Friday, June 5, 2009

Sabudana khichdi

As a kid, I used to wait avidly for fasting day - for Maharashtrian fasts we load up on starches and peanuts and the food is mouthwateringly delicious!! One of the staples of the fast is the sabudana (sago/tapioca pearl) khichdi. Nowadays I dont need any excuses, I make it whenever I need some quick and easy comfort food.

Soaking the sabudana pearls
This is perhaps the most labour intensive part of the entire process and the soaking can make or break your khichdi. Too much water results in a mushy mess which will cleave to your palate and under-soaking (and then cooking it because you are too tired and hungry to think of anything else) will result in either a couple of teeth missing or a rubberized mess .... so pay attention here.

Different types of sabudana require different times for soaking. In maharashtra you get the absolute freshest pearls which take 2-3 hours to soak. The ones available to me here require 8 hours and more. You'll have to do some trial and error. To figure out when the pearls are soaked perfectly - squeeze ONE pearl gently between thumb and forefinger, if it's squishy and gets back it's shape like elastic without any hard parts then it's done, if it is completely squished to powder then it's over soaked. Repeat for a few more pearls - sometimes you find that one is done, others are still hard at the center. In this case, let them soak for some more time - patience is your friend here.

What works for me - I take the pearls in a sieve, rinse them in running water for about 2-3 minutes (if not using a sieve, rinse then drain), then cover and keep aside. Before covering, I take a handful of water and sprinkle on top. From time to time, I uncover and stir the pearls, if they feel dryish I sprinkle a couple handfuls of water. Do this until the soak test above is succesful.

Sabudana Khichdi
You can add chopped parboiled potatoes after the green chillies in step 1 below, fry until they cook well, then add the sabudana. I skip this since I hate potato in my khichdi but this is the traditional way. Also the amount of peanut powder is conservative, you can certainly go crazy!! All the cup measurements below are actually teacup instead of the standard cup. 1 teacup = 120 ml.

2 cups sabudana, soaked
1 and a half cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, ground to a chunky peanut powder
5/6 green chillies - finely sliced (I like heat, adjust yours accordingly)
cumin seeds
half tsp sugar
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste
juice of 1 lemon
large handful of chopped coriander leaves

Heat oil in a vessel on high heat. Add the cumin seeds, when they start sputtering, add green chillies and fry them for a bit.

Add the sabudana, peanut powder, salt and sugar. Reduce heat to medium and let it cook. Contrary to the patience it required before to soak the sabudana, you cant leave this alone for even a minute - it WILL burn! What I do is I cover for half a minute, then uncover and give it a stir and so on until the pearls are steamed through. When they start looking transluscent instead of the milky hue earlier you know they're done. Alternatively, just chew on them. It doesnt take long, I give them about 3-4 stirs and the khichdi is done.

Squeeze half the lemon and add more according to your taste. Check your salt seasoning.

Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve hot with a cup of thick yogurt as accompaniment.


Bouncing-Bubble said...

hey cp..I've made this once and loved it.. i usually make kheers with sago, so tried this once for variation.

Angel's Flight said...

I loooove sabudana. Once we moved to Bombay I got intro to this wonder...and I am still addicted...I still remember...every week..I used to wait to eat this....and every week I still do :)

avdi said...

Sounds abs yummy. I am hooked on to poha these days, and this one looks like a good alternative. :)

couchpapaya said...

bubbles, angel - do u use the same recipe or do anything different ?? just curious! i've been cooking it this way for years now and while i love it, a change might be interesting.

avdi - oh yes, it's a great alternative. i cycle this khichdi, poha and rava upma for snacks/breakfast. always dependable, always yum :D

samir said...

You really need to start putting together a cookbook, you have the writing skills & the taste for good recipes. An excellent description of something that is difficult to make, I probably tried it couple of times and both times it was a sticky glop.
BTW, 5-6 chillies; you do like it hot.

Smita said...

Sabudaane ki khicdhi isn't used much humare yahan but once I shifted here I saw it being used so much...

Now comes the part of cooking it :D my frenz make an excellent preparation and I follow the instructions to T but always-always manage to spoil it come what may :D

Bouncing-Bubble said...

cp-i've made it just once..i think i soaked the pearls for about 4-5 hours. usually i make upma/khichdi when i've got make something real quick. so this one takes the backseat.
another thing came to my mind..sago is considered to be very pure.and that's why we make kheer out of it during specific occasions and offer to God.; vermicelli is not offered in some festivals (in TN)

couchpapaya said...

samir - that's v. sweet, thanks for the faith :D and yes, i finally managed to get it right over years of experimenting ... the other secret is to use lots of oil but i find myself incapable of doing so. i love biting into chillies, i just make sure they're well fried so they dont taste raw !!!

smita - it's a v. easy recipe to mess up so dont give up. once u get it, it's like riding a bicycle :) good luck!!!

bubbles - oh had no idea about the pureness etc...prbbly why we use it in our fasts too?? i just thought the idea was to eat something which wasnt consumed regularly like rice, wheat heh

WhatsInAName said...

what a yummy recipe. I mean more than the dish itself :-)
The recipe sounds so so simple and yet like Smit I always end up messing it :-( sigh

couchpapaya said...

WIAN - actually i forgot when smita mentioned it earlier...u lucky girls shld be able to get it in restaurants no ?? jealous!! :( else like i told samir, use lots and lots of oil when cooking the sabu :)

Anonymous said...

after reading ur post...i can sya for sure ur iq is above avg :)

maneesh said...
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