Makar Sankranti Recipe: Rashmi’s Sambhar Wadi

Do not confuse Sambhar Wadi with Kothimbir Wadi.

The former is a specialty specific to the eastern part of Maharashtra — the Vidarbha region. Both dishes feature coriander and besan, but in varied proportions.

Rashmi Nagare uses maida instead of besan in her Sambhar Wadis.

“As a kid, I’d eagerly wait for Diwali to visit my grandma in Nagpur. My mom and grandma would make all kinds of sweet and savoury faral or snacks for the festival.”

And in winter her grandmother would make Sambhar Wadi thanks to the abundance of coriander during the season.

“I miss how the house would fill up with the fragrance of fresh coriander and roasted groundnuts,” she says.

In Vidarbha, coriander or cilantro is also referred to as sambhar. That’s where the dish gets its name from.

Rashmi, an electronics engineer, spends her weekends in the kitchen, trying new dishes and baking delectable goodies. Her love for cooking comes from both her grandma and her mother, both excellent home cooks.

Sambhar Wadi, without the garlic, is a great snack to make for Makar Sankranti

Sambhar Wadi

Serves: 4-5

Ingredients

  • ½ cup grated dry coconut
  • ½ cup peanuts, skin on
  • Small bunch of fresh green dhania or coriander or cilantro
  • ¼ cup til or sesame seeds 
  • 1 tsp rai or mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp jeera or cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium green chillies, the spicy variety, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 tsp khus khus or poppy seeds
  • 3 tsp red chilly powder
  • ½ tsp haldi or turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste, about 1 ½ tsp
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oil + extra to fry the wadis

For the covering

  • 2 cups maida or all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp crushed ajwainor carom seeds
  • 2 tsp hot oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Water

Method

  • Wash the coriander thoroughly.
    Pat dry completely with a cotton kitchen towel.
    Wet or moist coriander leaves will make the stuffing soggy.
    Remove the stems, chop the leaves finely and keep aside.
  • In a heavy-bottomed frying pan, roast the dry coconut.
    Take off heat.
  • In the same pan roast the groundnuts.
    Take off heat and let it cool.
    Grind to a coarse powder.
    Keep aside.
  • In the same pan roast the sesame seeds lightly. 
    Take off heat, cool and grind it in a mixer into a fine powder.
    Keep aside.

For the stuffing

  • Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed kadhai over low heat.
    Add the mustard and the cumin seeds.
    Add the finely chopped onion and cook until translucent.
    Add the chopped green chillies.
    Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook till the raw aroma disappears.
    Add the poppy seeds and stir fry for a few seconds. 
    Add chilly powder, haldi, garam masala, salt and sugar. Mix well.
    Add the chopped coriander and cook for 2 minutes.
    Add the roasted coconut, groundnut powder and the sesame powder.
    Let it cook for 2 minutes.
    Do not overcook.
    Take off heat and keep aside.

For the covering

  • In a bowl combine the maida with the hot oil.
    Add the salt and crushed ajwain.
    Take off heat and while the mixture is still warm, use your fingers to mix well.
    Add water, little by little, and knead to form a firm but pliable dough.
    Cover the dough and keep aside to rest for 30 minutes.

To make the wadis

  • Divide the dough into equal, small balls, preferably each the size of a gulab jamun.
    Use a rolling pin to roll out the balls into circles of 10 cm diameter each.
    Avoid using additional flour while rolling.
    Place 1 tbsp of the filling in the centre.
    Dip your fingers into a bowl of water and run it around the edges of the circle to moisten it.
    Seal the dough by placing one end of the circle over the filling and then covering it with the other end (please see the pic above).
    Fold the open ends to to seal it so the filling doesn’t come out when the wadis are fried.
  • Repeat the process with all the wadis.
  • Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed kadhai or frying pan over medium heat.
    Gently slide a few wadis at a time into the oil and deep fry each for a few seconds.
    Keep flipping so they cook evenly.
    When they turn golden brown, drain onto a tissue or paper towel-lined plate.
    Serve hot with kadhi, ketchup or mint chutney.

Rashmi’s Note: For a slightly healthier version opt for wheat flour instead of maida. You’ll still get crispy wadis.

In Vidarbha, besan or chickpea flour is often used for the covering.

Editor’s Note: For a Jain version of this snack, skip the garlic, ginger and onion.

Rashmi Nagare lives in Mumbai.

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