Friday, March 8, 2013

Sabudana Vada - A Popular Maharashtrian Snack

Mumbai - a name which spells nostalgia, home, Bollywood, glitz, glamour and cozy dreams to many. For various reasons, Mumbai is second home for me. I've spend countless holidays on this island exploring every alley and neighborhood. The Bombay I knew is far different from the Mumbai of today. People can call it by any name for me it will always be - Bombay. Its not a surprise that most of the foods cooked in my home represent Goa, Maharashtra apart from GSB Konkani food.

I love Maharashtrian cuisine because most of the foods are highly portable and stay well for a longer period when coconut is not added. The humble Vada Pav is the favorite on-the-go meal for majority of the working population, Pav Bhaji is my go-to recipe when the fridge is over stuffed with vegetables of all sorts, spicy and fiery broth of Usal is a regular at my home.

I am very fond of Sabudana Vada, a yummy patty made of Tapioca Pearls also known as Sabudana. These white pearls are balls made out of cooked starch sourced from Cassava root and is gluten free. Sabudana Khichdi is also popular during Navratri and on days when long hours of fasting is observed. The biggest advantage of eating Sabudana is one feels full for a long time, hence more preferred as stomach filling foods. Whenever I visit Mumbai, I make it a point to visit the local restaurants selling these fried goodies. The first time I had them as a teenager I recall the waiter telling me that more often than not, only two patties are served along with Dahi (Yogurt). They go a long way in beating unexpected hunger pangs. 

If I were in India, I would probably never cook these patties. Why bother when the experts can make the best ones for you? Anyhow, I decided to take the plunge and made these on a chilly, snowy winter evening. Making these patties demands lot of patience and time, a rare treat but very tasty. Do not bother to make them in a hurry. The pearls ought to be soaked in water for atleast 6-8 hours and then mixed well with mashed potatoes and spices to make a firm patty. The fresher the quality of Sabudana, the better the Vada. There are two varieties of Pearls available in the market - the tiny ones and the large ones. I use the large ones and soak them for good 5-6 hours. If the patty is not forming well, there is a high chance that the patties will break open in oil ruining your hard work. Daanyachey Koot, a coarse nutty powder made of peanuts without skin also determines the binding and adds the extra crunch. I shallow fried them with more oil almost coating 1/2 of the vada at all times. 

On a different note, Konkani Foodie turned 6 last week. It feels good to have come this far. The blog combines two of my favorite activities - Writing and Food. When I look back, it feels good to have so many memories all born out of food, people I love and the strange situations under which a certain recipe was discovered. Sometimes its a long forgotten aroma, a taste I've longed for or simply put a desire to reach out to familiar tastes and aromas long lost in the alleys of a memorable childhood. 

Many of my family members are aware of my blog. The blog is accessed by my family - immediate, blood, extended. Friends, ex-friends, co-workers, acquaintances all read every line I write, every recipe I document. It feels great to have so much love coming for my Foodie blog. I've also made friends who are food lovers like me and make the learning process very easy. Many people know me more through my blog. At the same time, I write with my first name which comes with fair share of judgements, opinions and assumptions. Looking at the larger picture, I am glad to have traversed a journey for such a long period. The biggest high is when I receive emails from all over the world from people informing me that they found the content useful. Ah, the joys of writing world!A big thank you for all the love shown.

A small note from me - If you have a passion, make sure you nurture it and protect it. Stay positive and persevere. There is an ocean of like-minded people who will really know where you are coming from.

Sabudana Vada
Tapioca Pearls and mashed Potatoes patty 

Prep Time: 6-8 hours (including the soak time)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 Large 1/2" Vadas

Sabudana (Tapioca Pearls, rinsed and soaked) - 1 cup
Potatoes (boiled, mashed) - 2 cups
Peanut powder (toasted, skin removed) - 3/4 cup
Green Chillies (paste) - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves (fine chiffonade) - 3 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Lime juice - 2 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

1. Soaking - Rinse the pearls in multiple changes of water. Soak in enough water to submerge the pearls. After the time has elapsed, they will proliferate in size and you can easily squish them under the thumb and index finger. If its squishes well, its ready. Drain the water completely, ensure that Sabudana has no water content before you proceed.
2. Scrub the potatoes well. Boil in a pressure cooker. Remove soon to prevent water retention. Peel, mash to form a mushy paste. Avoid any lumps as this will cause the Vadas to break.
3. In a small frying pan, toast Peanuts lightly. Allow to cool. Gently roll them between the palm to remove the skin. Ensure all the skin is removed otherwise the bitter flavor will render itself into the Vada. In a coffee grinder, coarsely grind the peanuts to a powder. The powder should be grainy and should retain bits and pieces of peanut. This is called Daanyachey Koot.
4. In a mixing bowl, mix the soaked and drained Sabudana, mashed Potatoes. Add the green chillies paste, cumin seeds and lime juice. Add the salt and sugar. Toward the end, add chopped coriander leaves. Give a taste test - the Vadas are not salty but not sweet either. Balance the taste. Mix well to form a flat thick patty. The patty should remain firm and not break open, otherwise there is a high chance that the patties will break open in oil.
5. In a Kadhai, heat oil. Pinch a small portion of dough and drop in hot oil. In the ball rises, the oil is ready for frying. Deep fry or shallow fry depending on the size of the patty. Toggle between low-to-medium consistently while frying. Do not fry on high flame as the inner mass will remain uncooked. This process takes 5-8 minutes for each batch of 3-4 Vadas. Once crispy and golden red, transfer to a paper towel. Enjoy hot Vadas with Tomato Ketchup.

Note - The Vadas are very filling. I make a batch of large, thick vadas just the way they serve in Mumbai. The Sabudana and Potatoes should be considerably dry before mixing stage. Enjoy them while they are hot, they turn soggy fast. If making for the first time, make a small batch to start.


  1. OMG my favorite snack ever- that photo is just tantalizing! Congratulations on 6 years of delicious blogging and wishing you many more. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes with us.

    1. Gee! Thanks Nupur. Feels great to have come this far. Times just flies isn't it? Thanks for being so ever supportive and kind. :-)


I appreciate any comment and would love to hear from you. Trust you enjoy my blog.