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These tapioca pearl and potato fritters are one of our favourite Indian snacks. It's been raining quite a lot here in Berlin, and in India, rainy weather calls for fried snacks such as pakoras, samosas or our favourite - sabudana vadas.
In Hindi, 'sabudana' referrs to tapioca pearls. These pearls are mixed with mashed potatoes and some spices and aromatics to create a harmony of flavours and textures that come together in a wonderful wholesome snack that's fit to please a crowd.
With this video and recipe, we show you how you can easily make these fritters at home and stick around till the end because we also show you how to make our favourite 4 ingredient peanut and coriander chutney that pairs perfectly with these vadas.
- 1 cup medium tapioca pearls
- 2 large potatoes boiled (380g)
- salt 1 tsp
- 1/2 cup or 70g roasted peanuts
- 10 sprigs coriander
- 1 small red onion
- 1/2 tsp jeera
- black pepper
- Rinse the tapioca pearls to remove excess starch and soak them in a bowl of water for 2 hours or until they are soft and easy to mash between your fingers and no longer have a hard core. Make sure not use too much water, the water should be 2-3 cms above the surface of the pearls.
- While the tapioca pearls are soaking, boil or steam the potatoes in their skins until they are firm but completely cooked through. Then let them cool down completely.
- Toast the peanuts in a heavy bottom skillet or pan stirring constantly till they are light brown and crunchy. Then spread them flat out on a plate to cool down completely.. When the peanuts have cooled down, rub off and blow away their skins. You can skip this step if you’re using pre-roasted skinless peanuts.. Then crush them slightly in a mortar and pestle till they resemble coarse gravel. They should still be quite chunky.
- Coarsely grind the cumin black pepper seeds and black peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and set aside.
- Once the tapioca is soaked and fluffy, drain the pearls in a sieve until all the excess moisture had dripped off. It’s important that the tapioca is entirely moisture-free because if the mixture is too wet, the fritters will break when frying. While the tapioca pearls are draining, prepare the aromatics.
- Peel and finely dice the red onion. De-seed and finely chop the green chillies and finely chop a small bunch of fresh coriander (including the stems). Grate or mince an inch long piece of ginger.
- Peel and grate the cooled down and boiled potatoes into a large bowl with the largest holes of your box grater. Grating the potatoes keeps them fluffy and prevents the starch from getting overworked and sticky. If you don’t have a grater, you can by all means also mash the potatoes.
- To the bowl of grated potatoes, add the chopped aromatics followed by the peanuts, the ground spices, salt and the soaked and drained tapioca pearls.
- Light handedly, mix together all of the ingredients so that the spices and aromatics are well distributed among the potato and tapioca mixture. Be sure not to break apart the tapioca pearls when doing this.
- With clean moistened hands take a scoop of mixture between your hands and firmly press it together to form a patty. Press down the edges to make sure everything comes together. Moistening your hands in between makes it easier to form the patties and prevents them from sticking to your palms. This recipe should make around 12-14 medium-sized patties.
- Now the fritters are ready to fry. Heat up a heavy bottom skillet or kadhai on medium heat and fill it up to 4-5 cms high with neutral oil for frying. Carefully place the patties in the hot oil (around 150-160°C) making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
- Only flip the patties once they have turned golden brown on one side. Flip and fry till they are crispy and golden brown all around. Take them out on a plate lined with a kitchen towel or napkin.
- Serve warm with coriander and peanut chutney. Enjoy!