This is a foolproof recipe to make the bestestest sabudana vadas. See tips on how to soak sabudana properly to get the right texture! Crunchy, chewy and stuffed with paneer, these sabudana bombs make for a filling breakfast or snack and are perfect for Navratri!
Hmm.. I know that sabudana (sago) is an acquired taste. You either love it or you hate it. But crispy, golden brown and crunchy sabudana vadas are irresistible with a cup of chai. We have gone all out on this recipe. We’ve decided to take it up a notch by stuffing the sabudana vada with a delicious paneer filling! This dish is pretty heavy, so you can conveniently ditch planning several other items and stick to just this one!
I’ve been testing this recipe for months to post it just in time for Navratri and the festive season. Because if there’s one dish that always finds a place when you talk about fasting foods - its sabudana vadas.
But the thing with sabudana is that if not prepared properly, it can all go horribly wrong. I’ve had sabudana khichdi that is almost inedible - either raw sabudana pearls, or too sticky. And I’ve had sabudana vadas which have sort of burst when I try to deep fry them.
So here’s my recipe for sabudana vadas that’s absolutely foolproof. I’ve also included all my tips and tricks to make sure you get everything right, starting from how to soak sabudana (tapioca pearls) properly, to how to make the vada mixture, to stuffing them and finally how to deep fry them so that every vada is super crunchy and they don’t soak up too much oil.
How to soak Sabudana Right
I know a lot of people who soak sabudana only for an hour or so before cooking it. However, to get the perfect texture - soft enough to bite and chewy enough to enjoy - it’s always good to soak the sabudana overnight. Here are points to help you with this process:
- Wash and rinse the sabudana pearls: Use water as the soaking liquid for the sabudana. Pour it evenly on the sabudana. The ratio is always 1:1. You need only enough water to cover the sabudana properly. Too much water will result in extremely sticky sabudana.
- Leave it to soak for a minimum of 6 hours or even better, overnight, and you’ll never use any other method again.
- It’s important to put only as much water as necessary, because if there is extra liquid content which the sabudana can not soak in, the frying process becomes a mess. So stick to the ratio.
- Once soaked, squish a few sabudana pearls between two fingers. If the insides are even a little hard, that means they need to be soaked for longer. They should get mashed easily between your fingers
Sabudana pearls which are not soaked properly can burst while frying - dangerous!!
The Paneer Filling
I know what you’re thinking. Sabudana is already pretty heavy, and I’m talking about stuffing it with paneer? Before you freak out, lemme tell you. This paneer filling is really light, soft and moist. Stuffing the paneer inside the sabudana vada only packs in more flavour and texture! The soft paneer goes so well with the crunchy vada. I’m taking regular sabudana vadas up a notch with this delicious paneer filling.
If you want to go an extra mile, make soft paneer at home with this recipe - Homemade Paneer in 15 Minutes
How To Make The Sabudana Vada
Mixing the ingredients is the easy part. The tricky part begins with the stuffing of the vadas.
- Ensure that the sabudana vada mix is not too dry or too watery, it needs to be just right to coat the paneer.
- The paneer filling should be evenly and completely covered with the sabudana mixture.
- Once the vada patties are stuffed, make sure they are all even in thickness and uniform in shape so they cook evenly.
Three ways of cooking these sabudana tikki:
- You can stick to the OG method like me and deep-fry them in oil on the stove top. We’ve seen our moms and grannies make it this way, and let’s admit it - it’s friggin’ mouth watering. The temperature of the oil should be medium hot - this way the vadas won’t soak up oil, will be crispy outside and will have a nice mouthfeel.
- If you are diet conscious, you can bake these in the oven. They will need to be lightly brushed with oil or ghee 2-3 times during the baking process. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius and bake the vadas in a greased baking tray for 10 minutes. Brush some oil on them, turn them over and bake again for 10 minutes. The, turn on the grill mode and grill the vadas for 4-5 minutes to get that nice golden brown crispy outside layer.
- The newest method around the block is air-frying. It’s fast and super healthy. If you have an air fryer, just pop these vadas in them and watch as they crisp up in minutes!
Here are some other ingredients that go into making the trademark sabudana vada:
- Roasted Peanuts: Lightly roast the peanuts on medium flame till the peanuts are golden brown and crunchy. Lightly powder the peanuts or whole (as you prefer) and this can be added to the sabudana mix. Peanuts provide nutrition too, since sabudana is all starch. Crushed peanuts also provide binding for the vadas.
- Potatoes: The vada also has boiled potato. Boiled and mashed potatoes give another layer of base that can easily take on other flavours. This mash also acts as a binding agent since we are not using any cornflour in the mix.
- Green Chillies: Chillies which are cut round and added to the mix - these spice up the vadas and honestly, what good is an Indian snack without chillies hehe.
- Curry Leaves and Coriander: Finely chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves pack lots of flavour into each bite of the vada
So that’s how to spice up your festival party! Serve these sabudana tikki with Green Coriander Chutney for breakfast, or with some chai!
With all the mayhem that has taken the world by storm since the start of this year, it has been difficult to cut out the negativity. I found my solace in food. It’s relaxing and comforting. So here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy Navratri from me and mine! And here's to many more food feasts!
More Festive Snacks:
- Paneer Pakora
- Vegetable Pakora
- Onion Pakora
- Crispy Veg Nuggets
- Aloo Paneer Tikkis
- Favourite Festive Party Snacks
Watch Stuffed Sabudana Vada Bombs Recipe Video
Sabudana Vada Bombs stuffed with Paneer
- 1 cup Sabudana or Tapioca Pearls
- 1 cup Water to soak Sabudana
- 4 boiled Potatoes
- 3 Green Chillies finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Jeera Cumin seeds
- 1 cup roasted Peanuts skin removed and crushed
- 8-10 Curry leaves finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon chopped Coriander
- 1 teaspoon Jeera Powder ground Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Chilli Powder or Paprika
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 2 cups Oil for frying Ghee/ Canola/ Rice Bran/ Sunflower
For the stuffing
- 150 grams Paneer or Cottage Cheese, drained
- ½ teaspoon Jeera Powder ground Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Chilli Powder or Paprika
- 1 tablespoon chopped Coriander
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Wash the sabudana with water in a sieve. Soak the washed sabudana in 1 cup water for 6-8 hours. To check if the sabudana is soaked, press one pearl in between your fingers and it should mash easily.
- To make the sabudana mixture, mash potatoes and add green chillies, peanuts, curry leaves, coriander, jeera powder, sugar, chilli powder, lime juice, salt and soaked sabudana. Mix this well.
- Next make the filling by adding paneer, jeera powder, chilli powder, coriander and salt to another bowl. Mash and mix it well with your hands. Form the paneer mixture into small lime sized balls.
- To make the sabudana vada bombs, wet your palms with water. Take a golf ball sized sabudana mixture on your palm and flatten it. Place a ball of paneer mixture in the center and press the sabudana mixture around the sides so that it covers the ball on all sides. Take a small piece of sabudana mixture and place it on top to cover the paneer on all sides and form the sabudana vada. Repeat this till all the sabudana vadas are formed.
- Fry in medium hot oil till the vadas are golden brown on all sides. Serve immediately.
- The nutrition info is calculated for 2 vadas per serving
- These can easily be made without the stuffing. You can skip the stuffing and form these into cutlets and deep fry as instructed.
- To check if the oil is hot, just add a small portion of the mixture to the oil. Ig it floats to the top and sizzles, the oil is hot enough to deep fry. The oil must be at temperature of 170C - 180C for frying.
- To check if the sabudana is soaked, press one pearl in between your fingers and it should mash easily. It should not feel grainy or gritty.