I have to admit this: I am really ashamed of myself considering that I refused to taste this when one of my room mates from Mumbai, the sweetest one that I had, offered to cook this for dinner one day 😦 She said “Sabu Daana Kichidi” and I said “No no, I don’t like sabu…..” Now, I understand how she must have felt when I said that – I do hate it when people don’t give a recipe a chance due to pre-conceived notions or because of a bad first experience. You see I remember having sabu daana in some form other than kheer and crisps when I was really young…it was pearly, sticky and clung to my mouth and teeth, what any school going kid would term as “Ewwwww…..” This stayed in my head and sabu daana in anything other than kheers and home made crisps were bad……
I happened to taste the kichadi again 3 years later when a colleague of mine got it for lunch. It looked completely different from what I imagined it to be and much better than my childhood experience!! I was skeptical but then accepted the offer to try it out and boy were my eyes opened to this delicious recipe!! I remembered my room-mate “S” and mentally apologized to her immediately! I learnt that this was the most popular dish that was used to break a fast and was extremely popular in Maharashtrian kitchens..
I got the recipe and honestly my male colleague did not do such a good job of giving it to me properly. I went through 2 bad trials and a lot of googling later I finally got the dish right!! I guess it was a kind of punishment meted out to the one that had refused this tasty dish in the first place!
Needless to say, this was introduced at home and approved! Thank God!! And since then this dish makes an appearance every now and then in my kitchen. Since it requires some kind of prep time and considering that I never have enough time, I am sad to say that this dish makes only blue moon appearances which is such a pity!! Give it a go at least once and if you are not a finicky eater you will be sure to love this Maharashtrian dish not known to many hard core Chennaites! This recipe first made its appearance of my other blog out here and after my recent re-creation of the recipe again recently I had to write about it. This recipe should serve 3-4. I used to make this quantity even when I lived alone, just so that I could continue to eat it for few days 🙂 This dish is not naturally spicy and in case you want more heat, just adjust the amount of chilli powder / chillies
What you need
- 1 cup of dry sabu daana grains.
These look like tiny pretty white pearls. Wash the pearls in water about 3-4 times until they loose a lot of the white starch. Then soak them in water for about an hour. Drain all the water and add enough water such that it reached just above the level of the grains and allow the pearls to soak for about 8 hours. Soaking them overnight would be your best option. When the pearls have soaked well, they could collapse even when you press them very gently. Drain off any excess water and you are good to go.
My mom dry roasts the pearls before soaking them. She feels that this helps them to soak better and more quickly. Of course she uses the same quantity of water as I do.
- 1 cup of roasted peanut powder. The peanuts should be roasted and skinned. Just run them in a mixer to get a dry powder. It need not necessarily be a fine powder. We like some crunch peanuts in there too
- 2 big potatoes – peeled and diced
- 2-3 green chillies chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds – I don’t recall if this was a part of the original recipe either. But have been doing this since day 1…
- a pinch of asafoetida or hing
- Few curry leaves chopped well
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder – Now, I do not recall if this was a part of the original recipe. But I added it once and loved the taste so it became a part of my recipe 🙂
- 2-3 tsp Ghee / clarified butter
According to the colleague who gave me the recipe, this dish is entirely made in ghee!! But me being be with my fear of saturated fats, I use ghee and olive oil in equal parts! If your body can afford the ghee I’d say just forget the olive oil and cook with the ghee! The taste would be worth every calorie
- 2-3 tsp olive oil
- Cilantro / coriander / fresh daniya – finely chopped
- 1 tsp sugar
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon. I am referring to a small lemon here and not a gigantic one
Getting it done:
- Heat your favorite non-stick kadai and add the ghee and olive oil to it. When the mix is hot enough, add the cumin and mustard seeds, the hing, chopped green chilles and curry leaves and saute for a few seconds
Add the diced potatoes, some salt (to speed the cooking), turmeric, coriander and chilli powders and cook well until the potatoes are cooked! They should break when you run your spatula through them….In case you are strapped for time, just add a few drops of water to the potatoes and cover the kadai with a lid and cook for sometime. Keep checking in on the potatoes until they are fully cooked. It is important to note that the potatoes do not turn mushy….
- At this stage check for salt and then add the peanut powder and mix well. The mixture would have a pretty yellow color at this stage and the peanuts would have imparted a nice smell to the kichadi in progress
- Add the sugar and mix well – Apparently the sugar is supposed to bring out the taste of the sabu daana which is essentially made out of tapioca
- Next add the drained, sabu daana and mix gently such that the potato and peanut mixture coat the grains well. Do not over mix or keep mixing as they will turn mushy! Just mix them gently and allow them to cook on low – medium heat When the start cooking, the tiny sabu pears will start turning translucent…keep the kichidi a gentle mix over 5 minutes until there are loads of transparent pearls throughout the mixture.
- Add the coriander and mix well
- Switch off the gas – mix the lemon juice and gently mix (make sure your vessel does not react with the lemon – I usually wait for about 10 minutes so that vessel can cool down a bit)
Your kichidi is read to be consumed with some mouth watering pickle of your choice!! The natural flavor of the tapioca grains with potatoes and the nutty and subtly sweet taste of the peanuts will definitely set a host of flavours loose on your tongue….a harmless treat for any foodie especially once that has fasted!! I love to carry this for lunch in my dabba too 🙂