Sabudana Khichdi is a much-loved dish of many across India, including myself. I grew up eating brilliant Sabudana Khichdi at the homes of Gujarati friends and, over time, learnt to make it myself. I had the pleasure of introducing it to the husband, and the joy of seeing him fall in love with it too was incredible. 🙂
Though Sabudana Khichdi is a simple dish at heart, it isn’t very easy to get it just right. Many people complain of it turning lumpy, soggy and tasteless. I would say making the perfect Sabudana Khichdi is definitely not impossible, but it requires patience, practice and the right techniques. Today, I am going to walk you through the process of making delicious, non-clumpy, free-flowing Sabudana Khichdi, the way I have learnt to after several trials and tribulations.
What is Sabudana Khichdi?
‘Sabudana‘ – also called ‘sago pearls’, ‘javvarisi‘ in Tamil – is made from the tapioca root. As it is not a grain per se, sabudana is commonly consumed during fasts in different parts of India. ‘Sabudana Khichdi‘ is one of the most common dish using sago pearls, a savoury dry preparation. And, it’s absolutely delicious!
What goes into Sabudana Khichdi?
Like I was saying earlier, Sabudana Khichdi requires just a few ingredients.
- Apart from the sago pearls themselves, roasted and coarsely crushed peanuts are an important addition – this is what gives the khichdi a beautiful brown colour and oodles of flavour.
- Green chillies, cumin and coriander go in too, all of which impart a unique taste to the khichdi.
- Jaggery (or sugar) and lemon juice make the khichdi all the more irresistible.
- My mom sometimes adds a bit of turmeric powder and red chilli powder to Sabudana Khichdi – not done traditionally, but it gives a nice yellow colour to the dish. I usually avoid these.
- Since Sabudana Khichdi is typically prepared during fasts, a special variety of salt called ‘sendha namak‘ or rock salt is used in it. Asafoetida is commonly avoided. However, since we don’t follow fasting at our place, I use regular salt and asafoetida.
- Potatoes are a common ingredient in Sabudana Khichdi, which we prefer to avoid too.
- Do feel free to add in potatoes if you please – also, avoid asafoetida and use sendha namak in case you are making this dish while fasting. Better still would be to check on the ingredients that are allowed to be consumed in your family circle during fasting, and stick to these.
How to soak sabudana for the perfect, non-sticky khichdi
Making Sabudana Khichdi requires a bit of prior preparation, in terms of soaking the sago pearls and draining them so as to get them ready to use. Soaking the sabudana right is crucial to getting the khichdi right – a step that must be given utmost importance.
- First things first, use good-quality sabudana. You might need to experiment with different brands to find the ones that work best for you. We prefer using sabudana from Bhagyalashmi brand (not sponsored).
- Rinse the sabudana under running water a few times, discarding the water each time. Do this till the water gradually gets clear. This will help get non-sticky sabudana after soaking.
- Many recipes suggest soaking the sabudana for 2-3 hours but, in my opinion, soaking for 6-8 hours or overnight is the best. Use a 1:1 ratio of sabudana:water for soaking – i.e. for one cup of sabudana, use exactly one cup of water for the soaking. Alternatively, the level of water should be about a half inch above the sabudana. Adding more water might cause the Sabudana Khichdi to become a gloopy mess.
- Let the sabudana stand, covered, in this water for 6-8 hours or overnight. In time, the sabudana will absorb all the water and swell in size.
5. In the morning, to check whether the sabudana is done soaking, just take a pearl and squeeze it in between your fingers. You should be able to crush it easily, as shown in the picture above. In case you feel the sabudana is still hard in the centre, add 3-4 tablespoons water to it and soak for an hour more.
6. When the sabudana has fully soaked, transfer it to a colander. Let it rest for at least 1/2 hour so that any excess water can drain out. After draining the sabudana, it is ready to use in the khichdi. At this stage, the sabudana should feel dry to the touch and should have a free-flowing consistency.
How to make Sabudana Khichdi
Here is how I make it.
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
- 1 cup sabudana
- 1/2 cup peanuts
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 pinches of asafoetida
- 3 green chillies, slit length-wise
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
- Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
1. Soak the sabudana, drain and prepare it as stated above.
2. Dry roast the peanuts in a heavy-bottomed pan, on medium flame, till they get crisp. Take care not to burn them.
3. Transfer the roasted peanuts to a plate. Allow them to cool down completely, then crush coarsely in a mixer. You need to pulse for just a second to crush it – do not make a fine powder. Keep aside.
4. Heat the oil in the same pan we used earlier. Add in the cumin seeds, and let them stay in for a few seconds. Now, reduce the flame to medium and add in the asafoetida and slit green chillies. Allow them to stay in for a few seconds. (If you are using potatoes, add them in, peeled and chopped, at this stage. Cook on medium flame till they are almost done.)
5. Still keeping the flame medium, add the drained sabudana to the pan.
6. Add salt to taste, jaggery powder and the crushed peanuts. Mix well.
7. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes, stirring gently and intermittently. The sabudana will slowly start turning translucent, indicating that it is cooked. Switch off gas when almost all the pearls are translucent. Do not overcook the mixture, as it might turn hard and chewy.
8. Mix in the lemon juice.
9. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Your Sabudana Khichdi is ready to serve. Consume it warm for the best taste.
Is this Sabudana Khichdi vegan and gluten-free?
The above recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It is a no-onion, no-garlic dish too.
However, due to the addition of asafoetida, it is not gluten-free. Simply skip the asafoetida if you want to make this gluten-free. Most Indian brands of asafoetida include wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent and are, hence, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. If you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely go ahead and use it.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!