Maharashtra is the third largest and the second most populous state of India and yet, each time we start a discussion about the state’s cuisine we tend to not move past Mumbai. Did you know, much before Mumbai became the most sought-after city of Maharashtra, cities like Kolhapur would draw most number of tourists because of its historical and cultural heritage. Situated on the banks of river Panchganga, Kolhapur was a princely state until the Independence of India, the Maharaja of Kolhapur acceded to the Dominion of India on 14 Aug 1947. The fashion enthusiasts may know of Kolhapur as the land of beautiful Kolhapuri chappals, the foodies however, share a very different relationship with Kolhapur.  

Kolhapur is renowned for its spicy and but incredibly flavourful food. Fiery curries like Tambda and Pandhara Rassa, Kolhapuri misal and Kolhapuri mutton are relished with much fervour across the country even if that means guzzling a whole bottle of water afterwards. What also makes Kolhapuri cuisine distinct is the generous use of local spices and ingredients such as Lavangi Mirchi.

Kolhapuri Kat Vada is an interesting combination of a Batata vada which is dunked in a spicy, red gravy (kat). This street food is very popular in Southern parts of Maharashtra. The rich use of spices makes this snack all this bold, flavourful and wholesome. Here’s how you can make it at home.

Ingredients for Kat:  

  • 4 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/4th cup of Dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp asafoetida or hing
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli
  • Salt to taste

How To Make Kat Vada :

1. Heat oil in a pan, add jeera seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper corns, black cardamom, coriander seeds, poppy seeds.  

2. Roast the spices gently. Keep the flame low.  

3. Add some dessicated coconut, followed by grated ginger. Roast them gently together.  

4. Add onions and mix until they are slightly golden, add chopped tomatoes and mix again.

5. Now add some salt for taste. Cover the lid and let it cook for 2-3 minutes on low flame.

6. Mix the masalas, cover the lid and cook again until the oil separates. Let it cool

7. Now proceed toward making Vadas. Here is the recipe.  

8. Grind the masalas you left to cool in a mixer grinder.

9. In a wok take some oil, let it heat.  

10. Add turmeric and hing, roast gently.

11. Now add the masalas, and some water.  

12. On medium flame stir the masalas.

13. Add some Kashmiri red chilli powder for the colour.

14. Stir masalas until the oil separates.  

15. Now add enough water, so that you get a slightly water-y gravy. Add some salt to taste. Throw in some coriander leaves. Let it cook for a while.  

16. Your Kat is ready. Drop the vadas in this gravy and chomp away.