All of the pleasure, none of the guilt

We used to have a house help, whose forte was making Maharashtrian snacks for breakfast. Of which Sabudana Khichdi (henceforth referred to as SK), was my favourite. But what she lacked in, was consistency. Some days her SK scored a perfect 10 on our Lickter Scale and we delighted in the translucent smoothness of the tapioca pearls that separated easily. On other days, it was a sticky, gooey mess. She then blamed us for not soaking the sabudana correctly. Which is why, I always thought that sabudana was a troublesome ingredient to work with.

But, when the pandemic struck and lock down was enforced, I ventured into the kitchen to put my fear of sabudana to rest. Google threw up many recipes for SK, and I latched on to one by the legendary Tarla Dalal. To my delight, she recommended soaking the sago pearls for just 2 hours. So, I took the plunge one morning at 6 am. Two hours and ten minutes later, I had a pan full of perfect, translucent non-sticky SK. When my Maharashtrian wife and her father, gave it a thumbs up, I knew I would never need to fear sabudana again.

Sabudana Vada, was next on my to-be-conquered-list. But the deep frying put me off. Then one day, we bought a Paniyaram pan and soon after, an Instagram post threw up an ingenious idea for making Sabudana Vadas in a Paniyaram pan. I was hooked and Sabudana Vadas were cooked. Just a brush stroke of oil and I got these amazing golden spheres of deliciousness. Crisp outside, soft inside.

All it needed was some of Aazol's Solapuri Peanut Chutney, to complete the experience. What a perfect way to add some more zing to our sabudana breakfast.

 Solapuri Peanut Chutney | Aazol

Here is the recipe for the Paniyaram Sabudana Vadas:

Ingredients

  • Sabudana – 1 cup
  • Potatoes – 4 medium
  • Green Chilles – 1-2, chopped fine
  • Jeera – 1 tsp
  • Roasted peanuts -1/2 cup, coarsely ground
  • Coriander leaves - 2 tbsps, chopped fine
  • Sugar – a generous pinch
  • Limboo juice – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Sufficient oil to brush each ‘cup’ of the paniyaram pan.

Method

  • Gently wash the sabudana, in a colander, under running water, till the starch runs out.
  • Soak it in ¾ cup of water for 2 hours. Just before use, check to see that is crushes easily between the fingers, if it is still hard add a little more water and soak longer. Then drain it and ensure no water is retained.
  • Boil the potatoes well and mash them to a smooth consistency. Add them to the drained sago pearls.
  • Add the remaining ingredients from the list (up to oil). Mix till well combined.
  • Make little spheres, to fit your Paniyaram cups.
  • Brush each ‘cup’ of the Paniyaram Pan with oil and heat the pan. When it’s hot, drop a ball in each cup. Wait for it to turn golden, (when ready they will leave the sides of the pan), then brush the top of the spheres and turn them over, to let the other side cook.
  • Take them off, when golden all over. Then enjoy them hot with Aazol’s Solapuri Peanut Chutney.

My adventures with sabudana continue. But more in my next blog.

Author: Mark Mathai