I have discovered that my passion for cooking surfaces mostly towards the year-end when it rains and the climate is cold. Why the rains, you ask? I grew up in India and one thing you must know about India – its seasons: Hot, hotter and hottest with the monsoon season somewhere in the middle :) I love the monsoon season in India. As a kid, that meant holiday at school when it rained cats and dogs. India is a tropical country and when one says raining cats and dogs means it pouring down hard and will most likely cause flooding.
I enjoyed going up to the terrace to enjoy the first rain of the season. The rains not only brought out the earthworms and snails, it also brought out the beautiful smell of the Earth, the melodious music of nature.
When it rains so hard that we’re forced to take a break from school and work and stay indoors, it means only one thing – family, friends, fun and food. That’s another thing to note about Indians, they never miss an opportunity to get together with friends and/or family to chat and laugh over food and drinks. Especially during the monsoons, it is very common to enjoy some chai with hot snacks such as kaanda bhajji (onion fritters), vada pav and sabudana khichdi. This morning I woke up the wonderful pitter patter of the rain drops on the roof. It reminded me of home and so after getting out of bed and quickly scanning through my pantry, I decided to make me some masala chai and sabudana khichdi. I am going to share with you the recipe for this regional dish, originating in the state of Maharashtra, India. Growing up in Mumbai (city in Maharashtra) one becomes a Maharashtrian by association :)
Sago is not a good source of fiber or vitamins, but it is low in fat and has small amounts of protein. It is high in carbohydrate content, so it is good if you’re looking to go running the next morning or if you’ve had it for lunch, then an evening run should be effective as far as fuel is concerned :) But yeah, if you’re on a diet, then you probably want to stay away from this calorie demon. This snack is super low on the oil content (not fried, only oil required is for tempering) and one can add veggies to this snack to make it healthier.
Here is the recipe:
Serves 2 to 3 people
- Sago – 1 cup (soaked overnight or at least 6 hours)
- Oil – 2 Tbsp
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Asafoetida – 1 pinch
- Curry leaves – 3 to 4
- Green chilli – 1 to 2 finely chopped
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Juice of 1 small to medium sized lime (as per preference)
- Sugar (I used brown sugar) – 1/2 Tbsp (or to taste)
- Coconut – 1/3 cup
- Cilantro (corriander) – for garnishing as per your preference
- Roasted peanuts – 1/3 to 1/4 cup coarsely ground
Method of Preparation:
Wash and then soak the sago balls in about 1/2 cup of water overnight, however if you’re pressed for time, then about 4 hours should be fine with occasional stirring to mix it such that all the sago balls equally absorb water. When the sabudana (sago) have been soaked long enough, they become bigger in size and very soft. Take a mesh or strainer to get rid of excess water. Then lay a kitchen paper towel on a plate and spread the sabudana in a single layer on it to get rid of any water that wasn’t drained. Let it sit while you temper the other ingredients. In a pan (or kadhai), add the 2 Tbsp of oil. Add mustard seeds to it, as soon as the mustard seeds start cracking, add cumin, fenugreek, turmeric powder and Asafoetida. Finish off with curry leaves and green chilli. Now add the sabudana and mix well. Turn the gas back on, while constantly stirring. Add the peanuts and coconut. Mix well. Finally add the sugar, salt and lime. Mix well. In order to let all the flavors be absorbed by the sabudana, keep the flame on for another 5/8 minutes. Remember to keep stirring. Now turn off the flame and garnish it with cilantro. It is ready to be served. What gives sabudana khichdi its flavor is the sweet-n-sour (tangy) blend of sugar and lime and the crunchiness of roasted peanuts.