Sabudana Vada

Sabudana Vada is a very popular Maharashtrian snack that is prepared with very basic 5 ingredients. It’s crunchy on the outside while being very soft and airy inside. Also referred to as Subadana Tikki, this popular teatime snack is vegetarian and is enjoyed a lot during Navratri festival. While these fritters are most commonly enjoyed deep-fried, it is equally tasty when you bake or air fry it. There are a few tricks involved in making Sabudana Vada with a perfect texture, and I have mentioned everything in detail.

The Navratri Sabudana Vada consists of 5 basic ingredients:

Sabudana or Sago – It’s important to soak the sabudana for a few hours before you make the vada. On soaking, these will puff and rehydrate. You will know that it’s ready when you can crush the pearls by pressing between the fingers.

Potatoes – Mashed Potatoes act as the binding element in the dish, and it also adds the soft texture in the process.

Green Chili – Few finely chopped green chili not only add flavor but also the heat that we Indians love in fritters. If you don’t like the heat of green chili, you can remove the seeds and finely chop the flesh. Or, just avoid it completely.

Roasted Peanuts – Nut and Sabudana goes very well together. Coarsely crushed roasted peanuts give a lovely taste and crunch to the vada.

Fresh Cilantro Leaves – Finely chopped cilantro leaves gives a vibrant, refreshing flavor.

Sabudana Vada


  • Do not over soak the sabudana. I have seen in the past that depending on the variety, it sometimes takes 4 hours to rehydrate these pearl and sometimes, it takes overnight. You want these pearl to be soft but retain shape.
  • When you mash the boil potatoes, it is advised to use a grater. Grating the boiled potatoes gives a delicate, airy texture.
  • When you are mixing everything, do it gently without squishing the pearls into a mush.
  • When you are shaping the dumplings, and it starts to get sticky, just rub a little oil on your hand, and it will get easy.

Sabudana Vada - Air fried and Deep Fried

Here is the VIDEO 

Tips on FRYING:

Fry the vada in medium hot oil. If you drop them in hot oil, it would brown up quickly, leaving the inside raw and tasteless. Give time and fry these slowly in medium hot oil.

Do not over-crowd the pan when frying.

Have you tried AIR FRYER 

Air Fryer is my current favorite option as it happens very quickly and the texture turns out just like the deep fried. Crispy on the outside and fluffy inside.

In the above photo, one stack is deep fried and the other stack is air fried. I doubt you can make any difference. 

This is the Air Fryer I use and quite happy with it!

Tips on BAKING the Sabudana Vada:

You have to add a little bit of oil in the mixture before you make the dumpling. Then, sear it on a cast iron pan on the stove top for the golden brown crust. After that, bake it in the oven.

I have tried baking the vada in the oven without searing on the stove top, and it didn’t work great. While it gets cooked and turned out fluffy, the golden brown color was missing.

Sabudana Vada - Air Fry

Re-heating the Sabudana Vada:

Do not microwave the vada. Just layer the left over fried vada in a cookie wire rack over a cookie sheet. Bake it for 5 minutes at 375 F. It will crisp up once again. Or reheat in Air Fryer.

We both are extremely fond of this snack, and I often try to give my own little twist to it. I like to add some non-Indian spice mixes like jerk spice mix or pukka spice mix while making these fritters/vadas. Occasionally, I also like to add fresh greens, like fenugreek leaves or spinach.

Here is a recipe of Sadunana Vada with Methi that I had shared a few years back. I added fresh fenugreek leaves that gave it a beautiful flavor.

Sabudana Vada Fried and Baked

Sabudana Vada is a very popular Maharashtrian snack that is prepared with very basic 5 ingredients. It’s crunchy on the outside while being very soft and airy inside.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Snack and Fingerfood
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 12
Author: Kankana Saxena


  • 1/2 cup sabudana/sago soaked until rehydrated
  • 1 big potato boiled
  • ½ cup peanuts
  • 2 green chili very finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • oil for deep frying
  • 2 tablespoon oil if you are baking


  • In a hot pan, dry roast the peanuts for a few seconds. Then, let it cool down completely before you coarsely grind it. You could even use a knife to finely chop it.
  • Using a grater, grate the boiled potato into a mixing bowl along with the cilantro, green chili, salt and peanuts. Give it a mix.
  • Drain the soaked sabudana and add it into the mixing bowl. Mix it around gently without squishing the sabudana too much.
  • If you planning to bake the vada, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the mixture.
  • To shape the dumplings, rub a little oil in your hand. This will prevent the vada from sticking. Take about 2 tablespoons and shape it into a disc.


  • Place a skillet at medium heat and pour enough oil to deep fry the vada. Once the oil starts heating up, layer the shaped vada without over crowding the pan. After 2 minutes, gently flip the vada and continue flipping every now and then until it’s golden brown.
  • Once done, keep it in a paper towel to drain off the excess oil. Serve warm.


  • Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  • Place a cast iron pan at high heat and grease the pan with a little oil. Place the vada in one layer and let it crisp up for 2 minutes. Then, flip and repeat for 2 more minutes.
  • Place the cast iron pan into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm.


  • Preheat the air fryer to 375 F
  • Spray some oil on the sabudana and let it air fry for 12 to 15 minutes by turning once in between.
  • Enjoy warm.


Serving: 1Servings

Crispy fritters with tapioca pearls - Deep fry or Air fry

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Recipe Rating


  • marie johson
    marie johson
    October 17, 2019 at 8:42 AM

    This fritters looks so yummy. Gonna try it for sure. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • priya
    September 12, 2019 at 11:22 AM

    5 stars
    All-time favourite 🙂 I love this styling.

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      September 12, 2019 at 3:13 PM

      Thanks Priya 🙂

  • Arpita
    September 12, 2019 at 8:46 AM

    5 stars
    Crispy and delicious sabu vadas.. Oh I need to make them soon..

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      September 12, 2019 at 3:13 PM

      These are always so tempting!

  • Marissa
    September 10, 2019 at 10:13 AM

    5 stars
    Sabudana/ sago is new to me, but these look SO delicious!! Looks like I need to try something new!!

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      September 12, 2019 at 3:14 PM

      I hope you can find these and give it a try 🙂

  • angiesrecipes
    September 10, 2019 at 6:05 AM

    5 stars
    They look very crispy and yummy! Bet you can’t stop eating just one or two!

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      September 12, 2019 at 3:14 PM

      Thanks Angie 🙂

  • Vijitha
    August 9, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    5 stars
    Crispy goodness. Yes, perfect with chai.Agreed to your statement sweets.

  • Christine
    August 9, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    5 stars
    As all your recipes this must be yummy, i did not like tapioca pearls (French also called them Pearls of Japan) before coming to HK. My Mum just boiled the sago with a vegetable or beef stock when she had no time to prepare a ” more elaborate ” soup. It was tasteless and I hated it! Here I learnt how to like sweet soup made with it and find it delicious. Today I discover another way to use sago. To try!

  • mustardseed
    July 22, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    5 stars
    I love sabudana khichdi and tikkis. I make the khichdi quite often and although I love the tikkis I have never tried to make them. I remember eating them at a restaurant where they would serve it with yogurt cilantro and green chilli based sauce. These look so good! Lovely pictures too.

  • Priya Krish
    Priya Krish
    May 2, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    5 stars
    Another yummy creation by kank…. have always wanted to comment on this one, better late then never!
    Way to go with the blog and cooking!

  • sreelu
    March 19, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    5 stars
    wow these fritters look mouthwatering bookmarked and will try it this week. however will give oregano a skip not my favorite

  • yummy supper
    yummy supper
    March 17, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    5 stars
    So glad to have found your site! What an interesting recipe. Those fritters do look tasty:)

  • Kristi Rimkus
    Kristi Rimkus
    March 16, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    5 stars
    You really have a talent for presentation. Your pictures are mouthwatering. Lovely fritters!

  • Priti
    March 16, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    5 stars
    Looks delicious and liked your method …am posting the same too 🙂

  • Vimitha
    March 16, 2011 at 6:48 AM

    5 stars
    This is so very new to me and pics are so tempting and yummy

  • Preety
    March 15, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    5 stars
    this is new to me..looks great bookmarking it

  • Tiffany
    March 14, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    5 stars
    These fritters look great!

  • Our Eyes Eat First
    Our Eyes Eat First
    March 13, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    5 stars
    your pictures are sooo beautiful! and this is a wonderful recipe thanks for sharing!

  • 5 Star Foodie
    5 Star Foodie
    March 13, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    5 stars
    Very interesting fritters with tapioca, such unique addition to the texture!

  • Deeba
    March 13, 2011 at 5:32 AM

    5 stars
    I’ve got to make these one day. The last time I made them was in school in Home Sc…and that is a LONG time ago. Love how wonderful yours look. Super yum…and with Sriracha; now that’s a thought!!

  • laura
    March 12, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    5 stars
    what an interesting dish. saving to my online cookbook ( until i happen upon the ingredients. 🙂