Passport to Srilanka: Raal Vadai

This recipe will be the first of its kind on my new #StayatHomeSundays segment featuring all home made recipes. I will now be posting new homemade recipes every other Sunday so stay tuned for more yummy goods coming soon!

If you’ve ever visited the island of Srilanka, especially the capital city Colombo, then you may be familiar with the popular tourist attraction of Galle Face Beach. Galle Face is a beautiful site, always busy about with people. But what you may not know is it’s also famous for its raal vadai. You could think of it as the spicier version of a doughnut, but it’s better put into perspective as fried savory streetfood that’s stuffed with shrimp goodness. Let me tell you, if I had one thing I wish I could sneak past customs on my flight back home, it would be these.

I’ve only ever heard of raal vadai being sold at that one beach in Colombo, so the prospect of making my own never even crossed my mind till my mom let me in on a secret: its not that hard to replicate! So with a bit of experimenting, and alot of spices, I unlocked level lankan streetfood-raal vadai. Here’s how you can make your own batch at home:

*Note: Ingrediants which can be difficult to find at regular supermarkets but are definately available at your local South asian markets are starred.


  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 sprig of Curry leaves
  • 1lb Shrimp, headless
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 4 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 red chillies, crushed
  • Salt 1 tsp
  • Vegetable oil


  1. First, you’ll need a prep step of cleaning and removing the skin of the shrimp.
  2. Grind the shrimp briefly in a food processor, into chunks, not a paste. Transfer the grinded shrimp into a medium sized bowml.
  3. Next, chop your onions & chillies finely. Include these along with your curry leaves, salt, cumin, briefly mix by hand in your bowl with the shrimp.
  4. Next add your flour into the bowl and mix. This will serve as a breading and turn the mixture into a dough.
  5. Mould the dough into a doughnut like shape and flatten slightly using your fingers. It helps to have a bit of oil on your hands so the dough does not stick.
  6. Prepare your frying oil in a medium sized skillet, enough to cover and immerse the vadai completely.
  7. Carefully lower one vadai into your skillet, and allow to simmer until you see the dough turn a yellow color. This is your cue to flip the vadai onto the other side, and allow it to fry until a golden brown color. Set aside on a tray to cool once fried.

And there you have it! Yes it’s as simple as that, delicious fresh crispy home made raal vadai, a seafood appetizer that’s sure to impress! You’ll now also be one step closer to wanting that destination vacation to Srilanka and try it in person, I’ll guarentee it. Happy travels and happy eating, this passport to Srilanka eat is approved by yours truly – S.


4 Replies to “Passport to Srilanka: Raal Vadai”

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