recipes Page 69.

Other options for cooking fresh fenugreek.

Fresh methi has a number of uses. Here is another recipe where you can use fresh methi to cook Methi Murgh. Substitute the dried kasuri methi in this recipe for a cup of the fresh.

Methi Murgh

My sister Sheryl also makes a nice delicious and healthy salad, using shredded tender turnips and fresh methi mixed and garnished with lemon juice and salt. Dhansak the famous Parsi delicacy also has methi as one of its many ingredients.

Please note:-

You may extend the growing period of the methi for a couple of days, until you are ready to cook it, as it is always better to cook the methi freshly harvested for best results. However if necessary, you may store for a couple of days in the fridge. Make sure the methi does not have any moisture, wrap in dry cloth or paper and store.

If you wish to store in the freezer, would suggest chopping off the roots and clean and prepare as you would for cooking. Steam for 2 to 3 minutes, drain the water and leave to cool. Once cool store in zip lock bag in the freezer and use drectly, without thawing, whenever required.

Check out my post on Sprouting seeds and beans & Growing Mung Bean Sprouts

%d bloggers like this: