Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sabudana Khichdi

Sabudana aka Tapioca Pearls are one of those culinary ingredients used in Indian traditional cooking. Tapioca aka Cassava Roots are processed to create these pearls, which look a lot like hailstones around here. I grew up in 2 different states and I was fortunate enough to be exposed to two different approaches to cooking these cuties.
In Kerala, usually these pearls are used in desserts for thickening, or cooked in milk and sweetened with a little sugar, as a Vrat food or for health related recoveries, as its a very simple, easily digestible carb suited to not taxing out the digestive system.
In Maharashtra, these were hardly made into anything sweet. Instead, they were soaked and gently cooked along with a host of local, fresh ingredients into a filling Khichdi.
But both states seem to have approved the Tapioca peals as an authentic Vrat food. Now only if they would be this unanimous in politics!
The best Khichdi I have ever eaten was prepared by one of our neighbors Mrs Gadgil, whose cooking would scent up the entire floor of our building. I never got a chance to learn from her (I was too busy playing Cricket and climbing trees) but I dedicate this recipe to her amazing cooking prowess.

1 cup sabudaana- soaked 3-4 hours
(First rinse the sabudana pretty quickly with cold water and then fill the container with water exactly 1 inch above the sabudana level. Once it gets absorbed, fluff it with afork and add a little more water. The goal is to soak the sabudana enough to get rid of the hard kernel in the center of the pearl. Taking a pearl and squeezing it gently, will tell you if you need to add more water or not.)

1 cup roasted, salted peanuts
1 inch fresh peeled ginger
1 tbsp roasted jeera
2 tbsp raw peanuts
4-5 slit green chillies
1 tbsp chopped curry leaves
1 tsp jeera
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp Peanut Oil
Fresh grated coconut and Chopped coriander leaves- to garnish

Dry grind the roasted peanuts, ginger and 1 tbsp roasted jeera, until it resembles a coarse meal and keep aside.
Heat 2 tbsp Peanut oil in a heavy pan and fry the potato cubes until browned and crispy. Drain and keep aside. In the same oil, add 1 tsp jeera, raw peanuts, green chillies and curry leaves and fry in low heat until the peanuts are cooked. Then slowly add the soaked, drained sabudana and stir gently, until its coated with the remaining ingredients and oil. When it starts steaming, add the dry ground peanut mixture and stir well. This mixture keeps the sabudana from sticking to each other. So if it gets sticky as you cook it, add some more crushed peanuts. Check salt now and adjust.
Keep stirring in med-high heat until Sabudana is cooked completely.
Serve hot, garnished with coriander leaves and coconut. Enjoy!

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