Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sabudana Khichadi, is it really?

This is something I would have never blogged about if it hadn't been for desiknitter, and it is definitely not something I would tell purists either, who are likely to turn up their noses at what they hear.

IMG_3194_ed

First of all, sabudana is made of sago, and Israeli Couscous which is also called pearl couscous is a toasted pasta. They are similar in appearance and size, but sabudana is white in color while the couscous is more of a light beige. Sabudana by itself does not have a strong taste, but it has a chewy texture that is very similar to that of cooked pearl couscous.

Sabudana khichadi in my book is on a pedestal. It is something I adore so much that I wouldn't mess with it, even for experiment's sake. But for a long time now it has been quite difficult for me to consistently find good quality sabudana that I know will not get powdery when soaked in water or get clumpy. In order to make khichadi, the grains have to absorb water and plump up, and stay separate. I suffered through several bad batches of sabudana, and in the quest to find the good stuff, I thought it may not be so bad to try out the couscous, and happily, the experiment worked! In fact, if I didn't tell someone what my key ingredient was, I am confident they would not be able to tell the difference. Having said that, I have found that the sabudana bought in India has worked the best for me so far.

Sabudana Khichadi

To cook the couscous:

1-1/4 th cup of water
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ghee
1 cup of Israeli couscous

Heat the water in a small saucepan. When it comes to a boil, add the salt and ghee to it. Add the couscous, and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Then turn off the heat and cover the pan. When slightly cool, run a wooden spoon through the grains to separate them and spread them on a plate.

Once the couscous is cooked, I apply the classic, traditional sabudana khichadi formula to it.

For the khichadi:

1/2 cup of peanuts, coarsely powdered in a food processor
2 Tablespoons of grated coconut (optional)
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
2 Tablespoons of ghee
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
2-4 small green chilies, chopped
1 small boiled potato (optional)
4 stalks of cilantro, finely chopped

Add the peanuts, coconut, salt and sugar to the couscous on the plate and mix evenly. If using the potato, chop it into small pieces.

Heat the ghee, and add the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the chilies and stir for a few seconds. Add the potato and stir it around till it gets coated with ghee. Add the couscous, and stir it until it get coated too. If needed, you can add a little more ghee at this point. Stir for just a few more minutes, and then add in the cilantro. It is best eaten right away, but leftovers heated in the microwave are fine too.

For the authentic version, check this post.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

I tried it and was really good. Appreciate your recipe. Thanks.

Manisha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
evolvingtastes said...

Yes, Manisha, it is me. I had a feeling that you are going to find me. :)

Manisha said...

:-) WAY COOL!!!

BTW, good thing it's you otherwise I would have had to tell a friend about yet another stolen image that belongs to her... :-D

nina said...

Hi there, just had a question where do you get this couscous? i have never seen it in the grocery store?? i love sabudanna khichadi too but have to prepare to soak etc etc tis is way cool i have to try it. All the best with your blog

evolvingtastes said...

Thanks for your wishes, nina. Israeli couscous is available in my regular grocery store, in the kosher foods section. Have you looked there? If not there, then you can check to see if there is a Jewish/Middle Eastern/Russian, or Israeli (of course) store around you.

Nina said...

I have never looked in the kosher section but will now, Thank you so much .Looking forward to more great recipes.

Vee said...

Came here through Manisha's IFR. It's a darn good idea, but where have I seen this before?

Vee said...

Oh, don't bother. I just saw Manisha's comment! :D
LL makes more sense and triggers the memory! Welcome to the blogging world!

evolvingtastes said...

Thanks Vee. You are always welcome to stop by here.

Manisha said...

Vee, tyala mhantath tubelight!! :-D

gudy2shuz said...

amazing! while all that couscous was lying around, like a fool i was running around trying to find sabudana. i'm gonna try it out today!

evolvingtastes said...

gudy2shuz, let me know how it turns out. Congratulations on getting published - I liked your essay 'Night'. From the last paragraph, I assume you wrote that when you were in Israel. Do you still live there?

gudy2shuz said...

well, i'm still in israel, though for just another month. ive a daughter who is going to the TENTH grade & i'm taking her back to face the grind of board exams! i've been writing for a while, i write a column called the tel aviv diary in the hindustan times every other week, besides a bit here & there. looking forward to more such stuff from you.
can you do a simple version of the mouth watering lal bhopla with sesame seeds and peanuts? i love that stuff, but can never get the proportions right.

evolvingtastes said...

gudy, thanks for the intro. While I cook lal bhopla in many different ways, I haven't had one with sesame seeds and peanuts. Sounds fabulous! How do you make it?

gudy2shuz said...

its called lal bhoplyachi bakar bhaji. you dice the pumpkin, roast together some dry coconut, khus khus, peanuts and sesame seeds. grind the stuff into a coarse powder. make a phodni of mustard seeds, hing and haldi, saute the pumpkin in it for a bit, cover and cook, then add the powder, some jaggery, red chilli powder and salt. garnish with coriander powder. its easy enough, but getting the mixture of sweet/spicy/nutty is at the heart of the puzzle. my recipie calls for 'andajani' tikhat, muthbhar that etc. not very helpful for the culinary challenged, even though it makes perfect sense to aaji!
and thanks a ton! i tried the couscous in khichadi, superb! that is the sort of innovation that takes indian food to sublime levels...

gudy2shuz said...

voops not coriander powder but coriander leaves! my mistake!

gudy2shuz said...

perhaps there should be some tamarind in it?

evolvingtastes said...

gudy, thanks, I have heard of the bakar bhaji, so now I have a good idea of what it is and I will surely try to figure out some proportions. I also use the sesame-peanut-dried coconut combination in many dishes, so that should be fairly easy. Even then there are likely to be so many variations, no? Does your Aai have a recipe - I know, it is hard to get the exact quantities from them mothers. :-)

And I am so glad, you liked the substitute khichadi!

gudy2shuz said...

nope, her recipie is like, if you have charoli put in some and so on. she more or less makes it up as she goes along.

evolvingtastes said...

Ah ok. I just noticed that you said 'Aaji' not 'Aai'. Pumpkin season is nearly ending here, but let me try. If something good comes out of this, you will see it on the blog.

Suganya said...

I am really a lot abt Israeli couscous. I dont have a Mediterranean store near my house :(

evolvingtastes said...

Hi Suganya, was this a typo? I am guessing you meant something like "I am reading a lot abt Israeli couscous." (or something else?)

Depending on where you live and shop, I would suggest looking in the kosher food section of your local grocery store.

evolvingtastes said...

btw, Suganya I just saw your blog and your photos are fabulous.

Suganya said...

Tht is a typo.. Sorry :D.. Will check in the kosher aisles then.. Thx for the compliments :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there
Cant thank you enough for this tip. I was so frustrated with the 'indian store' sabudana disintegrating in water that I typed 'bad sabudana' in google! I'm glad I did...
For those who cannot find this couscous: I bought it from the loose whole grains section in whole foods.

evolvingtastes said...

Hello Anonymous (I find it funny to call someone Anonymous, but anyway), glad to be help. Who knew that typing 'bad sabudana' could be so miraculous, hmmm? :-)

Anjali said...

ET, one more kudos to add to all the others re this recipe with couscous. Fabuolus texture and taste, and so much easier to make khichadi this way! Thanks.

evolvingtastes said...

Anjali, thanks for letting me know that it worked for you. Glad to be of help.

Amanda said...

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I tried it this morning, and it was superb. I have always had issues with the sabudana you get here (it always turns out gummy), so this substitution was fabulous. And the amount was perfect too -- just enough for brunch for two people. We sprinkled a little sev on top too, for a nice crunch :)

For anyone looking for this couscous, I found it at Whole Foods Market in the bulk section. They call it Middle Eastern couscous (and it's very reasonably priced too!).

Thanks again. Can't wait to try out more of your recipes.

best,
amanda

evolvingtastes said...

Amanda, it is always gratifying to hear such a response from someone after they have tried out a recipe. Thanks for letting me know. Look forward to hearing more from you.

Sangeeta said...

Was just reading about the bhoplaychi bhaji comments. My mother-in-law actually makes a slight variation of this bhaji, I guess upvas type bhaji. She basically boils the cut bhopla slightly and then for phodni cummin seeds, hing, kadipatta, and tup(ghee). Later add the bhopla, cook for a while and add water, peanut powder, salt, tamrind, jaggery(little) . Peanut powder is used as a thickening agent.
my 1 cent :)

evolvingtastes said...

Sangeeta, I was eventually able to find the bakar bhaji that gudy was looking for, and I blogged about it
here, but thanks for your recipe of the upasachi bhopla bhaji too - sounds delicious.

प्रिया said...

I tried this today. Thought it was a cool thing to try :)Tell me, is this picture of a real sabudana khichadi or the couscous version of it? If this is the couscous version, mine looked nothing like it. But it tasted good.

Actually the couscous grain in your picture also looks slightly bigger than what I got. I got mine from Target. I cooked it in exact proportions that you have recommended, but I thought 4-5 minutes was too much time for cooking. Mine absorbed all the water in less than a couple of minutes, and started sticking to the bottom of the pan so I had to take it off the heat immediately. The grains were separate, but not as separate as sabudana. And much smaller, ofcourse. Do you think I did something wrong, or didn't get the right kind of couscous? It tasted good though, so can't complain! :)

evolvingtastes said...

प्रिया, hi! From your description it sounds to me like you got regular couscous, which usually cooks up very quickly, and is quite tiny in size. The one that I am referring to in my post is called Israeli couscous or pearl couscous, usually found in the kosher section of most supermarkets. The cooking times might vary a little by brand, so its best to check the packet for instructions, but it is very similar to sabudana in size and texture.

As for the picture, it is of the khichadi made with the israeli couscous. Reminds me of the shampoo commercial, 'if you can't tell the difference, then why should i'. haha. :)

प्रिया said...

ET, you should, you should! Because that's what makes it cool! ;-)

Anyway, Thanks for your reply. I will find the Israeli couscous and try this again. You know, the one that I made out of the regular couscous reminded me of another Maharastrian fasting food - वरईचा भात! It's size and texture was so similar to varai, you just have to make it a little more soggy :) I am sure this regular couscous will go very well with the traditional Maharashtrian style peanut आमटी! It can't be eaten as fasting food though, coz its made out of wheat.

evolvingtastes said...

प्रिया, agadi barobar - regular couscous is very much like varyache tandul. danyachi amti with it sounds fab - now why didn't I think of this before!! For a change, I sometimes use it instead of rawa to make it upma style - much faster, because there is no need to spent time roasting the grains. With carrots and peas it can become a quick meal too.

प्रिया said...

Yeah, I too thought couscous was great Upma-material! :-)

Bombay-Bruxelles said...

Thanks for your nice comment on my post on puran polis - we do know each other through AS though :-) and I see Manisha has found you too ;-)

Ginger said...

Thanks so much! I had sabudana at Delhi Haat years ago and have been missing it ever since! We keep strictly kosher at home so this will work out great! I can't wait to try! Do you happen to know what recipe the Orissa (i think it was, but it has been a while) stall in Delhi Haat uses?

evolvingtastes said...

Ginger, you are welcome! Mine is a classic Maharashtrian sabudana khichadi recipe. Try it and let me know if it like what you have tasted before.

Sahana Shyam said...

Loved the taste of couscous. Tanx for sharing!!

evolvingtastes said...

Thanks for stopping by to let me know, Sahana! I appreciate it.

samia hussain said...

nice post

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