Sabudana Khichdi: Sago for Fast Food

13 Oct

Sago Khichdi

Sabudana, also called sago, is used as fast food in India. No, not the fast food of the burger-and-fries ilk. Fast food, as in vrat food. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, explanation follows. Others, please bear with me a minute or feel free to skip the next two paras directly to the sabudana khichdi recipe.

Vrat literally translates to fasting; the person observing vrat abstains from over-indulgent, spicy food. Vrat food is eaten to mark many Indian religious occasions such as Navratri and Ekadashi. Meat, onions, garlic, most forms of carbs like flour and rice aren’t eaten on vrat days.

Sabudana, potatoes, peanuts are among the ingredients allowed. This recipe brings all of these together into a simple, delicious khichdi. [I am not a vrat person, I eat sabudana khichdi any day I want :)]

Sabudana Khichdi and Tea

Sabudana needs a few hours of soaking before being cooked. You could soak it the night before and it will be ready for cooking the next morning.

You Need:

  • Sabudana (sago pearls) – 2 cups
  • Potatoes – 2 medium-sized, boiled
  • Roasted and shelled peanuts – 1 cup, coarsely ground
  • Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
  • Roasted cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Fresh curry leaves – 10
  • Green chili – 2
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Peanut oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – to taste. For vrat, replace table salt with rock salt ("sendha namak").

How To Make Sabudana Khichdi:

1. Soak The Sabudana

At least five hours prior to cooking, spread the sabudana in a wide pan and submerge it in water reaching just above the surface.

How the khichdi will turn out in the end depends heavily on how well the sabudana was soaked. If soaked in too little water or for too short a while, it tastes raw. If soaked in too much water, it becomes mushy.

When is sabudana soaked just right? When the pearls are plump, even-colored (a slightly translucent white all over) and have no residual water.

Remember, although the dish is called khichdi its texture is closer to poha – i.e. it is dry, not runny.

How to ensure that the sabudana soaks exactly as we want it? For one, when you begin soaking, gently turn the sabudana pearls every hour so that they absorbs water evenly. Do this for the first 2-3 hours, it will take care of itself after that. If all of the water has been absorbed but the pearls aren’t fully soaked yet, add a little more water. If some water remains even after the sabudana has been soaking for over five hours, drain the excess water using a strainer.

Before cooking, turn the soaked sabudana pearls around so that they don’t stick to each other.

Before soaking:

Sabudana, before soaking

After soaking overnight:

Sabudana, after soaking

2. Cook it

Wash and pat the curry leaves dry.

Chop the boiled potatoes into tiny cubes. Slice the green chili finely.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and splutter the cumin seeds. Add the curry leaves and chopped green chilies. When the curry leaves begin to turn brown, add boiled potato cubes.

Cook for three minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add soaked sago pearls. Stir gently, taking care not to squish the pearls.

Cook covered for the next ten minutes, stirring gently every other minute. By this time, the sabudana pearls should have turned translucent. Then add salt and roasted cumin powder and mix. Cook uncovered for a minute, then mix in roasted peanut powder.

Continue to cook uncovered for another five minutes. Switch off the fire and mix in a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.

Serve sabudana khichdi hot.Sabudana Khichdi


Sabudana khichdi is conventionally a breakfast item, but you can have it any time. It is great as a snack with your evening tea.

6 Responses to “Sabudana Khichdi: Sago for Fast Food”

  1. Trudy April 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM #

    that cup of tea looks so delicious…OMG! I want a cup now.

    • S April 9, 2012 at 10:24 PM #

      :) Nice to hear from another tea-lover. I am *always* up for a cup of masala chai.

  2. wifemothereventplanner May 3, 2012 at 11:52 PM #

    I know I said this before..but THIS is my favorite. As an Indian, I know food is love, so you must be an incredibly lovely person!!

    • S May 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM #

      Hehehe that’s some pleasing logic :) Thanks :)

  3. Jay October 6, 2014 at 2:02 PM #

    I must say this is the best described method for preparing sabudana khichadi that I found online. Thank you very much for the much needed emphasis on the ‘soaking’ part! Another thing that I found useful about this method is how you ask to add the peanut powder after a minute of cooking the sagoo. I used to mix it before adding it to the pan. By following your method my khichadi has indeed turned out to be edible (delicious actually!) and can now dare to prepare it regularly. My mom would be so proud of me! Haha. Thank you very much!

    • S October 6, 2014 at 10:34 PM #

      Hi Jay, Thank you for the lovely feedback. Glad to have contributed in some small way towards making your mom proud of you :-)

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