Friday, June 5, 2009

Batata Wada

We were the few lucky girls in the hostel...the ones who worked in Mumbai, but headed back home every (other) weekend - because home was a just 4 hr train ride away - in Pune. No matter what train, no matter that not having reservations meant that very often we would just have to spread newspapapers and sit down on the floor near the train doors, we would still make that weekend trip back home.

En route to Pune, at Karjat station, two additional engines are attached to the train to help it chug along the uphill ghaat. This is a longish stop - and there are vendors aplenty selling soft drinks and chikkis and...yes - the one thing we'd been impatiently waiting for - batata wada (a mashed potato patty covered with gram flour paste and deep fried ).

The spicy batata wada was the perfect accompaniment for what is without doubt the best part of the journey - the train making its way up the ghat - through the numerous tunnels it went and as it climbed higher, cottony clouds clung to the treetops and in monsoons, numerous waterfalls cascaded down the hill slopes...breath-takingly beautiful.

H.O.W.E.V.E.R, the most over riding memory of batata wada for me is, sadly, not the beautiful train ride, but the horrenduous, awful song Batata Wada. My friend would hum that song as the train approached Karjat with the result that now this song so firmly entrenched in my brain that every time I have/make batata wada, it starts playing in my head.

So while I go dunk my head in cold water to clear the song off my head, you go take a look at my way of making batata wada.

Batata Wada


Potatoes - 5 nos
Garlic - 10 cloves, finely chopped
Curry Leaves - 12-15
Coriander Leaves - 4 tbsps, chopped
Green chillies - 3
Ginger - 1" piece
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric - 3/4 tsp
Juice of 1 lemon
Sugar - 1 tsp

for the batter:

Besan/Gram flour - 2 cups
Water - 1 cup
Salt, turmeric, red chilli powder - to season the batter

A pinch of soda bi-carb
Oil for deep frying


Pressure cook the potatoes until soft - normally, I cook mine for about 4 whistles. Peel and cut into cubes; when cool enough to handle, add salt and sugar and mix well, mashing as you mix - you are looking for a chunky mash.

Pound the green chillies and ginger together.

Heat oil, pop in the mustard seeds. Let them splutter and then add the curry leaves and chopped garlic. Stir till the garlic turns soft. Then add the curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric powder, followed by the green chilli and ginger paste and stir for a minute.

Now, add the potatoes and stir till the potatoes are evenly coated with the tempering. Sprinkle the coriander leaves and the lemon juice, continue to mix for a further two minutes and set aside to cool a bit.

Prepare the batter by mixing together the gram flour and the water - add the water in two additions - the amount indicated here is just a guideline; the resulting batter should not be too runny or thin. Add the seasonings (I also add some chopped curry leaves in my batter as well as some ginger, chilli paste) and whisk well.. Then add the soda bi-carb and a tbsp of hot oil.

Heat oil in a kadhai, shape the potatoes into lemon sized balls, dip into the batter and fry till golden brown.

Serve hot with chutneys/ sauces of your choice. I served mine with tamarind chutney, mint chutney and garlic chutney.

This is my entry to RCI: Mumbai Street Food that I am hosting, event conceptualised by Lakshmi.

Oh, still wondering about that song, are you? Listen to it here. Sure enough, it will haunt you!!


  1. Wow you are fast with the event.
    I love the wada looks yumm. Drool.

  2. very quick one for the event..Loved the flat shapes than the regular bondas..

  3. Wow thats looking so tempting with those lovely chutneys..

  4. Umm that's so delicious I wish to eat those ;)...wonderful and so ur journey sounds ..:) .inbtw where in sg u r?

  5. Oh my even i used to travel but from pune to bombay as my home was in mumbai :) yeah i remember those days even though i used to be dead tired..friday night i had to reach bombay at any cost :) i love batata wadas especially the ones we get outside mithibai college..oh i m craving for these now!!!!

  6. It is so lovely to revisit the memory lane, think of the so sweet things of past. I kind of feeling home sick after reading your blog. Lovely batata wada.

  7. Wow yummy wada! One of my favourites :)

  8. I make it exactly like this & I love it

  9. Lucky you....wada looks simple, spicy and yum...

  10. The only reason I hate going to bombay by road is missing those batata vadas at karjat. :-)
    So the ginger is pounded ... which gives the nice flavour. :-)

  11. This is really the truest Mumbai street food there is!

  12. wada looks so yum,..hve tried this nd loved it,..:-)

  13. Yummy looking batata wadas..I remember reading a similar story on Raaga's blog about chats in Karjat station!!One thing I would surely doif/when I travel to Mumbai-Pune is to try out each and every chat available;)

  14. HC, Pratibha...this was lying in my drafts, so that explains the speed!!

    Pavithra, yeah the chutneys take up the taste a few notches.

    Priti..u are welcome home anyday to have these and anything else you want. Mail me.

    Parita, so you can understand our desperation to get home...some experiance that was :)

    Muskaan, Sadhana...yes it feels so nice to go down memory lane!

    Pooja, Deesha, Lubna...thank you!

    Sharmila, same here...nowadays, we always travel by road to Pune - it is so much more convenient! BTW, there is a food court on the highway and the wadas there are awesome. Give it a shot, you'll love them.

    Simran, yup nothing to beat the mumbai wada pav.

    Notyet100, i guess anyone who eats wadas once is hooked forever!

    Divya, oh yes, you must do a chaat round in Mumbai whenever you go there, it is such a great experience

  15. Do collect your award from the award section of my blog... :)

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