Mumbai leaves its stamp in more ways than one. The foodie in me loved the Zen simplicity of sabudana khichdi. It is also known as vrat khana (Hindu food for fasts).
Being far away from home for the last many years, I missed this Maharashtrian dish and had to make do with kind samplings from friends or colleagues (like once a year maybe?). But whenever I tried to make it, I always ended up with a congealed mass of stickiness that ended up in the bin. After I ate some in a false show of spirit.
After the long summer of 2011, December in Dubai means smaller days, colder nights and a craving for soul food. Did a lot of research on the net and remembered tips from friends. Finally I understood where I was going wrong. I was treating sabudana like dal (lentils) and soaking it in too much water. When I should have treated it like moong kept to sprout. With less water. Here is the new result.
Assemble a night before
1 cup sabudana (sago) – Peacock brand works for me
¼ cup roasted and cooled peanuts ground coarse
Wash the sabudana and soak in water – slightly less than the sago amount. Stir once every half hour before you go to sleep. You can roast and de-skin the peanuts while watching your night fix on telly.
Next morning assemble
½ tsp sugar
1/2 tbs salt (add more if you wish)
½ cup boiled potatoes with some salt (microwaving a potato for 3 mins speeds up process)
Some mustard seeds, half sprig of curry leaves
½ tsp cummin
1 green Thai chilly and a handful of dhania (cilantro) ground coarsely
½ tbs ghee but you can use oil (I like ghee)
Mix sabudana with salt, sugar, and coarsely ground peanuts. Heat oil. Add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add curry leaves and then cumin in quick succession. Stir for half a minute.
Add coarsely ground chilly and dhania and stir till you get a nice aroma. Add potatoes, sprinkle some salt on them and 1 tsp water, stir and close for 2 minutes.
Then add the sabudana mix and stir thoroughly. Add 5 tbs of water and close. It cooks with the steam and hence you can afford to use ghee. After five minutes, open lid and stir for a while. Taste for salt and serve hot with sweet black coffee.