Kalyan was a bustling port during the Silahara dynasty in the 8th century long before Bombay was discovered by the Portuguese who called it Bom Bahia or good bay and which was later on developed as a proper port and city by the British. It was in the middle of all action for many centuries including the Battle of Kalyan between the Maratha and Mughal armies in 1683. Bombay was the more preferred choice over the earlier bustling areas of Kalyan, Vasai, Thane. Slowly Kalyan got relegated to sidelines and is now a largely residential small town beyond the northern suburbs of Bombay. Connected largely by the Bombay local train network. Sidelined though it may be in the current scheme of things. It is also home to a Vada Pav with a cult following. The Khidki Vada Pav.
Origin of the Vada Pav
The Vada Pav is largely known to have been invented in the mill areas of Girangaon in Mumbai, stretching from Tardeo to Lower Parel and was the perfect snack for mill workers and others in that area. Who started the original Vada Pav concept is not very clear, but what’s certain is that the concept revolves around Bata Vada or spiced mashed Potato Fritters with Gramflour (Besan) coating, sandwiched within a Pav or Pão, which in fact the Portuguese word for bread.
Khidki Vada Pav
If Girangaon is known to be the birthplace of the Vada Pav, Kalyan is known to have been one of the earlier places in the northern suburbs where this dish developed a cult following; largely thanks to Yashawant Moreshwar Vaze and his wife. Yeshawant was initially was a mill worker in Dadar, but later settled in Kalyan. Because of financial difficulties, the Vaze family started making Vada Pav at home somehere in the late sixties and selling through the window of the house facing the main road. The Vada was apparently so good that it soon developed a cult following.
Today, the original Khidki (window) has sadly disappeared and has made way for a commercial shopping complex. KVP was a roadside stall for the longest of time but now has transformed into a somewhat fancy tiled shop. Thankfully, one still has to stand on the road and eat their Vada Pav. I’m a firm believer in progress, but one should never forget one’s legacy. Hopefully, the Khidki will again become part of their legacy at some point in the future.
The Vada Pav at Khidki Vada Pav is quite decent and still very popular, but I wouldn’t call it spectacular. The vada was good, but the pav was a bit dry. But that’s also me being a bit picky. The brand still has got a cult following in Kalyan.
The story of the Khidki Vada Pav is a wonderful one and had to be told. The Vaze family has braved many odds and maintained the success of their business and legacy. Their main claim to fame is now the green thetcha that they now sell in packets alongwith the vada Pav and are in the process of patenting its recipe.
Here’s the link to their website http://khidkivada.com
And a recipe on how to make Vada Pav https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/vada-pav-how-to-make-wada-pav/
May the force be with them! Keep hunting and Chowder-on!