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Sri Lankan Prawns Vada

Sri Lankan Prawn Vada/Isso Wade

Deep-fried lentil fitters are addictive snacks. It has a taste all to its own- crunchy, delicious, and mildly spicy. It is a perfect accompaniment with piping hot tea. The Sri Lankan Prawn Vada/Isso Wade is very similar to the parippu vada served in tea stalls in South India. Adding shrimp takes this snack to a new level. Sri Lanka has an extensive collection of Short Eats or snacks that are eaten anytime at bakeries, restaurants, and tea stalls. 

 The book Sri Lankan Cooking: 64 Recipes from the Chefs and Kitchens of Sri Lanka by Douglas Bullis, Wendy Hutton was my first introduction to Sri Lankan cooking. It has several unique recipes, and this vada was one among them. There are some similarities with South Indian food. The close physical proximity between Sri Lanka and Southern India explains similarities in culinary practices. But the island nation has its unique touch.

 Isso Wade is a distant cousin of parippu vada, and with shrimp sticking out, it adds a beautiful touch to the snack. Seafood lovers will love this vada. Here the shrimp are stuffed inside the lentil paste and deep-fried. You can also make patties and stick shrimp on top, and fry till crispy and golden. Serve these mouth-watering vada with sliced onion and lemon juice. Try this homemade version of this delicious street food. Kids will love this finger food, and it is fun to make. Go ahead then and give it a try. You don’t want to miss out on this tasty street food experience!

Sri Lankan Prawns Vada Recipe

Thuvar dal or Channa Dal- 1 1/2 cup
Prawns- 12 large size
Green chilly-3-4
Red dry chilly-3
Shallot- 2 chopped
Ginger- 1inch thick
Cumin seeds- a pinch
Fennel seeds -a pinch
Coriander leaves- 1 tbs chopped
Curry leaves
salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Thinly sliced onion- 1/2
Lemon juice-1/2 lemon

Soak  channa dal for 4 hours and drain into a colander and set aside.
Grind the dal along with dry red chilly and 2-3 shrimp into a course mixture. Grind it without adding water. Adding shrimp to make the paste at this stage is optional,but it enhances the flavor of the vada.
Add green chilly , shallots, ginger, curry leaves, cumin seeds and fennel and pulse a few times to make a course mixture. Mix salt and chopped coriander leaves.
Heat oil in a fry pan or a heavy bottom pan. Take lemon sizes balls of the mixture and flatten it in between your palm to form small thin patties. Place the shrimp in the center and roll or just press  one on top of the patties.Carefully slide into hot oil and fry till both sides become evenly browned up. Remove from oil to a paper napkin. Serve with ketchup, sliced onion an lemon wedges.

If you like this recipe, check these snack too..

Chemmeen/ Prawns Vada
Parippu Vada/Dal Fitters
Uzhunnu Vada/Urad Dal Vada
Vietnamese Fish Cakes
Potato Bonda

Try it,
Hope you will all enjoy!


  1. Shrimp vada with chai will be hit.

  2. Such tempting vadas...Prawns are our family favorite and making it into vadas makes it a perfect tea time snack :)

  3. I must check out that book! I am also doing three Sri Lankan recipes this week, do check out... :) The vada sounds very interesting, especially with that tail hanging out... :D

    1. Rafeeda,It is a nice book with interesting recipes. Are you a fan of Sri Lankan cooking too? Will check your space for more recipes :)


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