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Thursday, 30 March 2017

Sabudana Kheer / Caramel Sago Pudding - Navratri Recipe

 Chaitra Navratri , an auspicious Hindu festivity starts on the first day of the Chaitra month (first month of Hindu lunar calendar, falls in the month of March or April). The festivity lasts for 9 days and is dedicated to nine forms of goddess Shakti . The first day of Chaitra navratri, is celebrated by we Maharashtrians as Gudhi Padva festival and ninth day celebrates the birth of Lord Rama. Devotees observe 9 day fast during the festivity and eat only satvik food . One such food which can be had during fast is sago / tapioca also called sabudana. Many delicious sweet and savoury dishes can be made using sago pearls. 

  Sabudana Khichadi , sabudana vada , sabudana kheer being some of the sago dishes popular in India. Sago is the starch taken from the centre of the sago palm stems and then processed into small circular pellets referred to as pearls. Sago is high in carbohydrate content and commonly used as energy boosting ingredient in soups , puddings and smoothies. It is easy to digest and so given to babies and sick person. 

  Sabudana Kheer is a delicious creamy sweet pudding made from sago pearls and milk. This kheer is the most common type of food served during fasts (vrat) as it is easy to digest and at the same time is filling and gives instant energy . I personally never liked sabudana kheer and so always ended up making sabudana khichadi or vada during ekadashi fast. This time when i was at my mom's place , she made sabudana kheer again and to my surprise this time it was too good. It tasted like a chocolate flavoured dessert to me. My mom loves cooking and she keeps on experimenting with food and never fails to surprise us. She saw a dessert with caramel on some cookery show and thought of experimenting it with sago. The simple caramel took the humble sago kheer to an entirely different level as a result of which this caramel sago pudding has become one of my favoutite sweet dishes. Now i make this kheer often and enjoy it thoroughly. Yesterday i made it again for Aai dada and they also liked it very much.


 This sabudana kheer has a distinct caramel flavor and a wonderful light brown color. Added nuts and raisins give richness and bite to the creamy kheer. The recipe is very simple and easy to follow and requires minimal ingredients that are easily available in Indian kitchen pantries. The recipe calls for soaking the sago pearls in water for at least 2 hours, until they swell and become soft and non sticky. A simple caramel is made by allowing the sugar to melt completely in a heated pan without adding any water. Soaked sago and milk is added to this caramel and cooked until the mixture becomes creamy and the sago pearls cook completely. The pudding can be served either hot or on cooling. I chilled the kheer before serving and it tasted great. This kheer is a must try for those who love caramel and also for those who are fasting this navratri. And trust me, you do not have to fast to have this delicious treat :)

Preparation Time : 2 hours
Cooking Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:Measurements used 1 cup = 200 ml
  • 1/2 cup sabudana / sago pearls
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cup milk ( i have used full cream milk)
  • 2 tablespoon raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped nuts of your choice. ( i have used almonds and pistachios)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (optional )
  1. Take sago pearls in a bowl. Rinse them till water runs clear of starch. Drain and soak the pearls in 1 cup water for at least 2 hours. Meanwhile boil 2 cup of milk and keep aside.

  2. After 2 hours the sago pearls absorb water , swell and become soft and almost double in size . 

  3. Heat a non stick heavy bottom pan. Add sugar to the hot pan . Let it get caramelised to golden brown. Do not use spatula to mix the caramel. Make sure the caramel does not burn as it may turn bitter on further heating. 

   4. When sugar is caramelised , add 1 tablespoon ghee and swirl. The caramel will seize and turn hard.  But do not worry , the caramel gets dissolved in hot milk.

  5.  Add soaked sago and boiled milk to the caramel. 

  6.  Let the milk boil . The hard caramel will melt completely in the milk. Now simmer and allow the sago to cook completely. It will take 5-7 minutes. Keep stirring the kheer occasionally. The pudding will turn creamy.

   7. Add raisins and nuts and stir the pudding.

  8.  The sago pudding thickens further on cooling. If you wish to serve the kheer cold , switch off the flame accordingly. 

  9. Serve the kheer hot or chilled. 

  • Use a heavy bottom non stick pan to make the caramel. Do not use spoon to stir the caramel. Take care not to burn the caramel.
  • The sago pudding thickens on cooling , so switch off the flame accordingly.
  • Jaggery or brown sugar can be used instead of refined sugar to make the caramel.
For more fasting recipes , do check my posts on