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Sabudana Khichadi – feasting@fasting

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So, are you religious? Me – ‘umm..yeah’. So, do you fast? Me – ‘yeah, often!’. You do? When? Every Guruvar? Chaturthi? Navmi? Somvar? Vaibhavlakshmi ? Me – ‘Hey no! I fast every time I get up late in the morning and have just enough time to throw in an apple in my office bag. I fast on those days when my calendar is so full of meetings, my lunch bag keeps sitting at my desk. And mostly, I fast on all those weekends when hubby N announces – lets have sabudana khichadi!’
Matter of factly – both me and hubby N never keep fasts, but at the same time, do not deprive ourselves from the delicious ‘fast food’ options around. The favorite is sabudana khichadi – our Sunday brunch at least twice a month. Before mentioning the recipe, a special mention is deserved by dear friend N, who taught me how to make this khichadi in Bangalore. She is a master in all she does – studies, her job and now as a mom of twin boys. She is my rock star!

fasting delight – sabudaane ki khichadi

Ingredients –

Sabudana pearls – 200 gms
2 medium potatoes – boiled, peeled and broken in medium sized chunks
Daanya cha koot/ roasted peanuts powder – 1.5 cups
Salt – as per taste (use sendha namak/ vrat ka namak if you are fasting)
Sugar – 2 tspn
Jeera/ Cumin – 2 tspn
2 Green chilies – chopped small
Juice of 2 lemons
Oil – 1 tbspn
Ghee – 1 tspn
Red chili powder – 2 tspn (optional)
Fresh dhania/ coriander leaves – washed, chopped

Method –
1. To prepare sabudana khichadi, you need roasted peanut powder (daanya cha koot) as much as you need the sabudana. It is an integral part, at least of the maharashtian version of it. As I do, it can be prepared in bulk and stored in an air-tight container for a month. Dry roast peanuts in a heavy kadhai, on a low flame, till the peanuts give out a nutty aroma and a crackling sound. Let them cool completely. Take off the peels and grind the peanuts in a mixer-grinder to a rough texture.
2. Soak the sabudana in water overnight/ for at least 6-8 hours. Now this step determines if your khichadi will turn out to be a soggy lump or a smooth melt-in-your-mouth delicacy. To soak it, put the sabudana in a wide pan. Fill in water, so that the water covers the sabudana layer till an inch above. Cover the container with a net/ rodi/ chalni. Keep aside.
3. After soaking, you should see the sabudana swelled up and softened – no trace of water or sogginess. If you pinch a sabudana and feel it’s core is hard, sprinkle some water and fluff it up with a fork , keep aside again for an hour.
4. Once the sabudana is all fluffed up, we are good to go. Add potato chunks, salt, sugar, peanut powder, red chili powder to the sabudana and mix gently using your hands/ a big spoon. Taste and check the seasonings.
5. Meanwhile, heat oil and ghee in a thick bottomed kadhai. Once hot, add the green chilies and jeera. Let the jeera crackle.
6. Add in the sabudana mixture and mix gently, so that the oil/ ghee, jeera are incorporated uniformly.
7. Let the sabudana cook, keep mixing intermittently. If you see that the sabudana is too dry, add in some ghee. If you think it is too soggy, add in some more peanut powder. We want each pearl separated – no place for sogginess!
8. After 5 to 7 minutes, when the raw look of sabudana is gone, switch off the gas. No we are not done yet. Read on 🙂
9. If you keep cooking the sabudana on gas, the pearls may start to get hard. So, we cook it further on steam. Heat water in a colander/ bhagona/ patili (water half filled). Once steam starts to come out, place the kadhai filled with sabudana khicadi on it. Cover the khichadi and let this cook for 10 minutes.
10. Add in the lemon juice and dhania leaves.
11. Eat as it is or with a bowl full of dahi/ curd.

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