Indian Potato Fritter Sandwich (Vada Pav)

Potato Fritter Sandwich (Vada Pav)
Indian Potato Fritter Sandwich (Vada Pav)Todd Coleman

A staple of Mumbai street stalls, these aromatic fried potato-fritter sandwiches are slathered with coriander and tamarind chutneys and served on a buttered, toasted roll. Hard-to-find ingredients can be found at Kalustyans, Grocery Thai, and eFoodDepot.This recipe first appeared in our April 2011 special Sandwich Issue with the article A Taste of Place.

Indian Potato Fritter Sandwich (Vada Pav)
A staple of Mumbai street stalls, these aromatic fried potato-fritter sandwiches are slathered with coriander and tamarind chutneys and served on a buttered, toasted roll.
Yield: serves 8-10

For the Chutneys

  • 2 cups chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. roasted peanuts
  • 2 tbsp. desiccated coconut
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 jalapeños, stemmed
  • 8 oz. tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 12 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 34 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 14 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp. hot paprika

For the Vada and Serving

  • 12 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 12 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil, plus more for frying
  • 34 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 18 tsp. asafetida
  • 1 (1/2") piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 34 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 14 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 14 cup finely chopped mint
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 14 cup rice flour
  • 14 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 12 tsp. ground cumin
  • 12 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 8 store-bought Parker House rolls, split but left hinged

Instructions

  1. Make the coriander chutney: Place cilantro, lemon juice, peanuts, coconut, salt, jalapeños, and ½ cup water in a blender, and puree until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Make the tamarind chutney: Heat the tamarind paste and 2 cups water in a 1-qt. sauce pan over medium-high heat; cook, stirring, until tamarind dissolves. Pour through a medium strainer into a small bowl, pressing on solids to extract all pulp; discard solids and set aside pulp. Heat oil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add fennel, mustard seeds, and chile; cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 2-4 minutes. Add reserved tamarind pulp, brown sugar, dates, raisins, paprika, and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until reduced and thick, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Make the vada: Bring a 4-qt. saucepan of salted water to a boil, and add potatoes; cook until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain in a colander, then pass through a potato ricer into a large bowl; set aside. Heat oil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and asafe­tida and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 20-30 seconds. Add ½ tsp. turmeric, onion, and chile, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to bowl with potatoes, along with cilantro, mint, and juice; season with salt and stir until well combined. Shape mixture into 2" balls and transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, whisk together ½ tsp. salt, remaining turmeric, chickpea and rice flours, yogurt, coriander, cumin, baking soda, and ¾ cup water until smooth; set aside.
  4. To assemble, heat butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add rolls, cut sides down, and cook until toasted, about 3 minutes. Spread 1 tbsp. coriander chutney inside top of each roll and 1 tbsp. tamarind chutney inside bottom of each roll. Place a potato ball in each and close, then gently smash.