Sabudana Poha

by Kiran on October 15, 2013 · 65 comments

in Indian, Snack, Vegetarian

Hi friends,

Thank you so much for the wonderful words of encouragement on my previous rant. When someone leaves a nasty comment, it never bothered me but I saw the need to address it because I was pretty sure this is something that many of us are or have faced through our blogging days.

Let’s just say I felt a huge relief that many understood the responsibilities of being a blogger — which includes dealing with selfish and spiteful souls out there ;)

Sabudana Poha |

And to celebrate, let’s talk about fasting. When it comes to religious festivals in India, it’s celebratory and ceremonial. There’s a ton of different ways to celebrate life and to appreciate the after-life.

Some requires pure celebration, whereas others involves vigorous fasting rituals. That’s where fasting meals plays an important role. There’s a simple rule to fasting meal:

Zero remnant of processed ingredients, which includes regular salt, powdered spices, lentils, rice, wheat, onions, garlic etc.

Sabudana Poha |

Tapioca pearls (sabudana) are a great source of carb for fasting, though it does require some practice in preparation. I’ve messed it up a couple of times before getting the textures just right. Like, never ever boil the heck out of it. It’ll end up being a gooey and lumpy mess.

What you want is separated granules, not lumps that ruins your fasting palate.

The key is to soak in some water for a short duration, drain and sprinkling water every now and then just to keep each granule separated and moistened. Now that you are well educated when it comes to preparing tapioca pearls, why not try making this sumptuous snack? You won’t even need fasting to enjoy it :)

Sabudana Poha |

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe


  • 1.5 cups of sabudana (tapioca pearls)
  • Water for soaking
  • 1/4 cups peanuts, roasted and coarsely grounded
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 boiled potato, peeled & cubed
  • 1 sprig curry leaf
  • 3 green chilies
  • 1 tsp rock salt
  • 3 tbsp freshly shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp coriander leaves, finely minced


  1. Soak tapioca pearls in some water for no more than 30 minutes. Rinse pearls through a fine mesh sieve a few times.  Drain as much water off the pearls as possible and spread it over a moist towel lined sheet pan. Add a layer of moist kitchen towel atop and leave it for a few hours. Sprinkle water over the kitchen towel in between to keep it moist.
  2. Heat a large skillet on medium. Add cooking oil and once it heats, sprinkle in cumin and mustard seeds. Wait for the seeds to sputter before adding cubed potatoes. Fry for 2 minutes before adding curry leaves and green chilies.
  3. Cook for a few minutes or until potatoes are lightly crisped and golden on the edges. Sprinkle in toasted peanuts, salt and shredded coconut. Cook for a minute. Remove from heat before adding tapioca pearls, lime juice and finely minced coriander leaves. Stir to combine.
  4. Serve hot or at room temperature.


Sabudana Poha |

Just wanted to clear the air that fasting translates differently in many parts of the world — it’s not only for when you need to get your blood-work done ;)

Have you experimented with tapioca pearls? Are you familiar with fasting rituals, around the world?


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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Angie | Big Bear's Wife October 15, 2013 at 10:41 AM

I’ve never worked with Tapioca pearls, but I think this looks really good! Beautiful photos too!
Angie | Big Bear’s Wife recently posted..Homemade Spinach and Mozzarella Pizza #OurOctoberChallenge


2 Natasha @ The Cake Merchant October 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM

I love sabudana! I’m not disciplined enough to fast, but this recipe reminds me so much of my grandmother. She eats this when fasting, and I love to join her even though I’m not. Maybe her monthly fasting is why she is almost 90 and so healthy? Gorgeous photos as always, Kiran!
Natasha @ The Cake Merchant recently posted..Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies


3 Kiran October 18, 2013 at 11:31 PM

Natasha — maybe! thanks for sharing your memories :)


4 Lan | morestomach October 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM

this is so interesting! i’ve always associated tapioca pearls to dessert. when i first saw the beautiful pictures i really thought they were israeli couscous.

growing up my grandmother would go through phases of fasting. she’s buddhist and what that meant was that she ate completely vegan for a period of time. it was either to honor or celebrate a life, or remember the dead. i’ve never done this. i have participated in fasting during Ramadan when i lived in africa, in movement of solidarity with my classmates. i will admit to not liking the restrictions, though very much enjoying iftar. previously i have participated in Lent for 40 days, not fasting necessarily but “giving up” a comfort, like sugar or meat. again, the restrictions really get to me.
Lan | morestomach recently posted..carrot bread


5 Kiran October 18, 2013 at 11:33 PM

Lan — i’ve always associated tapioca pearls with sweet dessert too, but I learnt this recipe from my mom in law who observes Indian rituals and fasts and this is what she usually have. a new discovery of enjoying pearls :)

i could never fast more than a few days. it takes so much courage and that’s what i lack whenever fasting is required.


6 Sissi October 15, 2013 at 11:42 AM

SO you can make savoury dishes with tapioca pearls???? I must admit I bought these at least a year ago, tried some tapioca desserts and wasn’t really impressed (it was an interesting experiment but nothing more). I am thrilled to learn I can use my pearls in a savoury dish too. Thank you for sharing this useful recipe.
Sissi recently posted..My Favourite Ramen Stock


7 Kiran October 18, 2013 at 11:38 PM

Sissi — i admit, the texture of tapioca pearls are difficult to work with.


8 Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ October 15, 2013 at 11:45 AM

So you we don’t need to cook the tapioca pearls? I’ve spotted them in an Indian shop recently, I was curious about it but haven’t bought the pearls in the end. I guess I was intimidated. Thanks for the tips, I’m ready to try them now.
Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ recently posted..Baked Feta with Pepper and Tomato (when it’s not rush hour in London)


9 Kiran October 18, 2013 at 11:39 PM

Daniela — its usually cooked in a dessert recipe, but for savory, it shouldn’t be cooked to avoid gooey mess. the texture is hard to work with.


10 Rosa October 15, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Oh, I’ve never cooked tapioca pearls in the way. That is something I’d love to try. A great dish! Thanks for sharing, dear.




11 Kiran October 18, 2013 at 11:42 PM

Rosa — please do, and let me know how it tastes :)


12 Ash-foodfashionparty October 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM

I love sabudana made this way. Looks so nice, every grain seperated and spiced. My mom used to make it for breakfast every week and now it’s not fasting food here too. I make it quite often, and glad the boys love it too.
Beautiful styling Kiran.


13 cquek October 15, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Love, love, LOVE! So decadent. Just yum!


14 Monica October 15, 2013 at 1:29 PM

This is so interesting, Kiran! I use tapioca pearls to make Asian dessert soups…I do rinse and soak them before cooking them in a huge pot of water but have never heard of your exact technique. I’m amazed you can make get the pearls so distinct and separate like that! Plus, I love the sound of the pearls paired with potatoes and nuts. It’s totally different (savory!) and looks totally delicious!
Monica recently posted..Chestnut bouchons


15 Kiran October 19, 2013 at 12:33 AM

Monica — i usually have it in desserts too. savory is definitely an eye-opening experience. the pearls are a little chewy made this way :)


16 Kathryn October 15, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Such an interesting post and a fascinating recipe. Thank you for sharing!
Kathryn recently posted..little spiced plum pies


17 Lail | With A Spin October 15, 2013 at 3:05 PM

I have a pack of tapioca in the pantry for about a year now. I can’t decide what to make but this poha recipe inspires me to take it out of the pantry. Thanks Kiran :)
Lail | With A Spin recently posted..Kofta Curry – Luscious Curry of Baked Meat Balls


18 Kiran October 19, 2013 at 12:34 AM

Lail — yay! time to roll up the sleeves and get to work ;)


19 honeywhatscooking October 15, 2013 at 3:13 PM

man, you make it look so fancy. my parents eat sabudana when they fast.. it’s so cute. i usually take a bite, but my mom makes it so bland. your version looks amazing.
honeywhatscooking recently posted..Tabouli Baba Ghanoush Pita Bowl


20 Gayathri October 15, 2013 at 3:55 PM

looks delectable ! love the clicks and the props
Gayathri recently posted..Raspberry Breakfast Bars / Healthy Breakfast Bars


21 Anne ~ Uni Homemaker October 15, 2013 at 4:17 PM

What a gorgeous looking dish Kiran. I have never worked with tapioca pearls before but have had it at a wedding. I’ll have to be on the lookout for these. Thanks for sharing this post! Enjoy your week.
Anne ~ Uni Homemaker recently posted..Nutella Swirl Chocolate Chip Blondies


22 Juliana October 15, 2013 at 6:04 PM

This is totally new to me, I never had tapioca pearl in savory dish…I am just learning so much with you…
The recipe sounds and looks awesome, especially for me, since I love the texture of tapioca.
Kiran, thank you so much for the nice words, I really appreciate… Have a wonderful week ahead :D
Juliana recently posted..Last Post…


23 Kiran October 19, 2013 at 1:17 AM

Juliana — thanks friend. i’m still thinking about you and hope you get to resolve the issues soon. have a great weekend, friend :)


24 Kelly October 15, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Wow, I’ve never tried making tapioca pearls at home before – I’ve only had them out in restaurants in desserts. This savory version sounds so flavorful and intriguing. Thanks so much for sharing Kiran and hope you have a great week:)
Kelly recently posted..Slow Cooker / Crockpot Meatloaf


25 Denise Browning@From Brazil To You October 15, 2013 at 9:28 PM

Lovely dish, Kiran! I love tapioca pearl, a derivative of mainoc or cassava.
Denise Browning@From Brazil To You recently posted..Gluten-Free Banana Apple Bundt Cake — A Guest Post by Food Fashion Party.


26 Rekha October 15, 2013 at 10:46 PM

Kiran love your styling and poha looks very delicious :) never tried with Sabudana before and so bookmarking :)
Rekha recently posted..Gongura Mamasam / mutton / lamb


27 Kitchen Belleicious October 15, 2013 at 10:51 PM

WOW! I would love to get my hands on some of those tapioca pearls. I wonder where I can even find them. This looks amazing and so insanely delicious
Kitchen Belleicious recently posted..Pumpkin Infused Couscous Bowls


28 Kiran October 19, 2013 at 1:24 AM

Jessica — you’d be able to find some in the oriental/asian/indian stores. just make sure it’s NOT sago. there’s similarity in the look, but these two pearls are totally different :)


29 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella October 15, 2013 at 11:49 PM

What a wonderful looking dish! Simple and healthy too which makes it a must make :D I had no idea that those were the rules for fasting.
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted..Cipro Pizza al Taglio, Alexandria


30 Lisa H. October 16, 2013 at 1:16 AM

Learn something new here… :) I always accociate tapioca pearls with something sweet
Lisa H. recently posted..Recipe of a Different Kind….


31 Kiran October 19, 2013 at 1:25 AM

Lisa — me too :D


32 Mallika October 16, 2013 at 3:08 AM

I am a huge fan of Sago pearls and absolutely love your dish. I could eat them all without sharing!

Your styling is beautiful Kiran, and you often make me wonder, how many hours you actually slave over setting up your table, food and props before they go clicking!!! Stunning!
Mallika recently posted..Dry Fruit Rolls


33 Kiran October 19, 2013 at 1:34 AM

Mallika — awww, thanks so much! i do a lot of pre-planning in my head and on paper before everything is ready to click. it doesn’t take a lot of time, really :)

for me, cooking and styling the food itself (not the setup), takes a longer time.


34 Katerina October 16, 2013 at 6:48 AM

Kiran you are absolutely right. This is your blog and it is impossible to satisfy everyone in this world. Just keep on doing what you do best and this is all that matters. We fasten in Greece too and this dish is such a great idea for such occasions!
Katerina recently posted..Galaktoboureko


35 Shema | LifeScoops October 16, 2013 at 8:45 AM

I love this dish…it a fun thing to make :) You have wont my heart again with the amazing styling and gorgeous photos…
ok, me going back to scrolling up and down this post :)!!!!
Shema | LifeScoops recently posted..Thai Red Chicken Curry


36 Kiran October 19, 2013 at 2:00 AM

Shema — awww, thanks so much :)


37 Vicky and Ruth October 16, 2013 at 9:59 AM

What and interesting recipe. Absolutely loved all the spices that you combined with the tapioca pearl. If I close my eyes I can almost smell all those fragrant and wonderful spices…
Vicky and Ruth recently posted..Meatless Monday – Kale & Cannellini Bean Soup


38 Laura @ Family Spice October 16, 2013 at 10:36 AM

I haven’t really used tapioca before and the recipes I have seen usually feature tapioca in a sweet dish. I am not good with fasting. I become a grumpy bear. I always have tremendous respect for those who can and do fast.
Laura @ Family Spice recently posted..Halloween Cocktails: The Kiwano Margarita


39 Angie@Angie's Recipes October 16, 2013 at 12:38 PM

I still haven’t tried tapioca pearls…your sabudana poha looks so inviting, just like your photography, Kiran.
Angie@Angie’s Recipes recently posted..Roasted Hokkaido Pumpkin Wedges with Apple Vinaigrette


40 Nik@ABrownTable October 16, 2013 at 1:15 PM

I love this, it looks so light and refreshing!
Nik@ABrownTable recently posted..spiced granola bars


41 Archana @ feedingthefoodie October 16, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Love sabudana made this way. I’m not one to fast just one to eat all the fasting foods! They are eapecially delicious !
Those pics are so appealing too. You are a stylin guru!


42 Kiran October 19, 2013 at 2:03 AM

Archana — thanks so much, friend :)


43 Jenny @ BAKE October 16, 2013 at 3:54 PM

I just love everything about these photos! the colour the lighting! just everything is perfect they are truly beautiful!
Jenny @ BAKE recently posted..Book Launch


44 john@kitchenriffs October 16, 2013 at 8:07 PM

I haven’t used tapioca pearls in ages! This looks like such an interesting way to use them, too. I’ll bet the flavors in this really sing! Good stuff – thanks.
john@kitchenriffs recently posted..Lemon Cheesecake with Walnut Crust


45 Laura (Tutti Dolci) October 16, 2013 at 9:07 PM

I’ve never cooked with tapioca pearls, what a tasty preparation!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) recently posted..pumpkin spice scones


46 Tandy | Lavender and Lime October 17, 2013 at 12:02 AM

I have never tried tapioca before!
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47 Cass @foodmyfriend October 17, 2013 at 12:16 AM

Yes to both Kiran. I am never quite sure what to do with them! We don’t really fast for anything (traditionally) in Australia. We have a growing Muslim population that do though. When I was a kid, we used to do the 40 hour famine.. the fundraiser for starving people around the world.
Cass @foodmyfriend recently posted..Broad Bean, Goats Cheese, Mint and Lime Dip


48 cquek October 17, 2013 at 4:22 AM

Oh man – for dinner! That’s awesome!
cquek recently posted..Ayam Brand Fried Mackerel in Black Beans -Porridge


49 Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl October 17, 2013 at 10:06 AM

I’m always in love with your pictures – it’s the light, the texture of the food, the color – all so pretty! Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe!
Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl recently posted..Dried Salted Edamame Soybeans


50 Kiran October 19, 2013 at 2:16 AM

Pamela — thanks so much, sweetie :) xo


51 Shefali October 17, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Only you can make something as common as sabudana kichdi into tapioca pearls :) The pics are amazing!
Shefali recently posted..Are You ‘posed to do That?


52 rika@veganmiam October 17, 2013 at 3:51 PM

I love tapioca pearls, they look so pretty and I have never had them in savory dishes before. I usually eat them in sweet puddings and desserts. Good luck with the fasting rituals and have a great week!


53 wizzy October 17, 2013 at 9:46 PM

Love this! I often see tapioca pearls in the grocery and apart from making pudding I never know what to do with them. Great share!


54 Shashi @ October 17, 2013 at 9:55 PM

Wow – Kiran this is such a lovely blend of flavors and textures!
I dont think I have ever had tapioca pearls in a savory dish – this is brilliant
Shashi @ recently posted..Oats, Pecan, Cranberry, Peach Yogurt & Chocolate Chips Breakfast Bars


55 Sanjeeta kk October 18, 2013 at 12:54 AM

One of my favorite weekend breakfasts..lovely clicks, Kiran!
Sanjeeta kk recently posted..Recipes | Two Healthy Festive Treats – Cherishing all the Happy Moments


56 Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective October 18, 2013 at 10:12 AM

What a great way to use tapioca pearls! This dish looks fantastic, Kiran!


57 Kiran October 19, 2013 at 2:30 AM

Sommer — thank you so much, sweetie :)


58 indugetscooking October 19, 2013 at 10:16 AM

So in love with the pics. The sabudana does look like little pearls!
indugetscooking recently posted..Blueberry Cupcake


59 Nami | Just One Cookbook October 19, 2013 at 9:42 PM

So pretty! I only used tapioca pearls for one dessert before but that’s it! I still have a bag of them in my cabinet. Now I see new way of using it. :)
Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Spicy Edamame スパイシー枝豆


60 Helene D'Souza October 21, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Eamm….. honestly I never got around to learn all the hindu fasting traditions. It always seems too that each state does it differently and then I am stuck with the languages.
I haven’t cooked with tapioca pearls before but my mum would make a tapioca soup the African way. It’s common France and I think so I should ask her again because it has been a long time. Just noted down your great advice with the cooking, I am master in over cooking things…
Helene D’Souza recently posted..Quick and Easy Chicken Curry


61 Asmita October 21, 2013 at 4:52 PM

I love sabudana khichdi and yours looks so amazing!
Asmita recently posted..American Girl Cookies


62 Charul @ Tadka Masala October 24, 2013 at 12:28 PM

I am not much a lover of sabudana khichdi but I love the pics here, as always. Gorgeous. :)
Charul @ Tadka Masala recently posted..Double celebrations with Double ka Meetha – Hyderabadi Bread Pudding | Diwali Dessert Recipes


63 sowmya October 24, 2013 at 11:58 PM

I love sabudana khichdi… you just added more beauty to it by your photography kiran !! love it…
sowmya recently posted..Boondi Laddu


64 Mr. & Mrs. P October 25, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Keep on bloggin!!! You have some of the most unique recipes and photos out there… I think we have told you before.. But you are one of our favorite bloggers.. =)
Mr. & Mrs. P recently posted..Bat Brain Halloween Dip


65 Notyet100 January 6, 2014 at 11:11 AM

This one is my fav fasting food,,.:)
Wish ya great yr ahead,,.


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