Every time we think of the beautiful and lush state of Maharashtra, the thought of Vada Pav comes to our mind. Indeed, Vada Pav is the most widely available food item in the state and also an all-time favourite of all Maharashtrians, including Mumbaikars. A simple dish that is easy to cook, it has captured the hearts of Indians all over and is now gaining popularity across the country as the Indian Burger.
The exact origins of this dish are unknown but the most common hypothesis is that mill workers of Central Mumbai were in need of a simple dish to fill their stomach without boring a hole in their pocket, and thus the Vada Pav came to life. The term originates from the Maharashtrian word Vada, meaning potato fry and from the Portuguese term Pav, related to bread.
The recipe of this dish is quite simple and only requires potato, bread/bun slices, spices to fry and a small amount of oil:
1. The potatoes are boiled and mashed with green chillies, asafoetida, coriander leaves, mustard seed, turmeric powder and salt as required. It is then shaped into a patty, coated with a flour batter and fried in oil.
2. The green chutney is made using green chillies, coriander leaves, garlic cloves and lemon juice. The mixture is stirred together until a watery sauce is formed out of it.
3. The pav is sliced into two and coated on the inside with green chutney and sweet chutney (prepared according to taste). The potato patty is then put inside the two pavs and served with garnishing.
In recent times, the dish is often garnished with new and modern food items like cheese and hot sauces to increase flavour and bring in variety. Many know of it as the Indian burger but are quite ignorant as to its humble origins from the needs of mill workers in Mumbai.
Most states have altered it according to their tastes, but the traditional Vada Pav is still the most favourite of all – from school canteens to wedding snacks, and is rising on the popularity meter every day!