First Stop – Shri Ram Best Vada at Shirwal

9 Jun

On the way from Pune to Kolhapur, we stopped at Shirwal, to try Shri Ram Best Vada. Very popular with people traveling on that highway.

A batata vada is nothing but flavoured mashed potato, dipped in batter and fried. It is either eaten plain, with chutneys or with bread and chutneys. I personally like its original taste, so i prefer it just with pav, or bread. Batata vada is considered a common man’s food, because even the most expensive vada-pav will not cost you more that Rs 10. Its filling, it’s tasty and its quick. I hate when people call it an “indian burger”, because honestly, it has an identity of its own.

There’s also different types of batata vadas. An alteration in what you put in it, can completely change its taste. I for example, don’t like putting too much coconut in my mashed potato. The batter that its dipped in is made of besan, along with a few other ingredients. So anyway, here we were, waiting eagerly for our vada-pavs to arrive.

While we waited, I looked around the place for what else they served. The  fare was quite similar to any vada-pav joint you’ll on the highway. They had bhajias (vegetables dipped in batter and fried) made of potato, onions and chillis.

Never ending trays of bhajias. Yum!

I’m sure most of you love the idea of eating hot bhajias in rainy weather, along with a hot cup of tea. I suggest the next time you do make them, go a little out of the realms of potatos, onions and chillis and try palak, capsicum and mushroom. They taste awesome!

They also had Misal, a very Maharashtrian dish. Again, considered a common-man’s food – cheap, high energy, tasty, quick. The misal is made of 3 things – gaathia and sev, gravy (usually very thin and oily) and pav. The Pav is again, optional.

What really really shocked me, however, was the humongous jar of tamarind chutney that was on our table. Each table had at least two, so you can imagine how popular it must be in those parts. I, for one, can’t imagine having it with my vada-pav. That’ll just make it impure.

Gravy used for Misal. Extremely spicy!

Tamarind chutney for a giant!

There’s my RayBan wearing, sari-clad grand ma in the background. She’s so cool!

After my tour of the place, I settled down into my vada-pav. It was good. Not the best I’ve had, but let’s say 6 on 10. What was 8 on 10, however, was their garlic chutney. This is the one thats usually dry and red in colour.

Did you know that its made using the extra drips of batter that went into the oil? They resemble tiny little tadpoles and are crunchy as hell.

They also had a watery white chutney (hate!) and fried chillis, too spicy for my tummy.

So, here are two of my Mom’s batata vada recipes. I’ve tried and tested them, and they’re awesome-

Aam Junta Batata Vada (Every Man’s Batata Vada)

What you need-

For the potato mash – 6 medium sized potatoes, 7garlic pods,1.5 inch  ginger, 4 green chillies, 1 tspn haldi (turmeric), salt , little hing(asafoetida), 2-3 kadi patta(curry leaves), 1 tspn rai (mustard seeds), 1 tspn jeera (cumin seeds).

Optional- 1 tsp dhana poweder (corriander seeds powdered), 1 tsp jeera powder (cumin seeds powdered)

For the batter- 2 cups besan(gram flour), salt, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp hot oil, 1 tsp ajwain(carom seeds)

Optional- 1 onion (finely chopped), 1 tsp lemon juice

What to do-

Mash the garlic and ginger together to make a paste.
Heat oil ( 2 tb spoons), add jeera, rai and let it splutter, add hing, haldi, kadi patta, chillies and small pieces of boliled potatoes.You may add dhana and jeera powder if you like.
Add the garlic- ginger paste, mix  properly and keep stirring for about 3-4 minutes till it is well steamed. Then let it cool.
To prepare the batter, take the besan, add salt, baking poder, ajwain and 2 tea spoons hot oil to make the cover crispy. Add water till you get a thickish constituency. A special taste can be acquired by adding  raw onion ( finely chopped ) and lemon juice to this mixture but be careful because this may make the potato mixture little watery. Wait till right before you’re going to fry the vadas to add the onion and lemon juice.
Take a big lemon size dullop of potato mixture, flatten it , dip in the batter and deep fry on a medium flame till golden brown.
Serve hot with chutney and pav (bread).
Chutney ( Ramakant special)-

What you need-

1 cup roasted peanuts
1 tsp red chilli powder
salt
3-4 pods of garlic (mashed)
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 tsp curd/yogurt
What to do-

Take roasted  peanuts, red chilly powder, salt, garlic, dry coconut desicated and dahi. Mix well and grind in the mixer. Also add the small droplets of besan batter that comes off the wadas while frying and add it to the chutney ingredients to make it tasty. Enjoy!

Vada-Pav

Famous Khopoli Batata Vada-(Khopoli is a place known for its tasty batata vadas)
What you need-

For the potato mash- Potatoes ( 5 or 6 medium sized), 7-8 garlic pods, 1 inch ginger, 3 green chillies, 2 teaspoons jeera (cumin seeds), 4 tbsp dessicated coconut , 1 tspn sugar to enhance taste, a small bunch of coriander leaves (chopped), salt to taste, oil to deep fry the wadas.
For the Batter- same as above.
What to do-

Boil the potatoes in the pressure cooker and peel. Coarsely grind jeera(cumin seeds), ginger, chillies and garlic.
Mash the potatoes coarsely, add the ground paste, salt, coconut, corriander leaves and sugar. Mix well and keep aside.
Make the batter as described above.
Heat oil in a kadai. Take a big lemon size potato mixture, flatten it , dip in the batter and deep fry on a medium flame till golden brown.
As an accompaniment, make garlic chuteny as above.
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One Response to “First Stop – Shri Ram Best Vada at Shirwal”

  1. SHYAM GHATE August 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    The famous Khopoli Ramakant batata vada is served with a chutney that is equally unique. You got to try and get the recipe. Garlic chutney is just no match for it.
    -babs

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