Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sabudana Khichdi

Khichdi is known as elixir of the gods in ancient hindu scriptures. Eaten piping hot, bit mushy with very simple flavors if you consider the everyday khichdi made in Indian homes comprising of lentils and rice. This is one dish where excess of any sort is omitted. No wonder for any great tasting khichdi everything needs to be in moderation. There are days when I like bold, pop flavors and there are days when I yearn for a warm bowl of khichdi. With festivals demanding long hours of fasting, its an Indian tradition to cook Khichdi and observe a Sattvik diet with no garlic and onion. A good warm bowl of Khichdi is also filling. Few regular khichdi recipes made at my home are Sabudana Khichdi, Rice and Mung Dal Khichdi which is my personal favorite served with a dollop of ghee dunked atop while its hot.

The Sabudana Khichdi made at my home is inspired by the easy and simple khichdi recipe followed in Marathi homes. I add Daanyachey Koot and few whole Peanuts for garnish, may be a little more than required because I like the crunch. It took me a while to master this dish because there are many failure modes (for lack of any word) possible in the process. Couple of things gone wrong and the whole dish can be messy. 

Sabudana Khichdi
Tapioca Pearls Khichdi with Peanuts and Peanut powder

Prep Time: 5-6 hours 
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Tapioca Pearls (Sabudana) - 1/2 cup
Potatoes (thinly sliced, MW par cooked) - 1/2 cup
Peanut powder (Daanyachey Koot) - 3/4 cup
Toasted Peanuts (whole or split) - 1/3 cup

For Seasoning -
Green Chillies (slit lengthwise) - 2 
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

1. Soaking - Rinse the pearls in multiple changes of water. Soak in enough water to submerge the pearls for about 6-8 hours. The water will also get absorbed in the process. If the pearls look tad bit dry, sprinkle some water, fluff gently with a fork and cover again.After the time has elapsed, they will proliferate in size and you can easily squish them under the thumb and index finger. If its squishes well, its ready. The water will also get absorbed in the process. If the pearls look tad bit dry, sprinkle some water, fluff gently with a fork and cover again. If its squishes well, its ready. The pearls almost double up in volume once soaked and ready. Drain the water completely, ensure that Sabudana has no water content before you proceed. Typically, there is no need to drain the water as it gets absorbed.
2. Toast the Peanuts (about a cup) in a small frying pan. Save about 1/3 of the cup as reserve once toasted. Allow the rest to cool. Make Daanyachey Koot. MW peeled Potato with little water and cook for 2-4 minutes till its partially cooked.
3. In a non-stick pan, heat ghee. Once the ghee melts and the pan is hot enough, season with cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and slit green chillies. Add the MW cooked potatoes and sear the potatoes for couple of minutes.
4. The Potatoes will get a light sear by now, add the soaked Tapioca Pearls. Give a good toss, follow with crushed peanut powder. Add salt and sugar. Balance the taste so that its neither salty nor sweet. Give a taste test. Cover with a lid. Lower the flame and let it cook for about 8-10 minutes.
5. Once cooked, the pearls will turn translucent to almost opaque shade of color. Give a gentle toss. Check if done, turn off flame and enjoy while its hot. Garnish with reserve toasted peanuts.

Note - Cook in a non-stick pan. The pearls could at times stick to the pan. Avoid fiddling with it too much while its getting cooked, else it could turn mushy.

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