Vantage point

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Vada in Pune, Pav in Mumbai

The ideal vadapav would be one in which the vada is made in Pune and the pav in Mumbai.

The Mumbai vada plain sucks. Mostly it tends to be spherical for some bizarre reason. How can something which is supposed to be pressed between a pav and had be spherical? Obviosuly, this leads to flattening of the vada. Since the vada has to be flattened, the makers have to be careful the stuffing doesn't spill out. This forces them to make the covering batter layer too thick. The vada then stops being a vada and becomes a bonda. When the besan batter starts developing a noticeable existence of its own, your vada is ruined. And since the besan layer is so thick, it can never be made crsip.

Plus I don't know what they do with the potato stuffing and I don't want to know. It just tastes aweful!

Vadas in Pune are perfect. They are flattened before deep frying. Since the vada thus does not have to face circumstances where its structural durability will be tested, the batter covering is thin and as a guessed it... crisp. The potato stuffing is to die for. I haven't analysed this very closely yet, but I suspect that the stuffing in Pune has garlic playing a large part, and it adds to the yumminess. I doubt if garlic is used as much in Mumbai. The vada in Mumbai is not even noticeable.

What is noticeable in Mumbai is the pav. Ah, the Mumbai pav! If there was ever a contest between the top breads of Earth and the top breads of let us say Jupiter or Pluto, I am sure the Mumbai pav would feature prominently in the scheme of things. The texture, the juiciness-without-juice, the scent, everything is divine. As a result the pav ends up dominating the Mumbai vadapav.

Whereas bakers in Pune, though miles ahead of bakers in other Indian cities, still can't match up to Mumbai when it comes to the pav. The Pune pav is competent, but just that. Considering the level of perfection attained by the Pune vada (especially the guy who stands oppose the UCO Bank near Vanaz), the pav falls behind.

A vadapav made in heaven would thus have a vada from Pune and a pav from Mumbai.