Sabudana Payasa/Kheer

I am one of those unfortunate people born without sweet tooth! I run a mile away when I am presented with a platter of sweets whenever we visit friends and family. And to add to that my better half dives into anything sweet at a drop of a hat! So he balances the lack of sugar in my life (pun intended ;)!

But there are times when I can’t suppress the cravings for something sweet once in ‘very rare’ blue moons. The craving gets so bad that I need to eat something sweet as soon as possible, and that is the time when I tie my apron and look for a recipe that doesn’t require too many ingredients or too much of my elbow grease! One such recipe that comes to my rescue is Sabudana Payasa/Kheer, one of my childhood favorites made using Pearl Tapioca.

The name tapioca is a word derived from tipi'óka, the name for this starch in Tupi. This Tupi word refers to the process by which the starch is made edible. However, as the word moved out of South America it came to refer to similar preparations made with other esculents. 'Tapioca' in Britain often refers to a milk pudding thickened with arrowroot, while in Asia the sap of the sago palm is often part of its preparation..

Pearl tapioca is similar to pearl sago, which is used in essentially the same ways. Consequently, tapioca may be called sago, and vice versa.

(Source: Wiki)

As a kid, I used to call this payasa as “KaNNu Payasa”. KaNNu in kannda means ‘eyes’. Yup, eyes payasa! Did you say gross? Well, kids have gross imagination and the sago pearls when soaked in water and cooked would turn to look like eye balls.

Coming back to the recipe of Sabudana Payasa/Kheer, it requires just a handful of ingredients and few minutes of your time. I made this last weekend for Deepavali celebrations and this is the first photographs of many to come from my new kitchen. So without taking much more of your time, let me give you simple instructions for making this delicious pudding which tastes best when served hot (my hubby’s preference) or chilled (that’s how I prefer).

Soaked Sabudana for Sabudana Payasa/Kheer

Cashews fried in Ghee

Recipe: Sabudana/Sago Payasa/Kheer (Tapioca Pearls Pudding)
Prep Time: 5 mins (excludes soaking time)
Cooking Time: 20-30 mins
Serves: 5-7 People
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Serving Suggestion: Serve hot, warm or chilled as dessert
Recipe/Post by: Sia
1 cup Sabudana/Sago/Tapioca Pearls
2½-3 cups Water
1 cup Whole Milk
1¼-1¾ cups Sugar
A Pinch of Saffron, crushed
5-6 Green Cardamoms, peeled and seeds crushed to powder
Few Cashews
1 tbsp Ghee/Clarified Butter

Sabudana Payasa/Kheer

  1. Take sago pearls in a bowl and rinse them with water till all the scum is washed away. Drain all the water and add another 2 cups of water and let it rest for at least 30 mins.
  2. Drain all the water from soaked sago pearls. Add about 2½-3 cups of water and cook sago pearls in medium flame till they are cooked and become transparent, about 15 minutes.
  3. Mix in milk and sugar and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring in between, for another 5-7 minutes.
  4. While its cooking, heat ghee in a pan and add broken cashews to it. fry cashews to golden brown on medium flame, about 2-3 mins and keep them aside till needed.
  5. Add crushed saffron strands and cardamom powder and let the Payasam/Kheer come to a gentle boil, about 3-5 mins.
  6. Switch off the flame and mix in fried cashews. Serve it hot, warm or chilled and enjoy!

Sabudana Payasa/Kheer

Special Tip/Notes:
  • Kheer/Payasa becomes thick as the sago pearls absorb all water and milk as it cools down. So if you prefer your Kheer/Payasa to be little runny, add little more milk and gently heat it for a while.
  • Preferably use whole milk when making this Kheer/Payasam.
  • You can also fry little raisins along with cashews and add them.

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  1. Sudeshna // 22 October 2009 at 12:33  

    I love tapioca, we make the pudding and put in fresh fruits like banana and mango with it.

  2. jayasree // 22 October 2009 at 13:48  

    My hubby is very fond of this payasam. Lovely pics.

  3. Madhu // 22 October 2009 at 23:16  

    Love anykind of kheer, sabudana kheer looks delicous.

  4. San!!! // 24 October 2009 at 02:14  

    Attractive pictures of the recipe .Good shots.Wonderful blog.

  5. my kitchen // 30 October 2009 at 22:24  

    Yummy gheer,Beautiful clicks

  6. Tejal // 3 November 2009 at 10:55  

    Superb pics. I could tell you that I and my brother have given this kheer an even grose name.
    Frog egg does look like frog eggs and to this day, both of us don't eat ma has to make it with rice or vermicelli.


  7. Saphire // 23 April 2010 at 17:10  

    I made sweet pearly delight as my very first Indian dish tonight.

    I found your recipe to be easy and straight forward with a great result.

    I did find this version a little sweet for us but I will just tone down the sugar a little and I am sure it will become a family favorite.

    Thank you Beyond Curries for my taste buds delightful trip to India.