Crispy spiced potato and tapioca pearl (sago) fritters are a treasured snack from Maharashtra, India. The golden vadas are a popular choice for fasting (upvas/vrat) but can be enjoyed at any time. Serve alongside your favourite chutney and masala chai.
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Keyword: fasting, fritters, maharashtrian, potatoes, sago, snacks, tapioca, vada
300gmedium-sized tapioca pearls
850gpotatoesabout 4 medium-sized potatoes
2tbspdry-roasted peanutscoarsely ground
2-3hot green chilliesfinely chopped
1tspcumin seedsdry roasted in a frying pan and coarsely ground
1/2tspground black pepper
3tbspinstant mashed potato powder or 2 tbsp potato starch
1/4tspbaking powderI use a gluten free blend
Oilfor deep frying
Lemon wedgesto serve
Fried chilliesto serve (pierce the chillies all over before frying)
Wash the potatoes and prick the skins all over with a fork. Cook the potatoes either in the microwave, bake in the oven or steam until tender. Don’t boil the potatoes as this will invite water in and affect the texture of the vadas. I microwaved mine for 12 minutes on high power. Once cooked through, allow the potatoes to cool slightly and then peel off the skins. Place the still warm potatoes in a bowl and mash until smooth. Set aside.
Place the tapioca pearls in a bowl and wash briefly in cold water. Drain.
Next, add just enough boiling water to cover. Allow to soak for 10-15 minutes until the pearls still hold their shape but break if you press one between your index finger and thumb. Drain in a sieve and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Allow any excess water to drain away. Set the tapioca pearls aside.
To the potato mixture add the ground peanuts, ginger, chillies, lemon juice, salt, sugar, cumin seeds, black pepper, potato starch (or instant mashed potato), baking powder and fresh coriander. Mix until everything is well incorporated — your hands are the best tool for this.
Next, add the drained tapioca pearls and gently fold into the spiced potato mixture. Take care not to break the tapioca pearls.
Wet your hands with water and using an ice cream scoop or spoon, take some of the potato mixture into your hands. Roll into a ball and flatten slightly between your palms. Place onto a plate or baking tray. Repeat for the remainder of the mixture.
Heat enough oil for deep frying in a large pan or wok. Once the oil temperature reaches 175C/350F, the oil is ready for frying. If you don’t have a cooking thermometer, test the oil by frying a cube of bread — if it turns golden brown in 25 seconds, the oil is hot enough. These vadas need to be fried at a relatively low temperature.
Carefully slide 3-4 vadas into the oil, depending on the size of the pan. Take care not to overcrowd the oil to avoid a sudden temperature drop.
Fry the vadas, turning often for 4-5 minutes per batch, until golden brown all over.
Remove from the oil with a perforated spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
Repeat the frying process for all the vadas. Serve hot with lemon wedges, fried chillies and your favourite chutney.
To reheat Sabudana Vada, place them on to a baking tray in single layer. Bake in a preheated oven at 175C/350F for 8-10 minutes until hot and crispy.
These Sabudana Vada are suitable for freezing.
To prepare Sabudana Vada for freezing, fry the vadas according to the recipe instructions, stopping to remove them from the oil at the 2 minute mark. They will be light brown in colour but 70% cooked through. Allow to cool and then pack into a freezer-safe container, placing baking parchment between each layer if stacking the vadas inside. This will stop them from sticking together. Freeze for up to 3 months. Fry straight from frozen at 175C/350F until piping hot and golden all over, about 3-4 minutes.
If you’d like to prepare these Sabudana Vada ahead of time, store the formed patties in the fridge (covered) for up to 48 hours.