A healthier Sabudana Khichdi recipe – Tapioca pearls/Sago cooked with potatoes, carrots, green peas, and crushed peanuts. This popular vegan and gluten-free dish is like a pilaf or upma made with tapioca pearls. Enjoy it for breakfast or an afternoon snack with tea.

Sabudana Khichdi in a white bowl
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I grew up in Mumbai (still Bombay for me), and Sabudana Khichdi was a favorite for breakfast. This khichdi is so easy to make and is so flavorful. You will instantly fall in love with it. Serve it with a side of chilled yogurt for a perfect treat!

Sabudana Khichdi is also popular all over India as one of the staple foods during the Navratri fast (see notes if making this recipe for fast).

Even though this recipe is easy to make, the tricky part is getting the sabudana soaked correctly, so that the pearls remain separate and don’t turn the khichdi mushy. Here, I will share all my tips and tricks to make the perfect Sabudana Khichdi.

What is Sabudana?

Sabudana is called Tapioca or Sago pearls in English.

Sabudana is made from the starch that is extracted from tapioca roots. This is then processed to form spherical pearls that may vary in size. The pearls are produced by passing the moist starch through a sieve under pressure and then dried.

Many people ask – Is Sabudana healthy? Sabudana is not a nutrient-rich food, but is a rich source of carbohydrates. This may be the reason why it is included in fasting diets in India.

Check out my sabudana vada and sabudana kheer recipe.

What to add to Sabudana Khichdi?

Usually, sabudana khichdi is made mainly with potatoes, sabudana, and peanuts. As you can imagine, it is very carb-heavy. This is a variation I learned from my mom, where we add grated carrots, green peas, and potatoes to make it healthier. You could also completely leave out potatoes, to reduce the carb content.

That said, if you are making it for fast, only add the potatoes, sabudana, and peanuts. Also, make sure to use sendha namak (rock salt) in place of table salt.

How to Soak Sabudana?

  • Start with rinsing sabudana in a colander until the water runs clear. This is important to get rid of the starch.
  • Now, transfer the rinsed sabudana to a bowl and add water. For 1-1/2 cups of sabudana, I add 1 cup of water.
  • Let the sabudana soak in the water for about 6-8 hours. It is best to leave it overnight and make the khichdi for breakfast.
  • The sabudana will have soaked up all the water. If there is any liquid, drain it completely.
  • Press a sabudana pearl in between your fingers, and it should smash easily. This shows that sabudana is perfectly soaked.
How to soak sabudana perfectly - Step by step

If the sabudana is soaked in excess water, then your khichdi will turn lumpy and sticky. So make sure to follow the steps for soaking the tapioca pearls.

Can I make Instant Sabudana Khichdi without soaking it overnight?

This has happened to me many times, and I have tried with many unsuccessful attempts to make sabudana khichdi.

One thing that worked was a variation of the method shared by The Chutney Life. Soak sabudana in boiling hot water for about 45 minutes to an hour. Use the same amount of water as mentioned in the recipe. After 45 minutes, spread the sabudana in a large tray to let it dry for about 15 minutes before using.

The sabudana pearls are not as perfect and separated as the overnight soaking method, but they are pretty good for the quick soak time. I would love to hear your experience if you try this method.

Tips to make non-sticky Sabudana Khichdi

  • The most important thing to make non-sticky Sabudana Khichdi is soaking the sabudana well, as shown above. Once the soaking time is complete, there will be no excess water left.
  • The other ingredient that helps with keeping the khichdi non-sticky is crushed peanuts. Roast peanuts and coarsely crush them. If using a grinder, keep a tab on the consistency and pulse them coarsely (not to a fine powder).

How to make Sabudana Khichdi?

  • Heat oil in a pan on medium-high flame and add oil to it.  Then add cumin seeds and green chili to it. If you like, you can also add a few curry leaves.
  • Add diced potatoes and cook for a few minutes. It is important to cut the potatoes into small pieces, about 1/2 inch or less. We want the potatoes to be more than halfway cooked.
  • Now add grated carrots and green peas (if using). I am using frozen green peas, which cook quickly; hence adding them after the potatoes are cooked works well. If you are using fresh green peas, add them along with potatoes.
  • Reduce to low-medium flame. Then add sabudana, ground peanuts, salt, and sugar and mix well.
  • Cover with a lid and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Open the lid and stir. Cook for a couple more minutes without a lid.
How to make Sabudana Khichdi Step by step

When the sabudana is cooked, pearls should be translucent and not sticky. Remove pan from heat.

Mix the juice of one lemon and garnish with cilantro. Serve hot for breakfast or as a snack.

Sabudana Khichdi / Upma in a pan garnished with cilantro

How to Serve?

Enjoy this delicious sabudana khichdi with chutney and chai.

In some regions, sabudana khichdi is served with plain yogurt and pickle.

Healthy Sabudana Khichdi with carrots and peas in a white bowl

How to Store & Reheat?

It is best to serve sabudana khichdi right away when cooked. However, if there are any leftovers, you can store them for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop. Sprinkle some water, so the sabudana khichdi does not dry out.

More Indian Breakfast Recipes You’ll Love

4.84 from 12 votes

Sabudana Khichdi (Easy, Healthy Recipe)

A healthier Sabudana Khichdi recipe – Tapioca pearls/Sago cooked with potatoes, carrots, green peas and crushed peanuts. This popular vegan and gluten free dish is like a pilaf or upma made with tapioca pearls. Enjoy it for breakfast or an afternoon snack with tea.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1-1/2 cup Sabudana or Sago, washed
  • 1 cup Water, for soaking
  • 2 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera), (optional)
  • 2-3 Green Chili Pepper, finely chopped, adjust to taste
  • 1 Potato, cut in small pieces, 7oz
  • 1 Carrot, grated, optional
  • 1/2 cup Green peas, I used frozen, optional
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sugar, optional
  • 1 tablespoon Lime juice
  • 1/4 cup Peanuts, roasted and coarsely grinded
  • Cilantro, for garnishing

Instructions 

  • Wash sabudana in a colander until water runs clear. Transfer to a bowl and soak in water overnight or for 6-8 hours. Most of the water should be soaked when you are ready to cook. If there is any leftover water, drain it using a colander. To check if the sabudana is ready, press a pearl in between your fingers, and it should mash easily.
  • Heat a pan on medium-high heat and add oil. When the oil is heated, add cumin seeds and green chili to it. 
  • Once the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add the diced potatoes. The potatoes will take about 5 minutes to get cooked and lightly browned. You can cover with a lid for the initial 2-3 minutes to expedite the cooking.
  • Then, if using, add the grated carrots and green peas and cook for another 2 minutes. If using fresh green peas, add them along with the potatoes, so they are cooked well.
  • Add the soaked sabudana, crushed peanuts, salt and sugar. Mix well. 
  • Change to low-medium flame, cover with a lid and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes. Open and stir, then cook again for couple more minutes without a lid. Do not overcook.
  • When the sabudana is cooked, the pearls should be translucent, not sticky. Remove pan from heat.
  • Mix the juice of one lemon and garnish with cilantro. Serve hot for breakfast or as a snack.

Notes

For fasting: Skip carrots and green peas and use sendha namak (rock salt).
Pro-tips: 
  • You can check if the sabudana is soaked well, by mashing it between your fingers.  It should get easily mashed.  
  • You can roast peanuts in a pan or in the microwave.  I usually roast in the microwave.  Keep them for 1 minute at a time for up to 2 minutes and 30-second intervals after that.  It is good to keep monitoring the progress, so they don’t get burnt.  Let them cool down before crushing.  
  • The final result should not be sticky, as the ground peanuts help to keep the sabudana separated and also add a wonderful taste.  
Instant Sabudana Khichdi without overnight soaking: One thing that worked was a variation of the method shared by The Chutney Life. Soak sabudana in boiling hot water for about 45 minutes to an hour. Use the same amount of water as mentioned in the recipe. After 45 minutes, spread the sabudana in a large tray to let it dry for about 15 minutes before using. The sabudana pearls are not as perfectly separated as the overnight soaking method, but they are pretty good for the quick soak time. 

Nutrition

Calories: 208kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 4gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 697mgPotassium: 170mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2686IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 1mg

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Dairy-free, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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13 Comments

  1. hi Meeta,

    I wanted to ask how you prepare the sweet yogurt that is served alongside this dish. I believe the bombay-ites serve it this way. pls let me know if u have done it. thank u!

    1. Hi Swati – Great question. I have never made sabudana that way, so cannot say if it will work. I feel that they can get very sticky if cooked directly.

    1. Hey Kiara – Yes, it is the same sabudana khichdi. Today I did not add carrots, green peas, and made it in a pan on stovetop. I have added instructions for stovetop to the recipe. Hope you enjoy it!

  2. Meeta, I followed the instructions (instant pot) but the kichidi was still sticky. Any ideas as to what went wrong for me?

    1. Hey – Sorry to hear that the Khichdi was sticky. It depends a lot on the quality of the sabudana. I have had bad luck with sabudana many times too. You can try adding more ground peanuts and cook on sauté (low) for a few minutes while stirring frequently, in case that helps to salvage the Khichdi you made.

      1. Dear Meeta,
        I make this very often & it’s always a hit. Here are some tips.
        Do not add any water when you cook the sabudana. you will see the sago pearls turn transparent when it cooks.
        When you soak the sabudana, make sure the water level is just above the sago (ie there is enough water) Soak for at least 4 hours & you will see the pearls all fluffed up
        Finally, make sure you drain all the water away. Use a colander. After that, you can even spread the fluffed up pearls over a towel.
        Normally I cook potatoes separately, and add into the dish in the end.
        You will never experience sticky sabudana again. Also do not use extra oil because the pearls will never absorb the oil and your dish will get oily.
        Try making this again. All the best. Meena ?