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Tapioca potato bites

These crispy fritters (known as sabudana vada in Hindi) are a perfect snack for tea time. Preeti Maheshwari first tried them at a friend’s wedding in Mumbai, India. She loved them so much that she learned how to make them, much to her family’s delight. It’s hard to stop at one, or two . . . or three.


½ cup tapioca (also known as sago pearls or sabudana)

2 medium potatoes, boiled

¼ cup peanuts

2-3 tablespoons chopped coriander

1-2 green chillies, chopped (optional)

1 tbsp grated ginger

½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)

1 tbsp of lemon juice

1 tsp black pepper (adjust to taste)

Oil to fry


Rinse the tapioca pearls well until water turns clear. Soak it in ½ cup water overnight. In the morning, the tapioca pearls would have absorbed all water. They should be soft. Press with your finger to check, they should crush easily. Drain the tapioca in a strainer, most likely there will be no water but still drain it so that if there's any excess water, it will be removed.

Then transfer the soaked pearls into a large bowl. Mash the boiled potatoes and add to the tapioca.

Roast the peanuts, remove the skin and coarsely crush it. Then add it to the potato-tapioca mixture.

Add coriander, green chillies (optional) and ginger. Add lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Mix everything together.

Divide the mixture into equal parts, flatten them a bit and make them round shaped. Or else you can make round balls and stuff with cheese, cottage cheese or fresh grated coconut.

Heat oil on medium heat in a wok. Add the patties/balls to the oil one by one, don't overcrowd the wok. Maintain the oil temperature at a medium heat.

Fry them on medium heat until golden brown and crispy from both sides. Drain on a paper towel.

Serve the crispy patties with coriander chutney, ketchup or anything that you like.

Tips to make perfect tapioca patties/balls

• Use a shallow bowl to soak tapioca overnight. The water should be an inch above the tapioca pearls.

• There should be no moisture left in tapioca or potatoes. Leave tapioca pearls in a strainer for longer if you feel there is moisture.

• Cut in half the boiled potatoes and place it on paper towel to remove all moisture. If you feel there is moisture in the potatoes, put them in fridge for some time.

• Oil your hands to make smooth patties/balls, there should be no cracks.

• If the patties/balls separate, you can add some cornflour to the mixture.

• Do not put too many tapioca patties/balls in the wok at a time. If they stick, don't try to separate them in the wok.

• Do not constantly turn the tapioca patties/balls or else they might start separating. Turn only once when one side turns golden. (If needed turn again)

• Let the oil reheat before each batch.

Picture by Preeti Maheshwari
Picture supplied