Vada Pav-er: Make Bombay's Favourite Snack From Scratch

There’s no bite that embodies the spirit of Bombay better than the Vada Pav. One of the most commonly eaten snacks, you can find it on every street corner and it’s a food that’s relished by people of all backgrounds. It’s thought to have originated in Central Mumbai, in the erstwhile Mill areas of Dadar in 1966. Ashok Vaidya is thought to have opened a stall outside the Dadar train station to cater to the large number of cotton mill workers that passed through this area. 

With a spiced potato patty and a soft bread bun, this carbohydrate-rich snack was a quick, cheap way for people to stay energised through the day. Its convenient size also meant that it could be taken on the go while travelling by train. By the 1970s everyone in Bombay knew about Vada Pao and at around 15 paise per serving, it was a solid staple of everyday life. Today it’s not quite so cheap but it remains one of the most affordable and delicious street foods the city has to offer. 

Every Vada Pao shop or theka has its own additions like dry (sukka) chutney, fried chillies or green chutney, but if you don’t have one nearby, then we have the solution. Making your own Vada Pav is an easy affair once you know the secrets, and we have the recipe to get you a soft fluffy ladi pao and perfectly spiced vada in the comfort of your own kitchen. 

Ladi Pav


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 4tbsp of melted butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup lukewarm milk 
  • ⅓ cup lukewarm water


  • Proof the yeast with sugar in lukewarm water. Mix all the ingredients together and let it sit for about 10 minutes in a warm spot till bubbles form across the surface. 
  • In a mixing bowl add the flour, yeast mixture and milk. With your hands, bring it together until it forms a slightly wet dough
  • Toss it onto a floured surface and knead for arround 15 minutes until it starts forming a smooth dough that doesn’t stick to the surface.
  • Add the melted butter and knead for another 10 minutes. 
  • Place the dough ball in a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel and leave it to proof for 40 minutes. 
  • Note: At this point, you can start making your vadas.
  • After it’s proofed, tip the dough back onto the counter, squeeze out the air and add the baking powder to the dough. 
  • Knead it for another 5 minutes before cutting it into pieces and rolling them into round balls.
  • In a greased baking tin, place the balls side-by-side and let them proof again for 10 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 220°C.
  • Brush the tops of the buns with milk and bake at 200°C for 15 minutes. 


Batata Vada

For Potato Filling:

  • 3 Medium Potatoes Boiled, Peeled And Mashed
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • ¼ Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Ginger Paste
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Paste 
  • 1 Green Chilli Chopped Finely
  • 7-8 Curry Leaves
  • A Pinch Hing (Asafoetida)
  • ½ Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Salt To Taste
  • 1-2 Tsp Lemon Juice Or Lime Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander 

For The Batter:

  • ¾ Cup Besan (Gram Flour)
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Flour
  • Salt To Taste
  • ⅛ Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • ¼ Tsp Red Chili Powder
  • ¾ Cup + 1 Tbsp Water
  • A Small Pinch Baking Soda
  • Oil For Deep Frying


Potato Filling:

  • Boil the potatoes till fork tender. Once cool, peel them and mash them.
  • Heat the oil and add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then add ginger, garlic paste, green chilli and curry leaves. 
  • Saute for 30-40 seconds or until the raw smell of ginger-garlic goes away.
  • Add hing and turmeric powder. Immediately add mashed potatoes and salt.
  • Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is almost dry.
  • Turn off the stove and add lemon juice, finely chopped coriander and salt as needed.
  • Remove the mixture to a plate and let it cool down completely before shaping into balls.

  • Batter:
  • Mix besan, rice flour, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and baking soda in a bowl. 
  • Add water and stir to make a lump-free batter. 

Batata Vada:

  • Heat the oil for deep frying. 
  • Once the oil is hot, take one ball, dip it into the batter and ensure that it’s evenly coated.
  • Gently slide the vada into the hot oil.
  • Leave them to fry for 2 minutes before gently moving them around for even browning.
  • Once they are fried to crisp and light golden colour, remove them using a slotted spoon, and drain excess oil.
  • Sandwich between a fresh pav with your choice of chutney and enjoy!