Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, these sabudana vadas are a delicious snack, especially during the rainy season. Enjoy them with green coriander-mint chutney and a cup of tea while watching the rain!
Sabudana (called Sago or Tapioca pears in English) is soaked overnight and then mixed with mashed potato, peanuts, and other spices to make these delicious vadas. Sabudana vadas or tapioca fritters are also popular vrat food or fasting food during the Navratri festival. During Navratri, a 9-day Hindu festival, many people abstain from wheat and other grains, lentils, onions, garlic, and common salt. Fasting food is usually very simple, like this sabudana khichdi, but these vadas are like an occasional treat in between!
When we lived in Mumbai, both during college and after while working there, sabudana vada was a popular street snack during Navratri and otherwise too. While it is a Maharashtrian dish, it has definitely traveled along the length and breadth of the country :-).
How to prevent Sabudana Vadas from breaking in Oil
A common problem while making sabudana vadas is that they break in oil. A few tricks to prevent that from happening:
- Soak the tapioca pearls in water for at least 5-6 hours or overnight so that they are soft. Completely squeeze out all water from the soaked sabudana before making the vada mix.
- Mashed potato helps to bind the mix together and prevent the vadas from breaking in oil. Add more potato to the mix if the vadas are breaking. You can also add some gram flour or chickpea flour (if not fasting) or buckwheat or amaranth flour if you are making these vadas for vrat, to increase binding.
- I never deep fry the vadas or any other fritters/cutlets. I always shallow fry them in a very thin layer of oil, which prevents them from breaking and cook properly.
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- ½ cup Sabudana (Small Tapioca pearls)
- 2 potatoes , boiled and mashed to give ~1 cup
- ¼ cup peanuts , without skin
- 1 green chili , finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh coriander leaves , finely chopped
- 1 inch ginger , peeled and grated
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- Rock Salt , to taste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Vegetable Oil for frying
Soak the sabudana or tapioca pearls in water (enough to cover the sabudana) for 5-6 hours, preferably overnight.
Drain the soaked sabudana in a colander and squeeze out all the water.
Dry roast the peanuts and grind coarsely in a mortar-pestle. It’s nice to have a few small pieces of peanuts in the mix. It adds to the taste and texture that is why I didn’t grind them in a mixer.
In a big mixing bowl, combine the soft sabudana, mashed potato*, roasted peanut powder, chili, grated ginger, coriander, cumin powder, rock salt, and lemon juice. Mix everything well with your hands or use a potato masher.
Divide the vada mix into 16 small portions and shape each into a flat round disc.
Heat oil in a flat pan. Shallow fry the vadas till they are golden crispy from below. Turn and cook the other side. **
Remove on an absorbent kitchen paper.
Serve hot with green chutney or ketchup.
*For potatoes, I prefer to grate them as it ensures there are no pieces.
**When frying try with one vada first. If it breaks, add more potato and/or flour.
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