Sabudana Khichdi – a pilaf/pulao made with sago pearls! This vegan and gluten-free dish is extremely popular in India during the fasting season of Navratri. However if you ask me, you don’t really need an occasion to make and devour it.
This khichdi is extremely simple and yet so flavorful. I love my sabudana khichdi with yogurt on the side.
Sabudana Khichdi is often made during the fasting season in India. It’s usually flavored with peanuts, chilies, cumin and curry leaves.
I used to wait for Navratri so that I could eat this khichdi along with sabudana kheer (which was also made often during the fasting season).
This khichdi doesn’t use a lot of spices and that’s because it’s often made during the fasting season and a lot of spices are prohibited to be eaten during that time. And it’s the simplicity of the dish which makes it so wonderful.
While everyone loves this khichdi, it can turn out to be quite a disaster in the kitchen if you do not follow the right way to cook it.
The biggest problem that everyone faces when making sabudana khichdi is that the pearls just clump together and make a gloopy mess. And that’s not very pleasant to eat then. Well not anymore!
I have had my shares of clumpy sabudana khichdi when I didn’t know how to cook anything. But I learnt with time and with practice. Now my sabudana khichdi always comes out looking perfect.
Do you see that? All pearls separate and no clumps?
Tips to Make Non-Sticky Sabudana Khichdi
1. Soak the sabudana overnight. A lot of recipes would call for soaking for 4 hours or 6 hours but in my experience the recipes works best if you soak it overnight.
2. Rinse the sabudana until water turns clear to get rid of the starch. This is an important step to do before you soak the sabudana.
3. Always use 1:1 ratio of sabudana and water. So for 1 cup of sabudana, use 1 cup of water to soak it.
This is the biggest mistake that you can make which results in clumpy khichdi. You want to pearls to be just about submerged in water. A lot of water will result in a gloopy mess!
4. In the morning, drain the sabudana. There will hardly be any water left in the morning after you have soaked the sabudana overnight. However drain using a colander just to make sure that there’s no water.
5. Check if the sabudana has been properly soaked by pressing a pearl between your thumb and index finger. You should be able to smash it easily.
6. Once you add the sabudana to the pan, do not cook or stir it for too long. You have to cook only for few minutes until most of the pearls becomes translucent. If you keep cooking and tossing for a long time, it is going to stick together.
If you follow these tips carefully, you will have a perfect non-sticky sabudana khichdi ready in no time!
This recipe uses very few ingredients!
Sabudana: for this recipe, we use the regular sabudana (sago pearls) that you can find at any Indian grocery store.
You ca also find it online on amazon.
Potatoes: this is the only vegetable that is used in the recipe. Potatoes are very widely consumed during fasting and hence they are also added to this khichdi which is often made during Navratri.
Spices: other than cumin seeds, there’s no spice added here. I like to keep it simple but you can definitely add other spices to it like chili powder, turmeric etc.
Peanuts: there’s no sabudana khichdi without peanuts! A lot of times, peanuts are crushed and then added to the khichdi. I have just added them whole here.
Curry leaves and chilies: these two give a lot of flavor to the khichdi. Since we don’t add much spices here, these fresh ingredients are an integral part of this recipe.
Seasonings: the khichdi is seasoned with salt and if you like some sugar too. Actually, I do recommend adding sugar, it helps balance the flavors and make the khichdi taste even better,
If making it for fasting, use sendha namak (rock salt) in place of salt.
The khichdi is finished with lemon juice and cilantro which add the perfect finishing touches to the dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we add spices to khichdi?
Yes, if you are not making it for fasting you can add spices like turmeric, coriander etc. to it.
Can we add onions to the recipe?
Again yes, if not making it for fast. It will work well.
Is sabudana khichdi gluten-free?
Yes, it is gluten-free and this recipe is also vegan.
1- Rinse sabudana under water until water turns clear. This is important to get rid of all the starch.
2- Transfer the rinsed sabudana to a large bowl and add 1 cup water to it. No more.
3- In the morning the sabudana would have soaked up all the water. But you still drain it using a colander just to get rid of any excess water.
4- To check if sabudana is ready to cook, press a pearl between your thumb and index finger. It should smash easily. Set it aside.
5- Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for few seconds.
6- Then add the diced potatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring often until potatoes are almost cooked. It’s important to dice the potatoes small here so that cook quickly.
7- Add the raw peanuts and for another 2-3 minutes.
8- Then add the green chili, curry leaves and cook for 1 more minute.
9- Add the drained sabudana to the pan along with salt and sugar.
10- Mix well until well combined.
11- Cook for few minutes until most of the sabudana pearls become translucent, stirring once or twice. Do not cook it for a long time else it will stick. Remove pan from heat. Add lemon juice and cilantro and toss to combine.
12- Serve sabudana khichdi hot with chilled yogurt.