Sabudana khichdi, a popular Indian dish made with tapioca pearls, whole spices, roasted peanuts, potatoes and fresh curry leaves. Have you ever wondered why your sabudana khichdi turns sticky, gluey, chewy and sticks to your teeth? I have the perfect solution to all your sabudana khichdi problems. Learn to make perfect non-sticky sabudana khichdi with the help of my step by step photo guide.
Sabudana more commonly known as sago in the Asian countries, is a processed plant starch extracted from the cassava root. This starch is shaped to pearl like balls. Sabudana is high in carbohydrates, so it has the ability to boost energy quickly.
Due to its quick energy boosting quality, it was classified as one of the best fasting foods by the traditional Hindu community.
About Sabudana Khichdi
Sabudana khichdi is a popular Hindu fasting food where soaked tapioca pearls are tempered with curry leaves, whole spices, potatoes and roasted peanuts. It is a popular dish from the North Indian and western Indian states.
Sabudana khichdi is most commonly eaten during Navratri, Ekadashi and other Hindu fasting days. But you can also eat it anytime for a breakfast or light dinner.
Due to the high starch content in sabudana, proper preparation and cooking techniques are required. Without that the starches can clump up together to gluey, sticky and chewy texture.
My recipe will help you make the best sabudana khichdi that’s non-sticky, fluffy and soft with no chewiness in the pearls.
If you are new to cooking with sabudana I highly recommend reading and following my pro tips to make your dish a success.
Rinsing sabudana well a few times is the first important step. This helps to get rid of the excess powdery starch from the surface of the pearls. If not rinsed well, the pearls will stick up to each other and clump up. I rinse them thrice in lots of water rubbing them well.
Soaking sabudana using fresh cold water just as needed is the next important step. There are 2 ways you can soak them for a perfect texture. First one is to use ¾ cup of water for every cup of sabudana. Second method is to soak them in water just enough to immerse them. More details below.
Soaking them in lot of water will oversoak them and eventually end up being gluey when they come in contact with heat.
Draining sabudana is optional but is recommended just to ensure there is no excess moisture. I usually skip this step as I find no excess moisture in the sabudana after soaking them well with ¾ cup water.
Cooking the pearls for longer makes them sticky and will form lumps. Sabudana needs to be cooked only for 2 to 3 mins. Within this time they turn transparent meaning they are cooked.
How to Make Sabudana Khichdi (Stepwise Photos)
1. Pour 1 cup sabudana to a wide bowl. Yes using a wide bowl is essential.
2. Pour 2 to 3 cups of water and rub them well with your fingers. Drain the water completely. Repeat these steps of pouring fresh water, rubbing them and then draining off the water. Do this at least thrice. This removes the excess starch over the sabudana.
3. Soak them in ¾ cups water. Do not soak them in lot of water.
4. Soak for 4 hours to overnight. This depends on the kind of sabudana. Some don’t turn soft quickly while some work out well in 3 to 4 hours. When properly soaked, they absorb the entire amount of water and almost double in size.
5. To check, you can press a few sabudana pearls in between your thumb and forefinger. When soaked properly, then will be soft and get mashed easily. You can also bite and check if it is hard inside. If it is still hard, it has to soak for a little longer. Mine were done in 4 hours. Soaking overnight works out well too with the same amount of water.
6. When they are soaked, there will be no water left but still drain them completely. More tips in the recipe card notes.
7. Dry roast 4 tablespoons peanuts until crunchy and aromatic. Remove them to a plate and set aside. If you prefer to use crushed/ground peanuts, then pulse half of them in a grinder/blender to a coarse powder. Ground peanuts will coat the sabudana and keep them separate, avoiding mushy khichdi.
8. Heat 2 tablespoons oil or ghee in the same pan. Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds. When they begin to splutter, add 1 sprig curry leaves, 1 teaspoon fine chopped ginger (optional) and 1 to 2 chopped green chilies. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
9. Add boiled potatoes and saute for 2 minutes. Then sprinkle salt.
Making Sabudana Khichdi
10. Lower the flame completely and add drained sabudana, 2 tablespoons crushed peanuts (optional), half teaspoon sendha namak (rock salt), half teaspoon sugar (optional) and 2 tablespoons coconut (optional). OR You can also mix all of these separately in a bowl and add it here.
11. Mix everything well and saute for about 2 to 3 minutes on a high flame. By then the sago turns transparent. Cooking any further or leaving in the hot pan will make they sticky.
Remove the pan from the stove. Add some coriander leaves and lemon juice. Also add the roasted peanuts. Gently stir with a fork or spoon to coat the lemon juice all over the sabudana khichdi.
Serve it warm with a bowl of yogurt.
Here are the simple tips to make perfect, fluffy and non-sticky sabudana khichdi:
- Do not use a cast iron pan. Due to extreme heat, sabudana gets stuck to the pan and turns sticky. Instead use a non-stick pan.
- Do not skip lemon juice. Add it towards the end and run a fork through the cooked sabudana khichdi to break up lumps if any. Small lumps here and there may be common as they are pure starch.
- Adding sugar most times makes my sabudana sticky so I prefer to skip it. So it is up to you to use or not.
- Ginger: I haven’t used ginger here. If you are not making for fasting then you may add it.
- Peanut powder: You may skip it but it helps the sabudana to remain grainy.
- Coconut is an optional ingredient.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 cup sabudana (sago or tapioca pearls)
- ¼ cup peanuts
- 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 to 2 green chili (chopped or slit)
- 1 medium boiled potato (firm and not mushy)
- ½ teaspoon sendha namak (powdered rock salt) adjust to taste
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ginger chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut grated (optional)
- Add sabudana to a wide bowl and pour 2 to 3 cups of water. Rub them well with your fingers and drain the water completely.
- Repeat this steps of adding fresh water, rubbing and then draining the starchy water completely. Do this at least thrice.
- Then pour ¾ cups fresh water and soak them for 4 to 6 hours or until softened. You can also leave them overnight.
- After 4 to 6 hours, check if the sabudana is soaked well and softened by pressing a few pearls in between your thumb and fore finger. Well soaked sabudana will get mashed well and completely.
- If they are hard, cover and set aside for few more hours. You can also sprinkle some water if needed at this stage.
- When the sabudana is soaked well, transfer them to a colander to ensure there is no excess water left.
- Dry roast 4 tbsps peanuts until golden and aromatic. Set these aside.
- Optional – If you prefer to add some crushed or powdered peanuts, you can powder half of them & set aside. Crushed peanuts coat the sabudana and help to keep them grainy without turning sticky.
How to Make Sabudana Khichdi
- Heat ghee or oil in a pan. Then add cumin, green chilies, ginger and curry leaves.
- Saute for a minute and then add cubed boiled potatoes. Saute them for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile mix together sabudana, salt, sugar and peanut powder (optional).
- Regulate the flame to high. Add sabudana to the pan along with coconut (optional).
- Stir and saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until transparent. Overcooking can make them sticky.
- Immediately remove from the heat. Squeeze in the lemon juice, add coriander leaves & roasted peanuts.
- Mix the lemon juice lightly. This helps to release any sabudana stuck together.
- Serve sabudana khichdi with yogurt.
- Do not over soak or over cook sabudana, they may turn sticky.
- There are so many varieties of sabudana available in market. Some need to be soaked for 6 hours to over night while there are varieties that may need just 2 hours for soaking. You will have to experiment with your variety.
- If you have a trouble with sabudana turning sticky. Drain them completely after soaking and spread them on a plate for about 30 minutes.
- You can also add a tsp of melted ghee or oil to the soaked sago and toss before adding to the pan.
- Use enough oil or ghee for seasoning else they stick to each other due to lack of grease.
- I prefer to use boiled potatoes, as the raw ones take a lot of time to get cooked.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Sabudana khichdi recipe is from the Archives. First published in October 2015. Updated and republished in October 2021.