Sabudana Vada Recipe
May 24, 2023
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Sabudana Vada is a popular Indian tea time snack made with sabudana (sago), potatoes and peanuts. They are crunchy and crispy and are best enjoyed with a side of cilantro chutney and chai. The vadas are traditionally deep fried but you can also air fry them for a healthier option. These are also popular during fasting and Navratri and are also vegan and gluten free.
In India whenever we would invite someone over for chai, mom would always make something fried and crispy. This was mandatory, either there were onion pakoras, samosa or vadas. We Indians do love our fried stuff and chai time back home was often incomplete without them.
While the pakoras and samosa were made often, the sabudana vada was especially made during the fasting time of Navratri. My dad kept fast for all 9 days (and he still does to this date!) and during that time a lot of fasting special dishes were made like sabudana khichdi, kuttu poori and these crispy sabudana vada.
These crunchy vadas are made with sabudana (sago), potatoes and peanuts. They are very lightly seasoned but taste amazing.
Table of contents
Sabudana (sago/tapioca pearls): you can find sabudana at any regular Indian grocery store or you can also find it online on amazon.
Potatoes: for binding the vadas, we use potatoes in this recipe. The potatoes are boiled, then mashed and then used in the recipe.
Peanuts: these make the vadas crispy and crunchy and are an absolute must. You can use store bought roasted peanuts or roast raw peanuts at home, remove the skin and then use in the recipe. I like crushing the peanuts in a mortar and pestle for texture.
Seasonings: the sabudana vadas are lightly seasoned with cilantro, lemon juice and green chilies. If you like you can add ginger, or other spice to it as well.
How To Make Sabudana Vada – Step by Step Instructions
1- Rinse 1/2 cup sabudana until the water turns clear. Then soak it in 1/2 cup water overnight (or 4 to 6 hours depending on the quality of sabudana).
2- In the morning, the sabudana would have absorbed all the water. It should be soft, press with a finger to check, it should crush easily.
3- Drain sabudana in a colander, most likely there will be no water but you still drain it.
4- Then transfer the saubdana to a large bowl along with the following:
- 2 medium potatoes, boiled & mashed (1 cup mashed potatoes)
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 to 2 green chilies, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
5- Mix everything together using a spatula or your hands.
6- Divide the mixture into 10 equal parts, flatten them a bit and make them into round shapes. You will get 9 to 10 vadas, around 50 grams each, 2 inches in diameter.
7- Heat oil on medium heat in a kadai or wok. Add vadas to the oil one by one, don’t overcrowd the kadai. Maintain the oil temperature to medium heat.
8- Fry vadas on medium heat until golden brown and crispy from both sides. Drain on a paper towel.
Tips To Make The Perfect Sabudana Vada
Just like sabudana khichdi, these vadas are easy to make but there are few things which you should keep in mind while making them.
- Soak the sabudana well in advance. I prefer overnight but 4 to 6 hours will also do. It also depends on the quality of sabudana, some take more time than the other varieties to get soft. But soaking is important and should not be skipped.
- Use 1:1 sabudana to water ratio to soak the sabudana, just like we do in the sabudana khichdi.
- Once the sabudana is soaked, make sure it’s perfectly softened. Place sabudana between your thumb and index finger, you should be able to crush it easily. That’s perfect and that’s what you want.
- Use a mortar and pestle to crush the roasted peanuts. I usually first roast the peanuts in a pan on low-medium heat, then remove the skin and then crush in a mortar pestle. You want those chunks of peanuts in there, that’s what gives the vadas a nice texture and crunch (and of course taste!).
- Fry the vadas on medium heat. If you fry them on high heat, they will get brown from outside quickly but will remain uncooked from inside. Also if the oil is cold, they will absorb a lot of oil and become very oily. So, make sure to keep the temperature of the oil to medium.
- Don’t overcrowd the vadas in the kadai/wok while frying them. Give them enough space to fry well from all sides.
Air Fryer Sabudana Vada
If you want to air fry the sabudana vadas, you can follow the same recipe but make the vadas thinner than what they would be if you deep fried them. Just press them between your palms to make them thin so that they cook evenly.
Preheat your air fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions and then air fry at 380 F degrees for 15 minutes. Every air fryer is different so keep an eye after 13 minutes.
To prepare in advance, you can soak the sabudana, then drain it and keep the soaked sabudana in the refrigerator for 2 days. This will come in handy when you want to make the vada or sabudana khichdi quickly. You can even make the sabudana vada mixture in advance and keep it in the fridge. It will be okay for a day or two.
To reheat fried vadas, an air fryer is your best bet. I reheat mine at 300 F degrees in the air fryer for 10 minutes and they become crispy again.
- Don’t overcook the potatoes. If you overcook the potatoes, the vadas might not turn out crunchy and will also absorb more oil. They may also break while frying.
- To make these vadas for Navratri or fasting, follow the same recipe except use sendha namak (rock salt) in place of regular salt.
- You can make these vadas spicier by adding more green chilies to them. You can also add chopped ginger if you like.
Frequently Asked Questions
This happens when there is not enough binding in the vadas or there’s too much moisture in the vadas. If your vadas are breaking you need to add more binding agent to them in the form of potatoes or flour, cornstarch etc.
Add more mashed potatoes, that should do the trick. You can also add kuttu atta (buckwheat flour) if you are making these for fasting or even regular flour or cornstarch to bind them.
This can be due to 2 reasons. First, make sure to not overcook the potatoes. Overcooked soggy potatoes will have more moisture and also absorb more oil. And second, make sure the oil temperature isn’t low. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the vadas will turn out oily.
Yes, you may. Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees. Brush the vadas with oil and bake at 375 F for 30 to 35 minutes. Flip them once at the halfway mark.
This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in March 2019.
- 1/2 cup sabudana rinsed and soaked in 1/2 cup water overnight
- 2 medium potatoes boiled & mashed, 1 cup boiled & mashed potatoes
- 1/4 cup peanuts roasted, skin remove and then crushed
- 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
- 1-2 green chilies chopped, adjust to taste
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt adjust to taste, use sendha namak if making these for fast
- oil to fry the vadas, I used canola oil
- Rinse the sabudana under running water until water turns clear. Then soak it in 1/2 cup of water for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. Then drain using a colander (there won't be any water since sabudana will absorb all of it but still drain it). When done, sabudana will be soft and break easily when pressed between fingers.
- Transfer the soaked saubdana to a large bowl and add the boiled and mashed potatoes, roasted peanuts, chopped cilantro, chopped green chilies, lemon juice and salt.
- Mix everything together using a spatula or your hands. Then divide the mixture into 9 to 10 equal parts. Shape each part into a round shape and then flatten between your palms to shape into vadas. I got 9 vadas out of this mixture, each weighing approximate 50 grams and 2 inches in diameter.
- Heat oil in a kadai or wok on medium heat. Add vadas carefully into the hot oil. Make sure oil isn't very hot or very cold, it should be medium heat.
- Fry the vadas on medium heat until golden brown and crispy from both sides. Drain on paper towel. Serve hot with chutney or ketchup.
Air Fryer Instructions
- To air fry, preheat your air fryer according to manufacturer's instructions. Shape the vadas thinner than what you would if you were air frying them. Spray with a cooking oil and then air fry at 380 F degrees for 15 minutes. The timing may vary depending on thickness of vada and the air fryer you are using.
- In case, your vadas are breaking in the oil, you may add some kuttu flour (buckwheat flour) or regular flour or cornstarch to bind them. I did not add any, the potatoes were perfect enough for binding.
- You can add more spices to these vadas if you are not making them for fasting.
- Sweet potatoes can also be used in this recipe in place of potatoes.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.