We all are familiar with the pearly balls. It is basically a starch extracted from the spongy center, or pith, of various tropical palm stems, especially Metroxylon Sagu and is a major food for the lowland peoples of New Guinea and the Moluccas where it is called saksak, rabia and sagu. The largest supply of sago comes from the South East Asia, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia. Large quantities of sago are sent to Europe and North America for cooking purposes. It is traditionally cooked and eaten in various forms, such as rolled into balls, mixed with boiling water to form a paste, sometimes as pancakes and can be boiled with water or milk or sugar to make a delicious sweet sago pudding.
The dish I have made here is something that is traditionally eaten in India during fasts but I can eat it any day. Its easy, quick and minimum ingredients that can mostly be found at home. It works great as a snack item as well or a brunch on weekends where you fill your tummy but don’t want to spend the whole morning cooking food.
Recipe: (serves 2)
1 cup sago, soaked in water for about 2 hours
1 potato, chopped
1 tsp oil
4-5 curry leaves(optional)
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp green chilli and ginger paste
10-12 semi crushed peanuts
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste
Soak Sago pearls in water for about 2 hours and check to see if they are soft and fine to eat. Depending on the temperature of the place you live, the time may vary. If you live in a cold place, prefer soaking in warm or hot water and it should go fine. for tropical, room temperature water works well. All we need is soft, chewy sago pearls but not smashed like the ones we have in puddings. Please refer the picture to have an idea. Once done, drain the excess water. I usually prefer to use a sieve so that every drop of water is drained. Next, heat oil in a pan. When heated, add cumin seeds and once they crackle, add curry leaves and turmeric powder. Further, add the chopped potatoes, mix everything well and cover the pan to cook the potatoes. Potatoes usually take more time to cook perfectly so when you chop them, make sure they are thin but not finely chopped.
Keep stirring one in a while to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once cooked, add salt, lemon juice, sugar, ginger chilli paste, peanuts and mix everything well. Finally, add the sago pearls and mix. Taste if you are satisfied with the flavors and can always add some more as per your needs and taste. Its done!! Serve hot by itself, squeezing some lemon juice on top or you can have plain yogurt as an accompaniment. It works best.
Curry leaves, turmeric powder are not mandatory. In case you don’t have them, it is still all good to go.
Ginger chilli paste can be replace by finely chopped green chillies and grated ginger. Also, if you don;t prefer chillies, replace with black pepper powder and that tastes amazing too.
If you don’t have much time, use chopped, boiled potatoes or semi boiled potatoes and it reduces a lot of cooking time.
There are replacements to many ingredients here and hence its very convenient to make.