Saboodana khichri

Saboodana khichri

Spiced sago with peanuts

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

This recipe I have to dedicate to Mr Bharat Boda of J P Boda and Co., who, sadly, is no longer around to enjoy this creation. He was one of our earliest guests and often asked me to make him this Khichri and I never obliged as I was too afraid to make it not having mastered it. It's too late to apologise but I hope you will enjoy making something so nourishing, unique and very tasty. Sago pearls are very commonly used across India and come in many forms. Khichri is a form of risotto and this is a great Indian classic, but hails from Maharashtra. I learned how to make it at a friend’s house in Bombay, of course. It is an anytime of the day snack, meal, or just something to comfort you.


Quantity Ingredient
400g large sago pearls
1 small coconut, grated
or 150g desiccated coconut
150-200g raw peanuts, without skins
2-3 tablespoons ghee or rapeseed oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 pink or banana shallots, very finely chopped
2 longish green chillies
5 cm piece fresh ginger
15-20 fresh curry leaves, finely shredded
1 large floury potato, boiled, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1/2 lime, juiced
salt, to taste
a handful coriander leaves, chopped

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
* makki ki roti [rid:9901]
or * chapattis [rid:9926]
chutney or cucumber raita


  1. Wash the sago balls in a bowl in not too much water, swirl then drain and repeat until the water is clear. Then leave to soak in just enough water to cover for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  2. If using desiccated coconut, soak in 150 ml water for 1 hour until soft and rehydrated and the water is absorbed.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spread the peanuts out on a baking tray and toast until you get them lightly browned (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Turn off the oven and leave inside until they become crunchy and toasted. Alternatively toss them in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until evenly golden then remove from the heat and leave until cold, stirring occasionally. Once toasted, crush coarsely in a clean coffee grinder or chop with a cleaver. A whirl or two in the grinder is often adequate but do not leave whole nuts.
  4. Blend the crushed peanuts and coconut into the sago pearls and toss to mix well.
  5. Heat the oil in a deep, flameproof casserole or a wok with a lid, add the cumin seeds and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant but not allowing them to burn. Add the shallots, green chillies and ginger and sauté for 3–4 minutes, or until the shallots are soft but not brown.
  6. Stir in the curry leaves, then add the sago mixture. Mix well with a spatula, add the potato and mix well again. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and let the khichri cook, gently stirring occasionally, until piping hot through.
  7. Sprinkle over the sugar, lime juice and a little salt. Mix well, taste and re-season, if necessary.
  8. Add plenty of chopped coriander, blend again taste and serve with the chapattis, chutney or raita – although I love it on its own.
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