Today I decided to make Sabudana vadas or crunchy-fried sago and potato dumplings in my kitchen, along with a fresh green chutney. A perfect tea time snack accompanied with a steaming cuppa hot chai:-). These vadas or dumplings or mini sliders (as you like it!)are a popular vegetarian snack in many households in the state of Maharashtra, on the Western part of India. And are also traditionally eaten on certain special festival days in India, especially if one is fasting. Growing up in Mumbai, the booming and energetic metropolis capital of Maharashtra, I have eaten these crispy, melt-in-the mouth vadas ever so often. My mom has been making these vadas and I have watched her make them in our kitchen. Definitely picked up some tips and techniques which I have incorporated in this recipe.
Sago is the starchy substance extracted from the sago Palm tree stems, and then processed into small little pearls. In fact, they quite resemble tapioca pearls. In my recipe, I cook the sago pearls separately and then combine it with the potatoes. Roasted peanuts, spices, curry leaves and fresh coriander are the other elements which impart a delicious taste and texture to these delectable dumplings. And did I not mention the word ‘fried’, let me change that too ‘deep-fried’! Yup, heavenly, since me and my family, especially my liitle daughter, are fried-food fans:-)!
Any fried vada or dumpling in India has to have fresh chutney alongside, otherwise it’s incomplete. I decided to make the ever so popular, easy to make fresh coriander-mint chutney, with a touch of roasted split chickpeas which gives the chutney a deeper flavour and texture.
Servings – 12-14 vadas
Ingredients for the vadas or dumplings:
Sago pearls – 1 cup
2 large potatoes, boiled, skins removed.
Fresh chopped green coriander – 1/4 cup
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp.
Salt to taste
Chopped jalapeño or green chillies – 1 tsp.
Roasted and crushed peanuts – 1/4 cup
Curry leaves – 4-5, finely chopped
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp.
Rice flour/cornflour/arrowroot – 1 tbsp.
Canola oil, for frying plus 1 tbsp.
Rinse the pearls or sabudana thoroughly, till the water runs clear, in a bowl, with just enough water to cover its surface, say 1/2 inch. Cover and let it soak overnight, till all the water has been absorbed and the sabudana has puffed up. Drain any excess water.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan on medium high heat.
Add cumin seeds, green chillies, curry leaves and peanuts and saute for a minute. Add the sabudana and stir well. Lower heat, cover and cook for a couple of minutes. Its important that the sabudana is not soggy after soaking it in water, otherwise the pearls tend to stick to each other. This could be tricky! Add salt and remove from heat. Let cool.
Mash the potatoes in a large plate or bowl.
Add salt and lemon juice. Add the sabudana mixture. Add fresh chopped coriander leaves. Add a spoonful of rice flour or cornflour or arrowroot, thishelps bind the mixture. Mix well. Shape into small little dumplings or sliders, aka little ‘tikkis’.
Heat oil in a wok or deep fryer. Make sure the oil is very hot.
Add 2 – 3 vadas at a time in the hot oil, lower the heat and fry the vadas till light golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Serve hot with chutney.
For the chutney:
Fresh green coriander leaves – 1 cup
5-6 fresh mint leaves
Roasted split chickpeas or dalia – 2 tbsp.
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp.
Chopped jalapeno or green chillies, if one like it spicy
Salt to taste
Add all the ingredients for the chutney in a small food processor orblender. Blend well, add a little water to smoothen it out. Check for seasoning, can add more or less chillies and lemon juice, depending on one’s taste. Serve along with the hot sabudana vadas.