Sabudana Khichdi (Indian Sago and Potato Snack)

Sabudana Khichdi (Indian Sago and Potato Snack) Recipe

Sabudana khichdi is a dish that is popular in the state of Maharashtra in India. Sabudana refers to the sago (tapioca) pearls that are used in this dish, and khichdi roughly translates to "hodgepodge".  Every region in India has their own version of khichdi, usually made with rice and lentils.

This particular version is often eaten after fasts. It's also a very popular breakfast dish. I like this dish because sago is a fairly exotic ingredient, and I don't get to cook with it very often. 

The challenge is in preparing the sago properly. Make sure to buy your sago from an Indian store; I've tried to make it with sago from the Asian market and it didn't turn out properly. When it turns out right, the cooked sago melts in your mouth, and the spices and curry leaves that the potatoes cook in is beyond heavenly.


Yields: 6

2 cups medium-sized sago
5 red potatoes, washed, unpeeled
2 cups water
3/4 cup peanuts, peeled
3/4 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons ghee (see tips)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste (see tips)
3 cardamom pods
1 clove
4 coriander seeds
4 whole black peppercorns
2 whole red dried chili, stemmed
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin powder, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
10 fresh curry leaves, cut in halves
1 green jalapeƱo pepper, sliced
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 lime
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup coconut, freshly grated


For the sago: In a bowl wash the sago pearls thoroughly. Pick out and discard any bad-shaped pearls and soak them in about 2 cups of water for at least 8 hours before cooking. It's best to let the pearls soak overnight. Do not exceed 12 hours though. Drain as much liquid as possible from the sago using a fine mesh colander. Transfer the soaked sago pearls in a bowl. Set aside.

For the potatoes: Place the potatoes in a pot. Fill it with cold water until it barely covers the potatoes. Bring to a boil, add 2/3 teaspoon of salt, then reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook for about 20-23 minutes. The potatoes should be fork-tender. Remove from the pot. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and diced them.

For grinding the spices: In a mortar and pestle, slightly crush the cardamom pods. Remove and discard the shells. Gather the cardamom seeds in the mortar and pestle, add the black peppercorns, coriander seeds and clove. Grind into a fine powder. Set aside.

For the peanuts: To release all the flavor and oil of the peanuts, roast them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 325°F before using them. Chop the nuts. Slightly crush the roasted peanuts in a mortar and pestle. You still want to have a few coarse pieces of the nuts in the dish for a nice contrast in texture. Set aside.

Assembly time:

Cook the sago pearls in the microwave for 1 minute. Let stand for about 2 minutes (while mixing the spices in ghee and oil.

In a large saucepan, add the oil and about 1-1/2 tablespoons of ghee. Add the dried chili and the sliced jalapeño pepper. Do NOT burn the ghee as it browns very fast like butter. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds start popping, add the ginger garlic paste and all the spices except the salt. Reserve about 1 tablespoon of the spiced-flavored ghee / oil.

Flavor the micro-waved sago with the reserved spiced-flavored ghee / oil.

Add the diced potatoes. Sprinkle with sugar. Cook for a minute. Add the sago. Sauté by tossing the saucepan to prevent the sago from breaking (do not mix with a spoon). Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook for about 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the coarse peanut powder. Sprinkle with freshly grated coconut. Drizzle with the lime juice. Finish with the remaining ghee. Cover and cook for another minute.

Discard and remove the red chili.

Serve hot. Garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve with plain yogurt on the side.

Bon appétit!


Indian cuisine often calls for ginger garlic paste. It tastes great and is very healthy for you as well. Just clean the ginger, carefully removing any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife, then finely chop the root. Place the chopped ginger and 5 cloves of garlic in a blender, add about 2 tablespoons (or more) of water for a smooth flow. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. You can keep this paste for at least a week in the refrigerator.

You can find sago pearls in most Indian stores. Look for the medium-sized pearls.

Make sure the potatoes are cooked properly before adding to the khichdi.

If you don't have any peanuts, you can use cashew nuts; they are a perfect substitute.

Do NOT add any liquid at any time; otherwise the sago will turn slimy and gooey.

Ghee is the Indian version of clarified butter. You can find them in jars at the Indian store. But if you don't have ghee, you can add some butter instead.

We love to pair this snack with some Indian puffs rice (chudwa).

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on October 4, 2009.


[-] must try - Guest-OysterCulture
I was just thinking I'd se the Asian version when I read your warning - phew. Is there a good Indian market you go to in SF? I usually head to the Peninsula when I need to stock up. I am certainly going to have to try this - it looks delicious.

OysterCulture Website Link
[ Posted at 7:15 AM on 10/4/09 | Reply ]
[-] Indian market - Jackie
I'm sorry, I can't be of any help. As Lulu would say, I'm a pretty bad driver and only shop in the Peninsula.
[ Posted at 10:48 AM on 10/4/09 | Reply ]
[-] Yum! - Guest-Miakoda
Looks great. I agree, the trick is to cook the sago just right. Been looking over your previous posts. Wow, you cook amazing stuff everyday.....

Miakoda Website Link
[ Posted at 7:16 AM on 10/4/09 | Reply ]
I just love this post, I've copied & pasted, thanks. Next time we do an Indian dinner this will definately be on the table!

lesley Website Link
[ Posted at 4:57 AM on 10/5/09 | Reply ]
This one sounds amazing. I love this, but never made my own. You have done a wonderful one here.

Soma Website Link
[ Posted at 8:51 AM on 10/7/09 | Reply ]
Any hints on where to get curry leaves in the peninsula/south bay? I live in Cupertino. Thanks, and Happy New Year!
[ Posted at 5:56 PM on 12/31/10 | Reply ]
Love your recipes! One small correction- it should read Chuwda, not Chudwa...

Keep up the good work!
[ Posted at 8:19 AM on 10/4/12 | Reply ]

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