Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sabudana Vada - a completely sold out affair at Navaratri Bommala koluvu

Happy Navaratri to all my celebrating readers. May this festival season bring you lots of joy and contentment.
Navaratri started last week and since there was only one weekend I could get before Vijaya Dashami, we went ahead, set up our bommala koluvu and invited friends over last Saturday. As always, it was lot of fun, music and food. Over the last 3 years since we have been here, I have made a lot of young friends through my Balavihar classes and they have become family. Some kids move onto the other classes but they come and visit our Navaratri koluvu and they all have come to realize that there is no escape from singing at my place :-). New kids start off a little shy and try to squirm out by making excuses but they give up as they see others singing. After all, Navaratri has to be celebrated the right way with joy, music and dance, don't you all agree?
Now, Navaratri though is celebrated all over India, the practices are different as you move from place to place. In some states, Navaratri is celebrated with a lot of Vrat (festival) related restrictions on food. People do not eat onions, garlic among many other things. While these festival celebrations may seem restrictive to many, this is how nammamma made food most days of the year even when it was not a festival day. I on the other hand am a total onion fan, I like them in all forms, so it takes me a little rethinking during festivals. It is always a success when a visiting parent or an elderly person asks about onion in the menu and I can confidently say that all dishes on the table fit the 'no onion' criteria:-)

In an effort to make a 'no rice' dish, I made my millet pongal which was a hit but these sabudana vadas took home all the glory and crown. Sabudana vadas are considered vrat dishes in Maharashtra and Gujarat though I am not an expert on the subject. Everybody seemed to like it going by the empty bowl we had at the end of dinner. Since Saturday, I have had atleast 4 requests for the recipe, so here it is.
These vadas are known for retaining more oil than the regular vadas, adding the flour helps reduce this a little bit and make sure you put the fried vadas on to a plate lined with paper towels for the extra oil to drain out. I made them again today as a few of the friends came by this evening. As I was planning the menu, DD said that I needed to make these vadas again and her excuse was, "amma if you don't make them, the people that come today will miss the most delicious snack in this whole wide world" :-). After such blatant flattery, I can't say 'no', so ended up making another batch of sabudana vadas. I tried shallow frying a batch of them, turned out very tasty though the texture is very different from the deep fried stuff. Look at the end of the post for 'how to'.

These taste yummy either hot or cold, the crunchiness of the outer layer stays put because of the sabudana even after they become cold making it a perfect snack for parties.
Here are some previous Navaratri posts and posts if you are in a mood to read - a must have Usili/sundal and a no recipe read about Mysore Dasara.

What do you need to make Sabudana Vada? 
3/4 cup sabudana (will become 1 cup once it soaks)
2-3 medium sized potatoes (see 'how to' below for details)
1-1.5 Tbsp rajgira or Bajra flour
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
3-4 green chilies
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp coarsely crushed peanuts (increase if you like more crunch)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp lemon/lime juice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh coconut (Mysore Twisht :-), optional)
oil to deep fry
How do you make Sabudana Vada? 
  • Wash Sabudana in running water twice and soak it in water for 6-8 hours or overnight until they plump up and become soft to touch. 
  • Drain the water through a colander and let the sabudana stand for 30 minutes or so until all the water is gone. 
  • Boil potatoes until soft, peel and grate them - you can mash them but it is better to grate as it gives a smoother texture. 
  • Toast peanuts on stove top or microwave, let cool a little, pound them in a mortar & pestle or blender to coarse powder. You want small bites of peanuts, make sure you do not make them too small or powdery. 
  • Crush the green chilies into a paste. 
  • In a wide bowl, mix all ingredients except for oil until they come together. Depending on the water content, you might need a little bit more or less flour. Do not add too much flour as it changes the taste. 
  • Taste and adjust salt, green chilies as needed. 
  • Heat oil in a deep pan until a small piece of dough dropped in comes up immediately. 
  • In the meantime, break lime sized dough, make a ball and flatten into a patty. 
  • Drop the prepared patties in to the hot oil and let them cook for minute before flipping them over. 
  • Fry until both sides turn light golden in color. 
  • Take them out onto a plate lined with paper towels, enjoy with a chutney or sauce. 
  • Potatoes when grated should make 2 cups, choose the number based on the size of potatoes. Too much of potatoes make them oily & soggy. 
  • Remove outer skin of peanuts before pounding them into bits. I like the mortar & pestle since the skin tends to come out easily which you can separate and continue to pound. Else, put the toasted nuts in a ziplock bag and give it a couple brisk rubs for the skin to fall out. 
  • If you can't find Rajgira or Bajra flour, go ahead and add rice flour. The idea is to absorb the moisture in the dough as much as possible. 
  • Ginger plays the key role in enhancing the taste & flavor of this vada, do not skimp on it. 
  • More cilantro makes the vadas happy :-)
  • As both potatoes & sabudana are bland in taste, green chilies are your only ingredient of spice, adjust according to taste. 
Low Calorie alternate: 
  • If you are on a diet or wanting to avoid deep fried stuff, go ahead and shallow fry the patties on a tava. 
  • Use a cast iron pan preferably and add a generous spoon of oil to the bottom before placing the patties. 
  • Let the patties turn golden brown on both sides, cooking it on medium high. 
  • These will not be crunchy like the deep fried ones but you can sleep peacefully (eating a couple more) knowing that the chances of all that fat settling down in the middle of the body is addressed :-)


kitchen queen said...

delicious vada and beautiful gollu.

NamsVeni Pothas said...

wonderful koluvu photos and sabudana vadas.
happy Navarathri to all Sattvaa readers

Kannada Cuisine said...

Loved your Bombe goodu... Happy Navratri to your family.

Priya Suresh said...

Thats a neat and cute golu.. Sabudana vadas looks simply awesome and super crispy, can munch some rite now.

ani said...

Hey, many of these dishes havent been enjoyed by us at Mysore or Bangalore.But the ease and expertise with which u post the receipes is amazing. so also is ur write ups and the stories woven around the dishes. i didnt know u were so observant Khudos for the blog!!!!

Shruthi said...

Easy way of shallow frying is to use the paddu (paniyaram or appe) pan.