At a different kind of milestone
A few months ago, I completed a year of my blog, and many of you wished me then. However, there is another day that is also very important to me, and that is the day when the blog really became public, because Manisha announced and endorsed it on her very popular blog. Until then, I was writing in my own little corner. A few friends who knew about it perhaps read it, but after that day, I was out there for the world to see. I got new readers, some of whom stop by regularly, made some new friends, and found out about many fascinating blogs, but I also suspect that there are some people who might be reading along, but have stayed silent so far for whatever reason. I do that too. So, on this day, I offer you the chance to delurk. Treat this as an open house, and come stop by. If you prefer to stay anonymous, tell me something about yourself. Or not, of course.
Since the post that Manisha linked to was a take on sabudana khichadi, I thought it was only fitting that this post should be about the classic, authentic sabudana khichadi, the real deal. It is truly one of my favorites, but the main thing about getting it right is the quality of sabudana, and how much water it absorbs. I even had one batch that practically turned to powder the minute I added water to it. Ever since, I have been mostly getting sabudana from our regular grocer in India, for the last few years. It sounds like a stretch, but then, on an average, I make sabudana khichadi only a few times in a year, and I want it be as perfect as it can be.
To test the quality, wash about a teaspoon of sabudana, and let it soak in a very small bowl, with just enough water for it to absorb. Cover, and let it sit for a few hours. Then separate the grains and press one of them gently to check. It should be soft and swollen, there should be no leftover water, and minimal powdery stuff. If not, you can use the batch to make sabudana wadas, thalipeeth, kheer, dahi sabudana, or something like that, which can be a lot more forgiving. With these parameters at hand, go ahead and soak a larger batch. Rinse the grains once, and then add just enough water to cover the grains, and not any more.
1 cup sabudana, soaked for several hours (or overnight) in minimal amount of water
1/2 cup of peanuts, coarsely powdered in a food processor
2 Tablespoons of grated coconut (optional)
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2-3 Tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
2-4 small green chilies
1 small boiled potato (optional)
4 stalks of cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
In a wide bowl, separate the sabudana gently with fork or finger. If there is too much powdery residue, shake off the sabudana in a sieve, and pour it back into the bowl. Add the peanuts, coconut, salt and sugar to the sabudana, and mix evenly.
Chop the chilies, about 1/2 inch wide. If using the potato, chop it into small pieces.
In a large and wide pan, 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 sabudana mix, and stir together until the grains get coated too. Keep stirring occasionally for about 10-15 minutes on medium high heat, until the sabudana is well cooked. The stirring is necessary to make sure that the grains do no clump together. If needed, you can add a little more ghee. When completely done, add in the cilantro. Best eaten right away.