Sabudana Vada from Maharashtra
Maharashtra is one of the western states of India with a long coastal line. The state borders Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa and the Arabian Sea. All these bordering states influence the cuisine of the state. Bombay/Mumbai is the capital city of the state, largest city in the country and also the financial capital of India. Headquarters of most of the corporation and financial institutions, Indian stock exchange and commodities exchanges are in Mumbai. Mumbai is also home to Indian film industry, Bollywood. Pune, Nagpur and Nashik are the other big cities in the state. Ajanta and Ellora caves near Aurangabad as well as Elephanta Caves near Mumbai are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and famous tourist attractions. State language is Marathi.
I visited Mumbai thrice; the first was a long time ago on a school trip to Mumbai and Goa, the second time was 13 years ago when I visited my cousin on my way back to US and the third was when my father was getting treated in one of the hospitals in Mumbai. The first trip was sightseeing and the second was more of shopping. During all these trips, I never got to explore the food, specially the chowpatty that Mumbai is so famous for.
The cuisine of Maharashtra or Marathi cuisine has a range of dishes varying from mild to spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajra, vegetables, lentils and fruits are common in Marathi diet. The masalas (mixture of spices) used extensively in this cuisine is the goda masala or kala masala. Typical Maharashtrian thali consists of a chutney, koshimbir, bhaaji, rassa, amti, rice and poli (roti).
Bhaaji is a vegetable side dish made with a vegetable or combination of vegetables using goda masala and is a dry curry. Rassa is stew like in consistency and is a gravy curry. Varan is plain dal and amti is dal flavored with goda masala or amti masala, tamarind and jaggery. Koshimbir is a salad. . This cuisine also has non-veg dishes prepared with chicken, mutton and seafood. Some of the popular food from the state are puran poli, ukdiche modak, masala bhat, wada pav, batata wada, pav bhaji, missal pav, thalipeeth, sadudana khichdi, sabudana vada, shikhand, basundi and the list goes on and on. This article explains the cuisine, which I found on Nupur’s blog.
The first dish I noted down to cook for this state is sabudana khichdi that I made while back when Padma posted it. Back then it was a new dish for me and we liked. Since I already tried this recipe, I thought may be I should try something new. I made a quick and easy shrikhand. It is a sweetened and flavored thick yogurt. I made it with Greek yogurt and I felt adding fruits to it would have tasted even better. Husband though it was average. I did not take any pictures and after his feedback, I did not bother and ate the leftover for breakfast with some fruits. It is an Indian version of parfait. That night husband asked if there was any dessert, yesterday’s leftover sweet yogurt? Then I thought to myself, if he asked for it the next day, it is worth putting up on the blog. May be next time. Then I made basundi and put my slow cooker to use. The milk simmered from morning to evening and after almost 10 hours, it was ready just before dinner. We liked it and thought of taking picture the next day. The next day I got lazy and did not take pictures and licked the basundi bowls clean! Hey, don’t give me that look! I have a sweet tooth! Since this preparation did not require much of my attention, I thought I can always make it, again. And this was the first preparation in the slow cooker that we really liked!
I continued to look for other recipes and then sabudana vada caught my attention. The ingredients that go into this preparation are similar to sabudana khichdi and thought of giving it try. I read a lot about how the quality of the sabudana is the key to this preparation and kept my fingers crossed. Also, it should be soaked in right amount of water for the right amount of time. It was my lucky day and it turned out perfect. That day I had planned noodles for dinner and thought of preparing it only after U got home. By the time he got home, I was still in middle of my photo shoot and since it was going to take some time, I offered him the vada. He refused and said he would wait for noodles, no matter how long it took for to wrap up my photo shoot. I left the plate in front of him and got back to my clicking. Few minutes later form the living room,
He: this is good! What is it?
I did not reply.
He: what filling is it?
I: there is no filling in it.
He: whatever it is, it is pretty good. I like it.
I was doing a happy dance in the other room.
The vada were crisp on the outside and soft in the inside and were just perfect. I never tasted these vada before and do not know how it is supposed to be. We loved how it turned out.
Soaking Time: 6 – 8 hours to soak sabudana
Preparation: 15 minutes (excludes time to boil potatoes )
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 25 – 30 depending on the size
- 1 cup Sabudana ~ Sago ~ Tapioca
- 400 grams Potatoes boiled and mashed or 2 cups Mashed Potatoes
- ½ cup Cilantro ~ Coriander Leaves chopped
- ½ cup Roasted Peanuts Powdered
- 5 – 7 Green Chilies chopped or 1 – 1 ½ tbsp. chopped green chilies (I used 7, adjust to tolerance level)
- 1 tbsp. Lime Juice
- 1 ½ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp. Cumin Seeds
- Oil for deep frying
- Lightly wash sabudana and soak it in ½ – 1 cup of water. Don’t add too much water, just enough to soak the sabudana. I soaked it with ½ a cup of water and 4 hour hours later, water was absorbed. I think it was ready to use to but I wasn’t. I was tied up with some other work. So I added additional ½ cup of water soaked it for another 2 hours. Before preparing the vada, drain the water and put the sabudana in a strainer or a colander until ready to use. I drained the water and went ahead with the rest of prep.
- Wash and boil the potatoes. If the potatoes are big, cut them into 2-4 pieces depending on the size, to speed up the cooking process. Once the potatoes are cooked, cool, peel and mash the potatoes. This will take about 20 – 25 minutes.
- Dry roast peanuts, cool and remove the skin of the peanuts by rubbing between your palms or rub them in the plate with your hand. Powder the peanuts. Mine was not fine powder but not very coarse either. I also had a few broken peanuts, which can be seen in the pictures. I would recommend powder but did not mind chewing on the broken nuts either.
- Chop cilantro and green chilies.
- Mix together all the ingredients, including the sabudana. Do not mix or knead too much as we do not want mushy sabudana and the vada mixture should not be too sticky.
- Shape the mixture into balls and press each ball slightly between the palms to make patties.
- Heat oil in a pan for deep frying the vada. I initially started off with about 1 – 1 ½” level of oil. My vada were barely submerge in oil and were not evenly frying on all sides, specially the middle of the outer surfaces. I added more oil and vada were evenly fried on all sides. The key here is to keep the oil hot. I cooked it on medium to medium high heat turning around couple of times.
- Remove the vada from oil, drain on paper towels.
- Serve them with coriander chutney or coconut coriander chutney or any chutney of your choice.
- The key perfect sabudana vada is the quality of the sabudana and how long it is soaked. Chef in You has good tips/notes on this.
Tomorrow we will be traveling from the wast coast, all the way across the country to the northeast, for the next 4 days.