The tale of the Bombay Wada pao

Toss, and turn. There is a virus lurking around you. Can you see it? No, you can’t of course. But you can feel it. It’s in your mind, eating into your grey cells. You block your mind to this panic. But as you glide into your sleep, you see it there, in your dreams, waiting to catch hold of you. It’s gripped you firmly in its embrace. And you’re struggling to breathe. The world has progressed, but not enough to kill you off a flu.

Beads of sweat run down your temples as you sit up in bed, alone. You have been quarantined for a week now. There’s another week to go. The hospital bed is covered in whites. And you look at the wall in front. This is your only escape into the outside world. You flip through the channels, to lighten up the mood, and then you realise, everyone is just talking about you and others like you.

Little do they know that this is World War 3. The perpetrators are unknown. And they will remain anonymous. You lower your guard as you see a lady wearing an apron, cooking a Wada pao on TV. Your mouth waters as you see the delicacy simmering in a pot of hot peanut oil. The potato balls turn golden brown and crackles as you take it off the oil. She drizzles a little bit of a spicy dry garlic chutney on the potato and slices open an Indian burger bread.

As she bites into it, you find yourself in another world. In another week, you walk out of the hospital and into the real world. You cannot but stop yourself from thinking about that Wada pao. And then you stop over and treat yourself to it. It’s crackling, sizzling, crunchy batter greets you with a punch of flavour. The mashed potato on the inside warm you up as you bite into it. And as you take another bite, the Wada pao vendor sneezes loudly. But this time, you don’t think of that damned virus. You lick the garlic chutney off your finger.

That night, guilt takes over as your nightmare comes back to haunt you.


Recipe for the Wada Pao

Ingredients for the Wada:

2-3 Potatoes

Peanut Oil 2 tbsps

Ginger 1 inch

Garlic 2-3 cloves

Curry leaves 5-7

A pinch of Asafoetida (Hing in hindi)

Mustard seeds 1 tea spoon

Cumin seeds 1 tea spoon

A pinch of sugar

Red Chilli Powder

2 Green chillies finely cut

Coriander – finely chopped


Turmeric Powder

Ingredients for the Batter:

Gram Flour (Besan in hindi) 2 table spoons



Red Chilli Powder

A pinch of baking soda



Boil the potatoes and peel them.

Splutter the garlic, ginger, curry leaves, asafoetida, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, sugar and red chilli powder in the oil and place it in a vessel. Now cut the boiled potatoes and put them in the same vessel.

Add green chilli, coriander, salt and turmeric powder to this mix.

Mash it all together and roll them into balls.

Now make the batter.

Take the besan and mix it with water, salt, red chilli powder and a pinch of baking soda till it shows a thick consistency. It should not be to watery nor too thick. Blend it vigorously.

Now dip the potato balls into the batter generously. They should be lathered with the batter from all sides.

Now, fry them on a low heat until they turn golden.

Slice open a pao, add some dry garlic chutney on the insides and place the fried Wada into the pao.

Serve hot.

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