Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ragi Vada or is it pakoda (Crunchy savories with finger millet flour)

Mystery stories have always been a fascination for me. Started with Secret Seven and Famous Five in the first decade of my life, growing up in the 70s and 80s Enid Blyton was a right of passage. Graduated to Perry Mason (Erle Stanley Gardener), Harold Robbins, Ayn Rand and John Grisham in the next decade of my life. Feeding a reading habit in those days was not cheap. I was lucky to have a great library at school during my high school days where I probably read through all of the Perry Mason books and uncles who loved pulp fiction as much as I did.

ragi flour mixed in with other ingredients

During visits to my maternal grandparents house and a search of the terrace where my uncles stashed their books introduced to me novelists like Harold Robbins and Ayn Rand. Those days with more time on my hand than I ever wanted, read anything and everything I could get my hands on. Imagine if I had spent time reading sensible books instead. Coming here the public libraries were like a fantasy land and the collection of pulp fiction available ran the gamut. I picked anything and everything that a mystery or had a lawyer as the protagonist and more novelists than I can keep track of.

dough ready for cooking

Even today a good mystery novel is what I look forward to relax. If you had a bowl of your favorite snack and a comfy chair even a cold dreary winter day can be something to look forward to. This Ragi vadai is one of those snacks which is perfect for just such a pleasurable relaxing time.

flattened like this or sprinkle

By the way "The Good Wife" the show on CBS is pretty good. It has Chicago politics and court room stuff to keep a certain somebody awake past 10:00 PM.

Ragi Vadai is a very popular Kongu snack that I have only tasted when I got here but DH and for most Kongus hailing from areas in and around Coimbatore this is a snack that they grew up with, a comfort food bringing them a piece of home every time a piece is popped into the mouth.

A mailing list I belonged to was debating over the name vadai because this snack is more like pakoda in texture. Call it vadai or pakoda this is one addictive snack. You can make it soft like vadai or more crunchy like pakoda. The choice is yours. We prefer the crunchy taste. Don't let the unattractive color fool you. This is a gluten free snack if you are interested in that sort of thing.


The expert at making this snack is a dear friend G. This has been a long pending snack to make and a few events came together to finally give it a try. DD possess one virtue which is way beyond my reach. But this virtue comes very handy when you are standing in front of hot boiling oil. It is that virtue that people call patience. DD had the day off and she was willing to help and this month also happens to be JFI - Ragi month, hosted by Madhuram of Eggless Cooking. It seemed a perfect time to give it a go. G gave precise instructions on how to go about making it. Her tips are under the notes section.

your favorite book or TV show ready? snack is!

Ragi Vadai
1. 2 Cups of Ragi flour
2. 2 tbsp roasted Channa dal (pottu kadalai)
3. 5-6 cloves of garlic chopped into small pieces
4. 1/2 - 1tbsp chili powder or chopped green chilies
5. chopped cashews (optional)
6. 1/2 tbsp curry leaf powder (use a handful of washed, dried, chopped fresh leaves)
7. 1 tbsp oil + 1/2 tbsp ghee
8. salt to taste
9. water as required
10. Oil for deep frying

1. Set a frying pan with oil to heat.
2. In a mixing bowl take ingredients 1-8, mix in the oil and ghee into the flour, add water a tbsp at a time to make a stiff dough.
3. pinch of a bit of dough and press it in the palm of the hand to flatten it to a thickness comparable to 2 potato chips stacked on top of each other and drop it in the oil or sprinkle the dough by rubbing it with your finger.
4. Cook till the bubbles stop
5. Drain on paper towels.

1. Finely chopped onions can be added but the shelf life decreases.
2. Cook the vadai a bit longer because it is brown and it is hard to decipher that it is cooked with change of color. DD pointed out that the change of color of the channa dal to brown is a good indication of right moment to take them out of the oil.
3. Greens like fresh methi chopped can be added
4. If the dough is too dry, the pakoda becomes hard crunchy.
5. If you want it softer like vadai make them slightly thicker.

Off this goes to Madhuram. Be warned this snack is very addictive, hard to control once you start eating.


  1. Ragi Vada or pakoda, looks really good for tea and as snack while watching serious soap

  2. Looks crunchy like the title,reminds me of thattai.

  3. Hi...
    Great snack...interesting and unusual.... Your ragi vada looks yummy...
    your post is great too.. esp. since i grew up on Enid Blyton too.. and read lot of perry mason and detective stuff...Guess we both have a gift of making great choices :)
    My all time fav is Agatha Christie.. No one can beat her.. would love to know any other good detective books....

  4. Lovely snack. Amma always made them with onions, never bothered about shelf life since we finished them all very soon.

  5. I finished the neighbourhood library with all its Nancy Drews and Hardy Boys by the time I was 12. So my Dad gave up and said I could read whatever I could find at home. which led me to read everything from Alistair mc Lean to Harold Robbins and Sydney Sheldon as well as Norman Vincent Peale and Richard Bach by the time I was 16-17.
    And no, I didn't think it was bad that I managed to read the "classics" ike to Kill a Mocking Bird and the like, only much later - whatever I read, I'm sure I took away something from them and it shaped me a little more!

    Better than not reading anything at all ;)

  6. I have never had this, as it is deepfried i am sure i wil like them.

  7. I will just call them Ragi Nippattus, what the heck!!!?! ;D

    Looks crunchy, never made this snack with Ragi. Very new to me, thanks Indo.

    Me grew on a diet of "Mills and Boon" in High school although I am not a romantic, then moved on to other genres like crime stories! Yeah! Brutal murders, killings etc.Can't remember the magazines but loved them all. Now, I don't like romance stuff, waste of time.
    I LOVE the series "Mad Men", story of older Hilton and how he made his fortune among other famous companies now.
    Tomorrow will be 57F and then Friday we are expecting below freezing and snow again! Crazy!!

  8. Saved it..... I had ragi flour for a very long time...& did not know what to do... So I gave it off to my mom..who would obviously prepare something out of it.... Had I knew this then, I would have tried it.... No regrets...I will buy & try this...This sure is a yum! one....


  9. Thank you very much for this crunchy ragi snack Indosungod. Ragi is quite new in my kitchen and so is this vadai.

  10. Swathi, exactly. I got into the night snacking habit because of these TV dramas.

    ruchika, thattai works.

    Rujuta, John Grisham, Dan Brown to name a few if you have not already read them.

    Cilantro, absolutely true, ours has almost disappeared in 2 days.

    Miri, we were not lucky enough to have a library in the town we lived. Most closed within 6 months of opening. Read that Eric Segal passed away last week. His book were all the rage when I was in college not to forget Seagull, Jonathan Livingston's books as well.

    Asha, M&Bs were there everywhere. I read them too :)

  11. A totally new recipe for me , thanks for sharing . I was wondering why many blogs are posting ragi recipe , now I know of JFI-ragi ! *on may way to check ongoing food events*
    nice to be on food blogging back, I missed you all .

  12. I was big on EB & Agatha Christie, the latter is still a favorite read. Didn't do much of Perry Mason or Harold Robins. But Grisham and Alistair McLean were favorites again

    I am not really a mystery series fan I would say though Grisham and Christie are among my top favorite author5s.

    Loved Eric Segal, he passed away but there wasn't anything new that he wrote lately. I went into "To Kill A Mocking Bird" or Bach only in college

  13. I am with you on reading books :) I love the color of the ragi vadai, it almost looks like thattai

  14. for a minute, i tho these were dark chocolate pieces.. i love ragi so will try these, tv or not. i am not in the loop with all these serials, though the library is a true fantasy land. i need another set of teenage years to catch up with all these books.

  15. Shaheen, that is the exact sentiment. If you love ragi, this is a must try.

  16. wow..such crunchy munchies are obviously irresistible and addictive..yum yum

  17. I am like that with books and reading too, a visit to the library is one of the most fun things to do for me :-) Loved this ragi vada/pakoda, seems like an ideal munchy :-)

  18. I am from the in and around Coimbatore area you have mentioned. Yummy and very addictive I agree. Brings back good old memories of hogging on these coming back from school really starving.

  19. This is exactly what I need right now! Ahh ... I can just imagine myself watching back-to-back episodes of Swami and plate full of these crunchy vadas/pakodas ... heaven!

    Famous Five, almost every Enid Blyton series there was, Nancy Drew, and later on Sidney Sheldon, Grisham ... so miss those days! I am so sad I don;t have time for a good fiction book currently :( This is bookmarked for when summer arrives :D

  20. Yes, public library is such a life-saver here! I am debating wether to buy a kindle or just keep renting books through library.. I have almost stopped buying paper-books anymore. I dont know what is it with mystery books but whenever I do imagine myself on a cold day wrapped in a comforter sipping coffee and reading a book, somehow its always a mystery! For me its Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes or recently no1 ladies detective agency (its a good timepass). Love reading ayn rand and perry mason too.

    okay, see, your topics are always so interesting that I already feel I have written a lot but haven't even mentioned the food yet! Ragi pakora looks delicious; its new to me to use ragi floor in such a way -- a perfect snack indeed!

  21. Thats nice...I am an ardent fan of Ayn Rand but most of my teen and early twntis I lived on Tamil novels from Thee.Jaa.Raa, La.Sa.Ra., Na. Parthasarathy, Sujatha etc. I am your kind of a person when comes to a fiction book along with some crunchies! Love these Ragi pakodas (yes I like the crunchier ones not the soft vadais). Looks like u have lots of competition to shine as a foodie as DD has that foodie eye already!

  22. Wow...that's an yummy tea time snak...healthy too...

  23. Funnily enough, we had libraries and book stores with both English and Telugu books when we were growing up. They all disappeared in the last 10-15 years and now there's not a single shop where we can buy such books. My grandad used to travel frequently and EB, Nancy Drew, a few Hardy Boys, and the entire collection of Amar Chitra Katha were mine. I had a library at home and cousins sometimes borrowed my books. I even had one rare book where the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew girls solved a mystery together - was in high school that time and can't tell you how many girls wanted to read it - I think it got misplaced eventually! Never read a M&B in my life, never finished the one I began, anyway! I also had a collector's book of Archie - right from first comic to wherever he was at that stage - that was also in great demand.

  24. Indo, my comment is too long. I'll mail you. :) Thanks a million for this post.

    gluten free - yep, I'm into that sort of stuff. :) and this recipe appeals to me very much.

  25. sra, when I was in boarding school, I clearly envied kids who had relatives living abroad, because of all the neat books they had. Some of these kids let us borrow books, others refused :( M&Bs were a big waste of time, sometimes when in a hostel you take what you get.

  26. Looks great ..Perfect for an evening snack!

  27. Kezhvaragu thattai?..
    this one has awesome shelf life and perfect with an evening cuppa tea or coffee..
    Simbly classic! :)

  28. Enid Blyton, Famous five, Perry Mason brought back so many memories. I used to be a huge fan of Perry Mason and thanks to the city central library,if I remember right I must have read 65 of his books. Each time I would hope that in the end Perry Mason would marry Della Street :-))
    Anyway, this Ragi Vada is totally new to me and reminds me of Nippattu.

  29. Ragi pakoda looks lovely .I love its color .First time to your blog.
    Do drop by
    http://padhuskitchen.blogspot.com/ when time permits

  30. I did'nt try this before wanna try it

  31. Ragi vade looks super crispy...perfect for this rainy weather.

  32. What a delicious way to use ragi - had no idea it could be made into pakodas. Anything fried goes with my hubby so I have to try this.

  33. I started off with enid blyton, hardy boys nancy drew.. but slowly moved away from mystery.. like bach (all time favorite), ayn rand, and a few..loved tolstoy too when I was in school. I like reading classics, a lot of Indian writers now.. esp. Jhumpa Lahiri. I have read To Kill a Mocking bird innumerable times and still do..Do you have an account in Good Reads?

    I have never used Ragi.. These look soo fantastic. a cuppa, a couch and a cook. Or on the other hand a party and noise & a HUGE plate full of these:-)

  34. Ragi vadai looks delicious,,,m missing my mom's cooking.


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