Sabudana Khichdi (Tapioca Pilaf)

Tiny sago pearls/tapioca pearls cooked with a very few ingredients to make a fluffy pilaf! Sabudana Khichdi is one of the most popular fasting dishes during Navratri festival season. It’s quick, gluten free and takes very minimal effort to bring it together.

What is Sabudana Khichdi

It is a famous North Indian dish that is prepared all year round for a quick light lunch or snack. It is a lot commonly prepared during Navratri.

I like it with a cup of tea or coffee. The tricky part of Sabudana Khichdi is to keep it fluffy and non-sticky. Please watch the video to understand it better and follow all the tips that I have mentioned below.

Key tips to make Sabudana Khichdi fluffy:

  • Once you soak the sabudana and it puffs up, make sure to layer it on a big plate or tray to remove any excess moisture in it.
  • Try to use a flat non-stick skillet so that you can cook the sabudana in one layer and the non-stick pan helps to keep it separated.
  • As you add the sabudana to the pan, do a very quick stir to mix everything around. You don’t want to cook it for too long or else, it will start sticking to the pan.

Navratri special fasting food | Playful Cooking #glutenfree #tapiocapearl #pilaf #foodphotography #navratri #indianfood

What is Sabudana?

Sabudana, also referred as sago pearls, are tiny opaque pearls that are prepared from pith of sago palm tree. In its dried form, it’s a tiny hard white pearl.  Once you soak the sabudana, it softens and swells almost double the size. On cooking, it gets translucent and starchy.

Sabudana is very popular ingredient used during Navratri Celebration to prepare pilaf, fritters and even desserts.

Sabudana  Khichdi (Tapioca Pilaf) 2

This is truly my favorite time of the year. Being a Bengali, Durga Puja is the one celebration that I wait for all year long. Although the vibe out here is nothing compared to India, we still get to enjoy a lot and give a feel of the Indian festive traditions to Avyan.

Being married to a North Indian, we also celebrate Navratri and Diwali in full swing. I don’t fast during Navratri and thankfully, my Mother-in-law never even asked me to do that. However, I love all kind of fasting food that is prepared during this season. Sabudana Khichdi is definitely one of those dishes.

What ingredients are added in Sabudana Khichdi?

Sabudana (Sago Pearls/Tapioca Pearls): For this particular dish, it’s important to rinse the dried sago several times before you soak it. Once puffed, the next step is to strain and layer it on a big plate or tray to remove the excess moisture. This step will ensure that the sabudana pilaf turns out fluffy and non-sticky.

Cumin Seeds: This is the only spice that goes in making this Sabudana Khichdi for Navratri.

Potatoes: Tiny bite size potato helps to add a creamy bite to the dish. You can add tomatoes too, if you like, or some peas or carrots. I kept it extremely simple with just potatoes.

Raw Peanuts: I like to dry roast the peanuts, leave a few aside and coarsely pound the rest. If you are allergic to nuts, you can definitely ignore it and add some veggies for extra texture and taste.

Desiccated Coconut or fresh coconut?

This is not traditionally added but I like it because it adds a mild sweetness to the dish.

Fresh Green Chili: If you don’t want it spicy, remove the seeds of the fresh green chili or you could choose to not use it. The flavor and the heat help to bring the dish together.

Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice: Typically, only lemon juice is used but I like to use a little lemon zest too.

Ghee: Although it is not required, try to cook this dish with ghee as it will not only add a lovely nutty flavor, but it will also enhance the taste. Here is a recipe if you want to make Ghee

Sabudana Khichdi | Playful Cooking #glutenfree #tapiocapearl #pilaf #foodphotography #navratri #indianfood

I prepared this Sabudana Khichdi keeping Navratri in mind and so, I kept is simple and pure vegetarian. You can definitely make it more filling by adding more vegetables, onion or some fresh ginger for extra flavor. Sabudana is an excellent blank canvas to make pilaf and you can change it as you like. Just keep the key tips in mind to get a fluffy pilaf.

Here are few other sabudana recipe:

Sabudana Vada with Methi

Sabudana Vada Fried and Baked

Sabudana Khichdi/Tapioca Pilaf

Sabudana Khichdi is one of the most popular fasting dishes during Navratri festival season. It’s quick, gluten free and takes very minimal effort to bring it together.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: breakfast, glutenfree, Navratri food, sabudana, snack, tapioca pearl
Servings: 3 people
Author: Kankana Saxena


  • 1 cup sabudana
  • 1 large potato peeled and cut into tiny bite size
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest optional
  • 1/3 cup raw peanuts
  • 1 and ½ tablespoons ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 green chili finely chopped
  • ¼ cup desiccated coconut
  • few chopped cilantro leaves


  • Rinse the sabudana multiple times and then, soak it in enough water for 2 to 3 hours. Check after 2 hours and if you are able to crush the pearl easily, it’s ready. Else, continue soaking for more time.
  • Once it is puffed and ready, drain the excess water and layer the sabudana on a tray or a plate to remove excess moisture. This step will make the khichdi fluffy.
  • Use a flat skillet (preferably non-stick) and dry roast the peanuts for 2 minutes. Once cooled enough, keep a little bit of whole peanuts aside and pound the rest to a coarse texture.
  • To the same skillet, add the ghee. Once it melts, add the cumin seeds and stir it around. Add the potato bites and salt. Stir it around for 2 minutes. Then, add the green chili. Stir it around and add the roasted whole peanuts kept aside.
  • Cover the pan and let it cook for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, the potatoes would have softened. Add the desiccated coconut and stir it around. Add the pounded peanuts and stir around for 1 minute.
  • Scatter the sabudana and quickly mix everything around.
  • Add the lemon juice and few cilantro leaves. Mix it around one more time to bring it all together. Check for salt and add any, if needed.
  • Serve warm.



Serving: 3people
Sabudana Khichdi | Playful Cooking #glutenfree #tapiocapearl #pilaf #foodphotography #navratri #indianfood

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Comments are closed.

  • marie johson
    marie johson
    October 15, 2019 at 11:23 PM

    This dish is my favorite. Sabudana Khichdi is a traditional Indian breakfast recipe and i really loved it 🙂

  • Papori
    October 6, 2019 at 10:20 AM

    One of my favorite dish… Yummy!!!

  • angiesrecipes
    October 2, 2019 at 7:22 PM

    Looks absolutely beautiful and so delicious too!

  • Asmita
    May 4, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Your sabudana khichdi reminds me of my mom. It looks incredible! Now I am craving this so badly.

  • Sandra's Easy Cookin
    Sandra's Easy Cookin
    April 29, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Yup, we learn every day something new..see I didn’t know about asparagus either until few weeks ago LOL! Your dish is soooo yummy! I could eat that in a heartbeat! Great post, Kankana, and amazing photos!!!

  • Magic of Spice
    Magic of Spice
    April 29, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    This is absolutely delightful! I have some tapioca pearls in my pantry that I have been meaning to get to, will have to try this 🙂

  • Ameena
    April 27, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    I’ve never heard of this before! What a fantastic alternative to rice…it looks delicious my friend.

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  • Namitha
    April 27, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    It has been a while since I had this. I have a packet of sabudana lying in my pantry :)Love how you have captured the fried curry leaves

  • lisaiscooking
    April 27, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    The tapioca pearls remind me of Israeli couscous. I’d love to try this. Sounds delicious with the nuts, herbs, and chiles!

  • easyfoodsmith
    April 27, 2012 at 4:12 AM

    This is my all time favourite snack and my daughter loves it in her tiffin. Your shots look beautiful and yummy.

  • Yadsia @ShopCookMake
    Yadsia @ShopCookMake
    April 26, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    It had never occurred to me that it was possible to make a savory dish with tapioca. It looks delicious!

  • Reeni
    April 26, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    I didn’t know these could be used in savory dishes! I’ve only ever seen them in sweet recipes. And I too thought they were one and the same. This looks wonderful! I would love to taste it – I’m curious.