Sabudana Vada (Pearl Sago Fritters)

Saboodana Wada Final

Sinful, delicious and universally loved, you can never go wrong with sabudana vada (pearl sago fritters). Just remember to soak the pearl sago (sabudana) for a few hours and you have a scrumptious snack that can be prepared within minutes. These were made by my dear mom during our visit to India. Needless to say, they were yummy!

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • Sabudana (pearl sago balls) (2 cups)
  • Potatoes (medium size – 4)
  • Peanuts (1/2 cup)
  • Ginger (1 half-inch sized piece)
  • Cumin (jeera) powder (1 tsp)
  • Green chillies (1)
  • Asafetida (hing) powder (1/4 tsp)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Coriander leaves (finely chopped – 1 tbsp)
  • Lemon juice (2 tbsp)

Saboodana Wada Ingredients


  • Wash the sabudana in water. Drain out excess. Soak in water, such that water level is about a 1/4 inch above the soaked sabudana. I usually like to check the sabudana 15 minutes later. Most of the water is usually absorbed by the sabudana by this time. Using the back of a spoon, I quickly fluff the sabudana and add enough water to just cover the soaked sabudana. Keep covered overnight. You don’t have to soak overnight, even a few hours (4 hours) should be sufficient. But the longer it soaks, the better the taste and the digestibility.
  • Pressure cook the potatoes until they are completely done (not overcooked). Peel and keep aside.
  • Coarsely grind the peanuts. Keep aside.
  • Crush the ginger, chillies using a mortar and pestle.
  • Mix soaked sabudana, crumbled potatoes, ground peanuts, ginger-chilly paste, cumin powder, salt, asafetida, coriander leaves, lemon juice. Once nicely mixed, taste a little bit and adjust accordingly. Make balls and flatten them out.

Saboodana Wada Raw

  • Heat oil for deep frying in a vessel. When the oil reaches the correct heat (put a small piece of the mixture into the oil, if it floats immediately without sinking into the oil, it has reached the right temperature), carefully slide the vadas one at a time into the vessel. Fry on one side for a few minutes until golden brown and then flip to cook the other side.

Saboodana Wada Cooking

  • When fully cooked, take out the vada carefully and place it on a kitchen towel in a vessel that has holes so that any excess oil is absorbed. Enjoy your scrumptious sabudana vada!
  • Here’s a fun twist to the traditional way of preparing sabudana vada. Along with potatoes, my mom used cooked and mashed beetroots. They turned out awesome as well!

Saboodana Wada Beetroot


Tastes (Rasa):

Sweet (oil, sabudana, potatoes, peanuts), sour (lemon), salty (salt), bitter (coriander leaves, cumin, asafetida), pungent (chillies, cumin, ginger), astringent (asafetida).

Doshic Influence:

Anything deep fried in oil is kapha aggravating. Add to it a starchy, heavy, sticky grain like sabudana, oily nuts and a root vegetable like potato, you have increased the kaphaness even more! The addition of digestive and pungent spices like ginger, cumin and chillies will balance the kapha component of this dish. Being oily and pungent, this can also be a pitta aggravating food. You can mitigate this by not overdoing the chillies and ginger. Sabudana being a difficult grain to digest, this can be a vata provoking dish as well. You can mitigate this by ensuring that the sabudana is well soaked and by adding digestive spices like asafetida, ginger, cumin etc.

Effects on the Mind (Gunas):

Rajasic in general due to the presence of oil and pungent spices. If eaten in small quantities, prepared with fresh ingredients, made mild i.e. not too salty, sour or pungent, the sattva can be increased considerably. If prepared using stale ingredients, tamasic quality will dominate.

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