Sabudana Khichdi, from the western lands of Maharashtra, is a simple one pot meal dish commonly prepared for breakfasts or during religious festivals. Plump pearl tapioca cooked with ground peanuts and very mild spices can give you that subtle feeling of being infinitely satisfied with something so humble! 🙂
I’m excited to share a dish I’ve long been enamored with – the Sabudana Khichdi.
Is it THE most healthy dish you could ever make? Probably not. With clarified butter and potatoes and pearl tapioca, you can a good dose of starch and fat (something that healthy food these days seem to lack). However, it is a wholesome dish which would give you everything you need to keep up your energy all day long.
And did I mention how easy it is to put this together?
Not to mention how simply deliciously chewy this Khichdi is?
You’ll need to know what a Khichdi is, right? Think of it like a cross between a risotto and a pilaf. Upma or Khichdi is what we Indians make with almost any grain we can cook with! 🙂
Sabudana Khichdi – print the recipe
- 1 cup Sabudana (Pearl Tapioca) - refer note 1
- 1 small Potato - refer note 2
- ½ cup Roasted Peanuts
- 1-2 teaspoons Cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 teaspoon grated Ginger
- Handful of Curry Leaves washed well (kadi patta)
- 2-3 Green Chilies, chopped finely (adjust to suit your heat preference)
- ½ teaspoon Sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons Rock Salt (adjust to taste) - refer note 3
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil - refer note 4
- 1 Tablespoon Ghee (clarified butter) - refer note 4
- 2 Tablespoons grated fresh coconut (optional)
- 4-5 Tablespoons Chopped Coriander Leaves
- Depending on the type and quality of Sabudana, you might need to adjust the soaking time for them. It usually is around 15-30 minutes (Smaller pearls fall under this category) or 5-6 hours/overnight (the large pearls).
- Potatoes are optional. You can skip them too. If you're using them, I suggest getting a head start by cooking them ahead of time. This will save you a ton of time while actually making the sabudana khichdi. However, you can also make this with raw potatoes and cook them a bit longer to make them soft
- Since Sabudana Khichdi is usually made during religious festivals in India (during Fast or vrat), people prefer using Rock Salt. For everyday use, you can use any salt you have on hand. Just adjust according to taste preference
- If you're watching calories, you can skip the Ghee (clarified butter) and use just the oil. However, I do suggest NOT skipping since Ghee adds a lot of flavor to the dish. You do need a bit of fat to cook the pearls in without them becoming mushy.
- Soaking the pearls make them absorb water and become soft. This is what gives that chewy and soft texture to the upma. You may have to experiment with the pearls initially. Generally, the smaller pearls take lesser time to become soft (anywhere between 15 minutes to 2 hours) while the larger pearls take longer (4-6 hours).
- Wash the pearls well. Then add enough water to cover the pearls. Let them rest. You'll know they are done when you take a few pearls and press them - if they are soft (but do not disintegrate completely or turn into a mush), they are done.
- This step is crucial. Drain the water completely. Once the pearls are soft and ready, drain the water and again wash them one last time to get rid of any extra starch.
- Empty the pearls onto a large sieve covered with a clean kitchen cloth and let them stay that way for about half an hour. This ensures that any excess water is drained out and the pearls are dry and ready. You can also use a cloth to press the pearls gently to dry them up.
- Important - If you cook your khichdi when the sabudana is sticky or has excess water, it will turn out mushy. Make sure you get rid of as much water as possible.
- Once the sabudana is done, add a few tablespoons of the Peanut powder and mix them and set aside.
- If you have peanuts without the skins, use them. Else, you can get rid of most of the skin by just rubbing the peanuts furiously and blowing them away.
- Using a mixer or mortar and pestle, grind them to a coarse powder (you can make a smooth powder too if that's what you like. However, a coarse mixture adds texture)
- Heat oil and/or ghee in a pan (preferably non stick)
- Add the cumin seeds, ginger, chilli, curry leaves and briefly fry for 1 minute
- Roughly chop or mash the potatoes and add it to the oil mixture. If the potatoes are already cooked, then just fry them for 1-2 minutes. If you're adding raw potatoes, cook until the potatoes are soft.
- Add the Sabudana pearls and quickly toss them in the oil/ghee mixture.
- Add the peanut powder and mix everything together.
- Cook the mixture on medium low heat for 4-5 minutes or until the tapioca pearls turn translucent. If you feel the mixture is too dry, sprinkle some water and mix again.
- Add lots of coriander leaves for enhanced flavor and mix well. You can also garnish with freshly grated coconut.
- Serve hot or warm as is or with coconut chutney!
Sabudana Khichdi – step by step recipe
*Refer the printable recipe for sabudana khichdi for tips on how to cook it to perfection. The below tutorial gives a quick step by step pictorial.
Soak the sabudana overnight (depending on quality of sabudana, the soaking time would vary). You know the sabudana is ready for use when you are able to press it with your fingertips and it is soft, but it does not disintegrate easily. Drain the sabudana well. This step is extremely crucial to avoid mushy texture.
In a preferably nonstick pan, heat 1 teaspoon of Ghee (clarified butter) and 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the cumin seeds, chopped green chilli, curry leaves and grated ginger. Fry for a few seconds.
Add the chopped or mashed potatoes. If the potatoes are already cooked ahead of time, you need to fry them for about 1-2 minutes. Else, cook them till they get soft
Add the drained Sabudana and give a quick toss.
Next goes the coarsely ground peanut powder and salt. I used rock salt, but feel free to use any salt. Mix them well and let the cook on low flame for 5-8 minutes or until the pearls become translucent.
Add lots of chopped coriander leaves for enhanced flavor and mix well.
Serve hot as is or with Coconut chutney!