Sabudana Vada: No-fry, Air Fryer and Deep Fried

7 Min Read

Sabudana Vada is a Maharashtrian delicacy made with sago, mashed potatoes, ground peanuts, chilies, and cumin seeds. All the ingredients are mixed together, rolled into small balls, and then fried into crispy and delish fritters. Served with a sweet, and spicy yogurt chutney these fritters are sure to tickle your taste buds.

sabudana vada served with peanut yogurt chutney

Sabudana vada is one of the traditional fasting foods in India made for festivals like ‘Hartalika’, ‘Maha Shivratri’, and ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’.

I especially cherish memories of my mom celebrating Hartalika, setting up the Puja, making the shiva-linga from the clean river sand, and then offering the green ‘Bel Patra’ leaves to God. She would recite the story of Hartalika for us so we knew the significance of this day. A special meal with special fasting dishes such as sabudana khichdi, sabudana vada, sabudana thalipeeth etc were prepared.

Every time I visit India my mom makes Sabudana vada for me and I can never stop eating them. They are super tempting and very hard to stop eating. Fasting or not, Sabudana vada makes an absolutely delicious snack, lunch, or dinner!

Over the last few years, I have been making the Sabudana vada in the paniyaram/aebleskiver pan to avoid deep frying. The result is amazing, with the same crispy from the outside and soft from the inside vada’s and without all that extra oil and the hassle of deep-frying. Recently, I also tried the air fryer sabudana vada and the taste and textures are excellent!

Step-by-step recipe to make Sabudana Vada

Step 1: Prepare the ingredients

  • Rinse sabudana and drain all the water. Add 1 cup of water and allow the sabudana to soak for 4 hours or overnight.
  • Roast peanuts and grind them coarsely. If you are using peanuts with skin, remove the skin by gently pressing peanuts on the palm of your hands, after they have cooled down. Then blow over the skin to discard it
  • Steam, peel, and mash the potato. Note: I like to use Instant Pot to steam the potatoes – Add 1 cup of water to the stainless steel insert, place the trivet, and place the medium-sized potatoes on the trivet. Pressure cook for 12 to 15 minutes depending on the size and allow natural pressure release.
  • Coarsely grind cumin seeds and green chilies. Note: You can also red chili powder instead of green chilies or a mix of both

Step 2: Dough

Mix together soaked sabudana, mashed potatoes, ground peanuts, green chili, red chili powder, ground cumin, lemon juice, salt, and sugar. Mix everything together by hand. Make lemon-sized balls, if using an air fryer, Mealthy Crisp Lid, or deep frying press the balls to form patties.

Step 3: Cook using one of the 3-ways

Method 1: Traditional deep fried

  • Heat oil for frying in a medium frying pan. Once the oil has heated well, add 2 to 3 flattened Sabudana Vadas to the oil and fry them on low-medium heat until the outside of the vadas are light golden brown and crisp
  • Note: flattened sabudana vadas work best for deep frying giving the perfect crispy texture. Be careful and keep a safe distance from the pan as sometimes the individual sabudana pearls may burst in the oil splattering oil out of the frying pan

Method 2: Using the Paniyaram Pan

  • Heat the paniyaram/aebleskiver pan on medium low heat. Add a few drops of ghee or oil in each round section. Place the sabudana vada balls in each section and cook covered for 4-5 mins. Depending on the thickness of the pan, it could take more or less time
  • Gently flip the fritters using a chopstick or a small spoon to cook the top side. Add a few more drops of ghee on top of each fritter. The ones in the center definitely cook much faster, so they will have to be flipped first. Cover and cook again for another 4-5 mins on medium-low heat until they are golden brown and crisp.

Take the first batch out and repeat for the remaining vadas.

Method 3: Using Airfryer

  • I prefer using the Mealthy CrispLid for this method. Coat CrispLid basket with 1 teaspoon cooking oil. Place basket over the tall trivet inside the Multipot or Instant Pot.
  • Place 6 to 7 vadas at a time in the basket with some space between each. Close the CrispLid and press the handle back and down. Set the temperature to 500 degrees and adjust the cooking time to 8 mins. After the 8 min cooking cycle completes, gently turn the vadas in the basket using a pair of tongs. Close the CrispLid and adjust the cook time to 7 mins. You may brush more oil on the vadas after turning them over.
  • Take the vadas out after the cooking cycle completes.

Pro Tip: You can line up to 8 vadas in the deep fringe basket of the Crsiplid

You can also cook the Sabudana vada using the traditional air fryer by cooking at 390 F for 11 to 12 minutes on each side.

Step 4: Chutney

Whisking together yogurt, ground peanuts, red chili powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.

Serve hot sabudana vadas with peanut chutney. Make the delicious sweet potato halwa and enjoy a complete fasting meal.

Here are some delicious homemade drinks to pair up with sabudana vada:

Ginger ChaiMango LassiFresh Watermelon JuiceHomemade Pomegranate JuiceFresh Ginger Lemonade

Did you enjoy this fun Indian snack? Here are some more of my favorite Indian vegetarian light meal recipes:

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