This Sabudana Khichdi recipe is a unique breakfast dish from Maharashtra made with tapioca pearls. Quite similar to giant couscous, they have a lovely texture and subtle flavour. In classic Marathi fashion a touch of roasted peanut powder tossed into the dish gives an almost sweet smokiness, while the whole roasted peanuts offer a great crunch. A dash of sugar to give balance and ample green chilli to spice it up, zesty lemon juice to add sourness and a final a liberal sprinkling of fresh coriander finishes the dish with a hint of tartness.
Sabudana Khichdi is most commonly prepared for Vrat – fasting – especially on the festival of Navratri. In this case fasting doesn’t mean abstaining from food completely, but for the vast majority of Hindus it simply refers to avoiding prohibited food (along with alcohol) during the holy festive time. Tapioca is one of just a few carbohydrates allowed to be eaten and so you see an explosion of love for the ingredient around that time of year.
However, everyone in my partners family loves Sabudana Khichdi. It’s made as a breakfast dish at any time of year rather than being limited to festival periods. The dish really is so good that I wish it would hit mainstream popularity! Unfortunately lots of people have negative associations with tapioca pearls as it’s common for them to be improperly cooked which results in a sticky mess. Thankfully, this recipe is the complete opposite …
How to avoid sticky, clumpy Sabudana Khichdi:
One of the reasons why people are hesitant about using tapioca as an ingredient is because it’s so easy to get wrong. Without the right tips and tricks your Sabudana Khichdi can turn to mush and become a really unpleasant eating experience. However, don’t let any bad memories or past attempts put you off – lovely fluffy and soft Sabudana Khichdi is a joy to eat and surprising easy to make once you know how.
Rinse, rinse and rinse your tapioca. Just like with rice (you should be washing your rice!), rinsing your tapioca will remove all the excess starch, meaning that there’s far less chance of sticking later on. Before soaking you should wash your tapioca in cold water. At first the water will be cloudy. Once you’ve washed the tapioca and the water is clear, not cloudy, you can stop.
Soak your tapioca in less water. Another huge mistake I see is people using too much water to soak the tapioca. You want to use just enough water to cover the tapioca, or just a little more than the amount of tapioca.
Soak your tapioca overnight. I know it can seem like a pain but just make a point of doing it before bed, and when you wake up in the morning your Sabudana Khichdi is ready to cook. Don’t be tempted to soak for just a few hours – overnight is best.
After rinsing the tapioca for a final time (see method for more information), be sure to let it drain in a colander. You don’t want more moisture than necessary present before you cook it.
Don’t cook for too long! You’d be surprised. Your Sabudana Khichdi needs only around 3-5 minutes to cook. Anymore and it will become sticky.
This Recipe is…
Vegan, Diary Free & Gluten Free
Authentic to the Indian state of Maharashtra
A healthy & unique breakfast option
Simple, using minimal spices
A Vrat, or fasting, recipe
Nutritional: full of protein (from peanuts) and good carbs
Variations for Sabudana Khichdi:
There are many variations and ways that you can make Sabudana Khichdi.
In this version I have cooked it in Maharashtrian style by including roasted & ground peanut powder, as well as whole peanuts. Usually only peanut powder is used. You can cook it this way if you like, but I suggest increasing the peanut powder to around 2-3tbsp. You can also skip this entirely and only use whole peanuts if you like.
Unlike onion & garlic, ginger is suitable for Vrat or fast. Therefore you can add some finely chopped or grated ginger while frying the green chilli.
If you’re not making this for a fast or festival, you can also include onion and/or garlic. I personally like the Sabudana Khichdi without them but feel free to experiment.
My partners family likes to add a little turmeric powder to the Sabudana Khichdi. If you choose to use turmeric, add it just after the potatoes. Don’t use much as it can become bitter.
If you’re interested in more Indian recipes, do be sure to check out my wide range of dishes on Oh My Veg!
TIME: Overnight Soak, 20 Mins Cooking Time
100g Medium Sabudana (Tapioca Pearls, or Sago)
≈120ml Water, to soak the Sabudana
40g Potato, peeled and cut into cubes
2 tbsp Pink Peanuts
1 tbsp Groundnut Oil, Sesame Oil, or Ghee (for a non Vegan version)
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
3 Green Finger Chilli, finely chopped
Few Curry Leaves, optional
1/2 tsp Rock Salt, or to taste (use regular salt if not fasting)
1/4 tsp Sugar
1.5 tsp Lemon Juice
Bunch Coriander, finely chopped
First, soak the tapioca. Thoroughly wash the tapioca a few times until the water runs clear. This removes the starch from the tapioca and will stop it sticking later, so is very important. Once the water runs clear, add the tapioca to a small bowl and cover it with 120g cold water. It may seem like it’s not enough water but don’t worry. Cover the bowl and leave it to soak overnight, ready to use the next morning.
The next morning, wash the tapioca once or twice under hot water. This will further soften them. To check if the tapioca is fully soaked, press one of the pearls between your fingers. It should squash easily. If it needs further soaking, wash in hot water a few more times or sprinkle a few tsp of water on top and soak for another hour until properly softened. Don’t soften/soak it too much or it will become mushy.
Next, boil the potato. This is simple! Just add plenty of water to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat on the smallest ring. Once the water is boiling add the potato and boil for () minutes. Immediately drain and shake to fluff up just gently.
Secondly, roast the peanuts. Add the peanuts to a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Roast, shaking occasionally, until the skins are just charred. Take off the heat and remove the skins of half the peanuts (1 tbsp worth). Set the others aside for later. With the peanuts whose skins you removed, grind them to a coarse powder – you can do this in a mortar and pestle or in spice grinder.
Add the roasted & ground peanut powder, salt and sugar to the tapioca. Gently mix together until coated.
To make the khichdi, heat the groundnut oil (or other preferred oil) in a non-stick medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot add the cumin seeds and as soon as they crackle add the green chilli and curry leaves (if using). Stir for a few moments and then add the whole peanuts, boiled potatoes, and tapioca. Stir gently for around 1 minute and then add the lemon juice and chopped coriander. Mix everything well and cook just until the tapioca is slightly transparent – no further. If you cook for too long it can stick together.
Before serving gently ‘fluff’ the tapioca with a spoon or fork to separate the pearls.
If you make this recipe or have any questions, let me know!
As always, if you have any questions about the recipe please feel free to comment them down below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you made this recipe, please do share it with me! I would love to see the results. You can tag me on instagram using @ohmyvegofficial or send to me via any of my other social media channels.