Sabudana Khichdi (Savoury Sago Porridge)

Food that rekindles memories…

FullSizeRender (58)

One thing I miss most about my school days are summer holidays. Every year without fail once our final exams finished we would be excitedly packing our bags to go to Shimla, it’s where two of my most favourite women in the world live. My Massi (Aunty) and Beeji (Grandma). Not just that it’s where time and time again I devour the best food. Food that is cooked with boundless love. I will be featuring all these recipes on the blog but for now lets talk about this Sabudana Khichdi aka Savoury Sago Pudding, one word – AMAZING!

Sago is used around the world typically for puddings and porridge (both sweet and savoury). If you are using Sago for the first time, it can be a little tricky getting the consistency right. It depends on the type of Sago you are using – some require soaking for three to four hours and other requires soaking overnight. Here in Melbourne I use the brand called ‘India at Home’, which requires soaking overnight and is available at most Indian grocers.

In India Sago is popularly used when fasting on holy days. Yes, as a nation we believe one of the ways to appease our 365 million Gods and Goddesses is by fasting. There are some fasts where you can’t eat or drink all through the day and there are others which are slightly liberal, they allow you to relish fresh fruits and tasty delicacies like sabudana khichdi. Don’t worry you don’t have to fast to enjoy sabudana khichdi.

My first memory of enjoying this dish was in Shimla when Massi made it for breakfast once. We all loved it so much that it became a frequent affair for breakfast and other times as an afternoon tea snack. Even today one bite of this dish transports me back to the beautiful surrounds of Shimla with my most favourite women in the world. 

Moving on, sago in itself doesn’t have much flavour but when spiced up with green chillies, fresh coriander, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, tossed with potatoes and peanuts, it just reaches a whole new level.

IMG_0979

Ingredients: 10  Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 1.5 cups of Sago (pre-soaked)
  • Two medium boiled potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Three to four green chillies, chopped
  • 0.5 bunch of coriander (leaves and stems), finely chopped
  • One cup of peanuts, roasted
  • One teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • One teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • One tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Two tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt to season

In preparation for this dish wash the sago pearls under running cold water till the water runs clear. Soak the it in enough water for two to three hours or overnight, depending on the type of Sago. After it’s soaked, the pearls will swell up becoming almost triple in size. Drain any excess water using a strainer, this is very important step to avoid the pearls sticking together. To test that the sago has adequately soaked, press one soaked pearl between your finger and thumb, it should mash very easily without any effort.

IMG_0978

To cook – heat oil in a skillet. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add the green chillies and coriander stem.

IMG_0973

Add the boiled potatoes, toss the potatoes to coat them in the spices and cook for five minutes, until slightly crispy.

Now add the roasted peanuts, lemon juice and season with salt as required.

IMG_0977

Finally add the sago pearls and mix gently. Cook the sago pearls for five to seven minutes until transparent. Make sure to keep tossing the sago pearls so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Your Sabudana Khichdi aka Savoury Sago Porridge is now ready! Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with a cup of masala chai (find the LSD masala chai recipe here).

Enjoy!

FullSizeRender (59)

Masala Chai

Chai from the Subcontinent – the smarter version…

Chai latte is no chai. Yes it is delicious, but far from making an impression on a chai purist. If you are one you already know what I talking about and if you aren’t well this post is just for you. This post is also for all my Indian girlfriends. After all for an Indian mother there is no bigger worry than if her daughter cannot make a cup of tea, I mean after all who will marry her? So read on girlfriends and chai enthusiasts.

Chai as it is known in the subcontinent is another word for tea, which is derived from Mandarin Chinese word chá ().  I know right we have so much to thank the Chinese for!! Chai or popularly known as masala (spiced) chai is traditionally a sweet hot tea made from spices and milk to enrich it.

 

I was first introduced to chai when I was about 12 and there has been no turning back since. On a cold winter morning in Shimla, where I was visiting my Beeji (aka Grandma) and Massi (aka Aunt), I suddenly found myself surrounded with the beautiful aromas of the black tea leaves bubbling away on the stove and the sounds of the mortar and pestle crushing the intricately fragrant cardamom. Before I knew it in minutes emerged this cup of everything that is good in the world, my first cup of chai.

There isn’t one perfect time or occasion to indulge in a cup of chai. I religiously need a cup of chai to kick start my morning, at least another two or three cups to get through the day and you know what you can drink it guilt free because dude its chai not coffee.

So there are two ways of doing this and depends on how much time you have! I have the purist version and the smarter version. I find the smarter version gets you to the same result and is a one pot wonder so let’s go with the smarter version.

Ingredients: 7   Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4
  • Three black tea bags
  • Two large cardamom pods
  • One medium chunk of crushed ginger
  • One cinnamon stick
  • Two to three cloves
  • Milk
  • Sugar or honey to taste

In a tea pot add the tea bags. I use the tetley extra strong tea bags. Now add crushed cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Add hot water and let the tea brew for about two to three minutes. Once brewed add milk depending on how strong or milky you like your tea.

Finally season with sugar or honey. I normally dont sweeten the tea as I believe it takes away the flavour of all the other ingredients. So if you can avoid sweetners, please do.

There you have it!! Your cup of everything good in the world, your cup of chai.