What Makes Sago So Good

What Makes Sago So Good

From the healthy khichdi to indulgent vadas - sabudana recipes you need to bookmark now

You might be surprised to know that sabudana is not that ancient, after all. The spongy foodstuff made its way to India only in the late 19th century as exports from Singapore and Malaysia. They became an integral part of Indian cuisine thereafter. The initial production of sabudana can be traced back to Salem, Tamil Nadu and is said to have begun sometime in the 1940's. That could be the reason why most of the country’s sabudana comes from the south.

Also known as sago or tapioca pearls, sabudana is prepared from the starch of tapioca or cassava plant roots and processed to form the final product. Sabudana is rich in carbohydrates due to its high starch content, making it the perfect ingredient for consumption during fasts. It is an excellent source of energy, light on the stomach and easy to digest. Shabnam Minwalla, a journalist and author echoes this in her brilliant piece on sabudana, where she writes, “Chefs across the world are experimenting with the magical beads — cooking them with squid ink, serving them with oysters, conjuring up cakes fit for a fairy. In short, finding out something that many of us have known forever. You can’t go wrong with these pearls of the kitchen.”

Whether we are fasting or not, a plate of sabudana khichdi topped with loads of crunchy peanuts and soft golden potatoes, or crispy, hot sabudana vadas draped in cold dahi and green chutney, are both dishes one can hardly resist.

What makes this starch extract even more attractive is it’s inherent versatility, which is why we have handpicked some of our favourite sabudana recipes for you. You can bookmark them for later, but we’re heading straight to the kitchen.

Sabudana atta dahi bhalle:

Who doesn’t love a plate of piquant chaat, brimming with sweet, spicy and tangy flavours? This one though, comes with a twist. Easy to dish out and light on the stomach, this sabudana atta dahi bhalle is just what you need.


  • 1 cup Sabudana atta
  • 2 Boiled & mashed potatoes
  • 1 Tsp Grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp Chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 Tsp Finely chopped chilli
  • 1 Tsp Red chilli powder
  • Sendha Namak (Rock Salt) to taste
  • Water as required


  • Take a mixing bowl, add sabudana atta, potatoes and other dry ingredients.
  • Mix it together by adding water to the mixture
  • Take a portion of the mixture and make a ball out of it. Then, gently pat them to form a disc.
  • Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry until cooked evenly on both sides
  • Add sweetened curd and khatti meethi chutney.
  • Serve warm

Sabudana Kheer:

There’s no sweeter way to end a meal, than with a bowlful of kheer.. Made with sabudana, this sweet treat is rich in flavour but doesn’t leave you feeling full or dreary.


  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 7 - 8 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Cardamom powder
  • 2 Tbsp Milk Masala
  • 1 Cup Sago(sabudana), soaked overnight
  • A few strings of Saffron
  • Chopped almonds & pistachios


  • In a deep pan, pour the milk, sugar, saffron, cardamom powder and milk masala. Stir it well.
  • Heat this mixture while stirring continuously.
  • Once the mixture is heated, add in the sago (Sabudana) and the chopped dry fruits. Mix well.
  • Heat till it becomes thick.
  • Pour in a bowl and garnish it with dry fruits.
  • Enjoy sabudana ki kheer!!

Sabudana Vada:

Piping hot sabudana vadas served with a delish mint-coriander chutney is possibly one of the most binge-worthy snacks out there. Though deep-fried, it’s downright delicious. Plus, we’re not exactly counting calories.


  • 1 1/4 cup Soaked Sabudana
  • 4 medium-sized Boiled Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup Peanut crushed
  • 4 finely chopped Green Chillies
  • 1/2 Lemon Juice
  • Salt to Taste
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Oil for Frying


  1. Take a bowl and add soaked sabudana to it.
  2. Then, add boiled potatoes to the bowl and mix both the ingredients together.
  3. Add a bowl of crushed peanuts, finely chopped green chillies, lemon juice, salt to taste and cumin seeds.
  4. Mix it together and bind the mixture.
  5. Using your hands, shape the mixture into vadas or tikkis.
  6. Heat oil to a kadhai/pan and add the vadas one by one.
  7. Cook them until they achieve a lovely golden brown colour.
  8. Make them in batches and fry accordingly.
  9. Remove them from the pan and place them on tissue papers to absorb the excess oil.
  10. Serve with dahi or coconut chutney.

Sabudana Khichadi:

This list would have been incomplete without everyone’s favourite - sabudana khichdi, which also happens to be a breakfast staple at multiple eateries and cornershops across the country. Here’s how you can make the simple dish at home.


  • 2-3 Tbsp Oil
  • 1/4 kg Soaked Tapioca Pearls (Sabudana)
  • 3-4 Tbsp of Pounded Peanuts
  • 3-4 Green Chillies chopped
  • 1/2 Tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • Salt according to taste


  • Heat some oil and add jeera.
  • Put the chopped green chillies.
  • Mix the soaked tapioca pearls (Sabudana) with some crushed peanuts.
  • Add some sugar & salt (according to taste) to this mixture.
  • Put this in the pan and mix well.
  • Sabudana Khichdi is ready to serve!
  • Serve warm.

Manal Doshi

Manal Doshi

Manal is a gregarious and ambitious girl who talks about bread incessantly. Her penchant for writing and aesthetics transcends into everything she does. She loves researching the culture and history of things. When she's not writing, you can find her working on a dozen unfinished projects, and consuming an unhealthy amount of art.

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