Sabudana or tapioca pearls cooked with sweet potatoes and cashews is a popular vegan and gluten-free dish that is consumed in Gujarati households, especially during fasts. Growing up, I remember having Sabudana Khichdi every Saturdays as my father used to fast each week. It kind of became a staple in the house we looked forward to. In many Indian households, it’s even considered somewhat of a comfort food. Sabudana khichdi is very popular especially during Hindu festivals when many people fast and this is their one meal of the day they are allowed.
WHAT IS SABUDANA?
Sabudana or tapioca pearls are derived from the starch of tapioca roots. The starch is dried once extracted and created into little pearls. There is very little nutrient density in them as they are nearly pure carbs and have no protein or nutrients in them. Because people most often eat these on fasting days, sabudana are ideal for them as they provide the energy needed to make it through the day.
Over the years, the trickiest part for me as far as making Sabudana khichdi has been making sure they are not sticky and clumped together. I recently learned the most amazing trick from my cousin Vaishali which helps each pearl cook through without becoming gummy and a lump in the process.
Before you make sabudana khichdi, you have to soak them for at least 4 hours, if not overnight. In this process of soaking lies the trick of producing the best khichdi. Rinse your pearls very well so that all of the excess starch powder has cleaned off. Once you have thoroughly rinsed your pearls, place them in a wide and flat dish. I’ve even used a skillet which works just as well. Fill this with water until it is just covering the pearls. Cover and let soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain any excess water before you start cooking. That’s it. That’s the trick that has forever changed the game for me.
ADDITION OF SWEET POTATOES AND NUTS
Traditionally, sabudana khichdi is made with potatoes and roasted, ground peanuts. I chose to change this up a little by switching out the potatoes with sweet potatoes. This is especially good for your body if you are fasting as the sweet potatoes provide more fiber and give you a sense of feeling full longer.
As to the cashews instead of the peanuts, we have a peanut allergy in the house so I have not used peanuts in my house in years. I roast the cashews then set them aside while I cook the sabudana khichdi. If you have noticed, I do keep my cashews whole. I tried to crush them as I would have the peanuts but they don’t taste as good so I choose to keep them whole. Feel free to replace the cashews with peanuts if you prefer.
Sweet Potato Sabudana Khichdi with Cashews
- 1 c Sabudana, washed thoroughly
- 1 c water
- 1 c sweet potatoes, cubed
- 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1/4 c raw cashews
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp Olive oil
- Wash Sabudana until the water runs clean.
- Transfer to a wide dish with about 1" depth.
- Add water then cover to let soak at least 4 hours, overnight if you can.
- When you are ready to cook the sabudana, drain any excess water that has not been soaked up and set aside.
- On medium flame, heat 1 tsp oil. Add in the cashews and roast 1-2 minutes until they have a light golden color to them.
- Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil.
- Add in the cumin and green chilies.
- Roast for about 30 seconds then add in the sweet potatoes.
- Add in 1/2 tsp salt and mix well.
- Cook the sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes until they are tender. Stir occasionally to make sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add in the sabudana and remaining 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix well and let cook for 2-4 minutes.
- The pearls will turn translucent as they cook.
- When the sabudana khichdi is done, turn off flame, remove from heat and mix in the roasted cashews.
- Serve warm with yogurt.
Here are the tools I used to make this recipe: