Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sabudana Khichdi - Indian Style Tapioca with Peanuts and Potatoes

This recipe is a lovely mix of flavors and textures.  There is the chewiness of the tapioca, the bite of the crunchy peanut pieces, the softness of the fluffy potato chunks, and the tangy and spicy flavors which surprisingly combine so well with the peanut taste.  This dish would normally be served for breakfast or as a snack in India.  Healthy - not so much.  It's a carbohydrate festival with a bit of protein from some peanuts.  Tasty and awesome as a treat - yes. 

Sabudana Khichdi
Makes 3-4 servings

1.5 cups pearl tapioca (measured before soaking)
2/3 cup peanuts, finely chopped
Potatoes equal in volume to soaked tapioca, cooked, peeled and gently crushed by hands into pieces
1-2 tbsp canola oil
2 small green chilis, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp amchoor
Salt to taste (approximately 1 tsp- more or less depending on whether your peanuts are salted or not)
Small handful cilantro, finely chopped

1.  The tapioca should be soaked approximately 12 hours before it is cooked.  To soak the tapioca, first wash it a couple of times.  Then, place the tapioca in a bowl, and just cover it with water.  You should not be able to see additional water floating on top of the tapioca.  Cover the bowl.  Just before cooking, use hands to break apart the tapioca so that it is in individual little pearls.
2.  Heat the oil in a wide bottom pan.  Add cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle for a few seconds until they become aromatic.
3.  Add the green chilis, allowing them to sizzle in the oil for a few seconds.
4.  Add the peanuts.  Stir the mixture frequently and watch the peanuts froth and brown slightly.
5.  When the peanuts have reached a light golden color, add the potatoes.  Continue to stir frequently for a few minutes.  I like it when the potatoes and peanuts get slightly browned and look quite golden.
6.  Add the pearl tapioca, sugar, salt, and amchoor.  Stir until well combined.  At this point you can taste the mixture.  For more spiciness, add some red chili powder (cayenne pepper), and for more sour flavor, add more amchoor or a squeeze of lime. 
7.  Turn off the heat.  Add the cilantro and stir until well distributed.
8.  Serve immediately.  The more time the tapioca has to sit in a heated dish, the more it will start to stick together.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make the texture significantly more chewy.