Wednesday, August 17, 2011

spicy tapioca (sabudana khichdi)

Tapioca (Sabudana) was one of my favorite things in the whole world. I said 'was' only because even if I have made the dish a hundred times, it is never quite as yummy as my grandma's. She made the best khichdi I have ever tasted. She would have it ready for me, nice and steamy  when I got back from school the day I had extra tough classes. It was one food I ate when I wasn't even hungry and the only food when I was sick (other than chocolate).

It still is my go to comfort dish. Unfortunately, it requires the tapioca to be washed and soaked overnight, so it needs a little do ahead prep time. Which means I need to know today that I want to eat it tomorrow. Doesn't always work out, but when it does it is the best feeling in the world.One bite and it takes me to my childhood. It still doesn't taste like how my grandma made it, but it is pretty darn close (I think she sneaked in twice as much oil to fatten me up - her one goal in life)

Spicy Tapioca (Sabudana Khichdi)
Khichdi actually means combination of ingredients. In this case tapioca with peanuts and cumin. It is an acquired taste, but worth a try at least once. Now the key to making this dish is the soaking of the tapioca. One wrong move and it can turn into a nasty old lumpy goo. It needs at least 8 hours of soaking. So plan accordingly.

1 cup tapioca (sabudana or sago pearls)
1/2  cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped coarsely
2 green chilies sliced
2 tablespoon oil
1/2  teaspoon cumin seeds
4-5 kari leaves (you can omit these if you don't have them handy)
1 small potato, boiled and chopped into small cubes (you can also microwave it till the potato is soft)
1 tablespoon sugar
salt to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro for garnish

Wash the tapioca very gently for not more than 15-20 seconds. (do not scrub, be very gentle) Drain that water and add just enough water to barely soak the tapioca (water and tapioca level should be equal). Allow to soak for 8 hours.

In about 8 hours run your fingers through the tapioca to loosen them up. At this point they should look translucent and swollen. Fold in sugar, salt, and peanuts into it.

In a medium saucepan heat oil and add cumin. Allow to brown slightly and add chillies and kari leaves. Toss for a few seconds. Stir in the potatoes for a few minutes. Add the tapioca-peanut mixture and stir well. Keep stirring for 8-10 minutes. The color of tapioca will slowly change to light brown. Turn of the heat and let stand for a couple of minutes.

Garnish with Cilantro and serve hot!!! You can either serve just plain or you can add either a teaspoon or so of lemon juice or 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt. Any way you have it, it is delicious.


  1. OK..I probably will not try to make this..well I won't make it, but I love to read about your childhood memories with your grandmother and I love to see recipes from your childhood.

  2. Thank you so much! Every time I think of my grandma it brings a smile to my face. She was a wonderful woman who loved to cook and feed me.

  3. I love when food evokes memories ~ lovely post n recipe!

  4. Sugar, tutti fruti, basil seeds and ice-cream may be added. The rose syrup may be substitute with another flavoured base to produce kesar, chocolate, mango and Fig Falooda. Saffron extract .


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