Sabudana chi Vada are delicious fried tapioca fritters. Sabudana, also known as tapioca pearl, is very common in most Asian cuisines. They are very small white opaque balls resembling pearls (hence the name). When cooked they turn translucent with a soft and slightly chewy texture. Sabudana chi Vada are a Maharashtrian specialty and make the perfect appetizer or tea time snack. They are great for entertaining and can be done well in advance. Sabudana (or tapioca pearls) come in various sizes, but for this specific recipe the smaller sizes work well. Tapioca pearls are easily available in most large supermarkets (in the Asian section) and most definitely in any Asian or Indian grocery store.
SABUDANA CHI VADA (Savory Tapioca Fritters)
1 cup tapioca pearls (sabudana, small size)
2 medium potatoes
1" piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
3-4 small green Thai chillies, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
½ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup of roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely ground
salt, to taste
oil for deep frying (vegetable or peanut), as needed
In a large bowl, add 1 cup of water to the tapioca pearls and gently mix. Cover with a large plate and check after 3 hours. The tapioca should be softened but not mushy. If they are still hard, add another ½ cup to 1 cup of water and repeat. Check periodically, each pearl should be soft to the touch then it is ready to use.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, boil the potatoes until fork tender. When slightly cooled, peel and cut into large pieces. Mash the potato pieces and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Then add the tapioca, ginger, green chillies, cumin seeds, cilantro leaves, ground peanuts & salt. Mix thoroughly to combine all the ingredients into a "dough".
With lightly oiled hands, form round golf ball sized balls and then flatten the balls into small flat patties. In a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add enough oil for shallow frying. When hot, carefully add the sabudana vadas and fry on medium low until golden brown & crispy on all sides. Remove and drain well on paper towels. Serve hot with your favorite chutneys and sauces.