Tuesday, October 15, 2013

An Abundance of Friends-- Suju's Sabudana Khichdi

It's just as well I'm not holding a pen as my fingers are weary to the bone! It's a good weary. A happy tired as the last few days are spent in a time capsule from the 80's. Remembering the glory days of carefree fun. Retelling stories of our ribald past, of boozy weekends at the beach, of unwanted advances and hilarious incidents resurrected from faded memories. Three friends from my Elphinstone college days come to visit. Come to see the seating arrangement they generously contributed to. In those black days, it was their words of encouragement and prayers that helped healed the wounds. And so I pay it forward. A trip onward in friendship and backwards down memory lane! 

I clean, I paint, I dust and the house is ready. I cook up a storm. Oh yes, requests are honored. Some recipes from this blog that whipped up a frenzy of interest. Some from my Mum's table. And some new additions. I make potato crusted lamb chops, in spite of being admonished over the high cost of lamb chops! A roasted mutton curry that the girls enjoyed in my Bombay home. And a new favorite, fish biriyani.

Dinner is done but breakfast is another matter. We all love a hearty beginning. Another request comes in.....for sabudana khichdi. And I oblige. Because after twenty years of making and eating lumpy, greasy, frog spawn- like messes I can finally make the real thing!!! And I have a reluctant chef to thank for it!!!

The culprit is Suju! Albeit a good friend and great cook, reluctance is by far her stance when it comes to cooking!!! But when she does, it is a meal to be savored, relished and remembered. For you may not eat it again for a while! Don't blame her. Everyone isn't the enthusiast in the kitchen! She has made sabudana khichdi for us many times, carrying her trusted cookbook on our many travels! It is a beloved and treasured recipe that gives pleasure to so many. After watching her assiduously, making notes and following her recipe, mine isn't quite like hers but a close second. It's a two day process so plan ahead. And you will be delighted.             

Suju's Sabudana Khichdi 
Serves 4 to 5

1 1/2 cups Sabudana to Tapioca pearls
1/2 cup Peanuts, roasted
3 tablespoons Canola oil
1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
2 dried Red Chiles
10 Curry leaves
2 finely cut Green chilies
1 tablespoon Minced Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 cup boiled and cubed Potato
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1 large Lime
1/2 cup finely minced Cilantro

The evening before you plan to make the khichdi, wash the sabudana thoroughly. Rinse and wash till the water runs clear. That should be three or four times. Add enough fresh water to cover the sabudana, about 6 to 8 cups. The sabudana will sit in this water overnight and soak up a lot of it. 

Drain the sabudana in the morning.

Place a double layer of paper towels on a sheet pan. Spread the drained sabudana on the paper towels. The excess moisture gets soaked up. 

In a large nonstick pan with a lid, heat the canola oil over a medium flame.

Add cumin seeds and let them brown.

Add curry leaves, red chiles, finely cut green chiles, ginger, turmeric powder and cubed potatoes. Fry well till potatoes are crusty and brown.

Add sabudana and sauté.

Season with salt and sugar.

Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice over sabudana.

Lower the flame, place lid on saucepan and let the sabudana cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Mix in the freshly cut cilantro and serve it hot.

The conversations don't just flow, they continue in an unending loop. We make the rounds of museums, memorials and many restaurants  We reminisce, remember, recollect events long forgotten. The collective memory of four is much better than one! The collective voices of four is another story! We usually meet once a year. Always talking about the past. Looking at the same old photographs and laughing at ourselves. This time it's about being thankful for friendships forged over boyfriends and beer. It's about keeping them alive over forty years. It's about living in the past and in the moment. And always being there for each other. Thanks for being there for me Madeleine, Christine and Tuki!