Crispy Sabudana Vada (Spicy Tapioca Pearl Fritters)

This recipe is one of my all-time favourites, without a doubt!  A crunchy, crisp outside with a soft, moorish, spicy inside, this delicious fritter always leaves me wanting for more!  Softened tapioca pearls bound by spicy mashed potatoes and ground peanuts, this divine snack is suitable for all occasions! 

Popularly devoured during the Hindu Goddess Durga's nine-day, Navratri festival, this delectable snack can be eaten at any time of the year and makes for a fantastic starter or canap√©!  Sabudana are also known as sago pearls or tapioca pearls and come in three different sizes: small, medium and large. For this recipe, it is best to use the medium-sized tapioca pearls.

Sabudana Vada:

Here is what they look like when bought (dry):

(serves 4 generously)


0.75 cup (3/4) cup medium-sized tapioca pearls / sago / sabudana
2 medium-sized potatoes (washed, boiled, peeled and mashed / grated)
0.25 (1/4) cup peanuts (pan-roasted, peeled (skin removed) and coarsely ground)
0.25 (1/4) tsp turmeric powder
1 heaped tsp salt (add more if necessary but taste the fritter dough before you fry it to ascertain how much salt you actually need)
2 tsps ground green chillies
1.5 tsps ginger (washed, peeled and grated)
3 tbsps finely chopped coriander
1 tsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed or bottled)

Sunflower oil to deep fry


1. Wash the sabudana / tapioca pearls well in cold or room temperature water until the water turns clear (about 2 to 3 times).  

2. Soak the sabudana / tapioca pearls in a dish in 0.75 (3/4) cup of room temperature / cold water for at least 4 hours or overnight until they are easily squeezable between your fingers (you should be able to squash them completely after they have been soaked properly).

NB. The sabudana / tapioca pearls will have absorbed all the water once they are properly soaked.

3. Drain the sabudana / tapioca pearls through a colander and allow them to sit in the colander to dry out for at least 20 minutes.

4. Transfer the sabudana into a large, dry, mixing bowl, and add in all of the ingredients from the ingredients list above (in the order above) apart from the sunflower oil to deep fry.  Mix well until all the ingredients have been properly combined to form a homogenous dough.

5. Divide the mixture into the size of ping pong - table tennis balls (or slightly smaller) and flatten into 1cm-thick discs. 

6. Heat enough oil in a pan to deep fry until it is very hot. If you put a pea-size amount of the mixture into the hot oil, it should rush back to the surface - that is the way to test it. Once the oil is hot enough, turn the heat down to a medium heat and deep fry the flattened discs (vadas / fritters) until golden brown and crispy on both sides.

7. Drain on some kitchen roll / kitchen paper in a plate and serve hot with either tomato ketchup mixed with Sriracha sauce (or any hot sauce) or some coriander chutney.

There you have it; delicious, crispy Sabudana Vada/ spicy, tapioca pearl fritters!

'Til next time ... enjoy!
Bon appetit! xx


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