Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sabudana Vada - Love is to Eat Healthy with Pleasure

In today's recipe I will make a type of sabudana vada with some variations in the preparation and spices. The sago, sabudana or sago is one of those not so rare ingredients we've probably ever seen but have never bought. I remember that the first time I bought tapioca pearls was in a normal supermarket. They were on the same shelves as rice grits and other soup ingredients.

So I tried to do what the package suggested and add it to a soup. What was left after a while were transparent pearls and a pleasant aroma and flavor throughout the soup. So it became one of my basics in the kitchen. Some time later I found these pearls in different sizes in oriental supermarkets and stores.

I have seen small pearls, a little larger (medium) and large, which is what makes the famous Taiwanese bubble tea. And what do you do with them other than soups and tea? Well, looking for a bit you see that in the kitchens of India and other countries of Southeast Asia it has many uses. It is used in puddings, desserts, salty snacks, and taken with breads, rice.

When you buy tapioca pearls, keep them in a tightly sealed jar (and highly recommended if you live in an area with high humidity) to prevent them from absorbing water and get bad. By absorbing water they soften, and if we apply heat, much more. That is to say, if we cook them they will end up very soft and transparent.

Tapioca pearls retain their shape quite well when we leave them to soak or boil, as they do not melt immediately, but instead seem to act as a single granule that hydrates and softens with temperature and humidity. If we boil the tapioca pearls and then put them in cold water, what will happen is that they will become hard, and after a while they will undo and become very soft. It's the same thing that happens when we make a gel with tapioca flour.

The recipe is very simple although it has medium difficulty (for that of getting the correct texture). So I will explain in parts the treatment of each ingredient and the method. I have made it with fenugreek leaves, which are sold in supermarkets and shops, in boxes (it comes a lot and it is cheap). You can add fresh cilantro (this is what is usually used), fresh chopped chilis.

Sabudana vada Recipe

Difficulty: medium
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Serve: 20 sabudana vadas


1 cup sago (medium size tapioca pearls)
4 small potatoes (or a medium pair)
1 cup raw peanuts without peel (and preferably skinless)
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seed
Oil for frying

For the sabudana:

Put all the pearls in a large bowl and at least triple the water. Leave it to soak for at least 6 hours. You can leave it overnight.

Drain the sabudana very well using a colander with fine holes (so that the pearls do not leak, although they will have grown a lot). It is necessary that they are only humid, without puddle of water, so drain them well and put them in a big bowl to mix with the rest of the dough.

For the potatoes:

Wash the potatoes very well and steam them, covered, over medium-high heat. When they are tender, remove them and cool them with running water. Peel and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add them to the bowl of the sabudana and mix it very well. It is preferable to crush them before adding them because later with the balls it will be more complicated and you can have large pieces of potato.

For peanuts:

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add the peanuts. Stir frequently until golden brown and very aromatic. If they are with skin let them warm up and take handfuls, rub them between their hands and they will peel off the skins. Put the peanuts in a bowl or mortar and mash them a bit (just break them, you do not need to make pulp). Add them also to the bowl with the potato and sabudana and mix it very well.

Complete dough:

Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl (except the oil) and mix well with a fork, crushing if there are pieces of potato. You can try a little potato and if you see it very bland add a little more salt and stir it.

Your dough should be compact, not moist if not rather dry, easy to shape. If it is soft, add more potato and mix.

Formal compact balls, a little larger than a nut, with the dough, and crush them a little so that they have a disc shape. To avoid sticking to your hands, wet them with a little oil.

Heat oil in a non-stick pan to fry over medium-high heat (175 degrees is fine). The amount of oil must be enough to cover the vadas up to half. When the oil is hot (to check it you can pour a cumin seed, if it starts bubbling almost at the moment, it is ready) put in vadas. Try to leave space between them so they do not stick.

If you want, do a first round of testing with 2 or 3 vadas and thus you make sure that all goes well. It will take 2-3 minutes to brown, turn them around and cook them another 2-3 minutes. If when you try to turn them over, they melt, your dough needs more potatoes (add it and mix it well).

Check the temperature of the oil. If it is too cold it will be oily inside and if it is too hot on the outside it will be golden brown very quickly, but the dough will be undone inside.

Take them out onto a plate with absorbent paper towels when they are well browned on both sides.

Serve them as if they were snack, freshly made, tempered or cold. You can put some salsa or chutney to accompany it.


Amelia said...

Hi Kaylan, that's very interesting recipe. Learn something new from you. With the curry leaves and cumin seed I sure it's very tasty.

Have a great weekend, regards.

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Put off by this as a child and our schools quite frankly awful offerings I must confess I find myself longing to try this.

Nava Krishnan said...

I have made such a dish before but surely I learned so much after reading through and seeing your recipe. I am all in for my type of dishes. Looks like I have to try out before this is very inviting.

Unknown said...

love this one. yours look delicious.

Akila said...

Yummy dish....
Event: Dish name starts with R till April 15th and a giveaway

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Hi Kalyan, I've mentioned you on my blog today if you'd like to stop by .......

Kalyan Panja
Kalyan Panja is a photographer and a travel writer sharing stories and experiences through photographs and words