Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Recipe of the month: Sabudana Dosa

So we are back in an 'almost-lockdown' state due to the rising Covid-19 cases in Singapore and the emergence of nasty variants of the virus. I had been dreading this for a long time but knew it might come sooner than later. It's back to mostly working from home for the next 3 weeks and home-based learning just until the end of this month (mercifully!). Having never had to do it before, I'm completely new and clueless to the whole online schooling thing so wish me luck! If you ask me, the mid-term school holidays cannot begin sooner 😅

I realized that I haven't posted an Indian savoury recipe in more than a year. Uncharacteristically, I had been focusing more on Indian sweets in the past several recipe posts so here I am trying to tip the scale a little bit 😊 

Previously, I hardly used sabudana/sabakki/sago pearls in my cooking. If you ask me why, I have no logical explanation for it. There is only one recipe on my blog that features sabudana and that is Sabudana Vada that I happened to make for Navratri one time. It had become such a habit not to use the ingredient that I seldom had it in my pantry. So you can conclude that when it came to me and sabudana, it was an 'out of sight, out of mind' kinda deal.

But that changed not too long ago. I love experimenting with different urad dal and rice based dosa batter recipes over the weekend. Earlier this year, one of the recipes I wanted to try listed sabudana as an ingredient. I bought a large packet out of which I used only a small amount for the dosa. I had no plans for the rest of it but it so happened that while talking to my mum over the phone that same week, she mentioned that they were having Sabakki Rotti for breakfast (where I'm from, we refer to it as Sabakki). I quickly noted down the recipe and made it the following weekend. Much to my surprise, it was a big hit with my children! Then a few weeks later I used it to make a kheer (pudding) for the Hindu New Year celebration festival of Ugadi. More recently, I discovered a recipe for Sabakki Dosa typed away in a draft post that had been long forgotten and that inspired me to make it. That took care of whatever sabudana was remaining. I do fully intend to make Sabudana Khichdi sometime in the near future and once I do that, I will be armed with five sabudana recipes in my culinary repertoire 😊 It helps that my family has liked whatever I've made so with the ingredient until now so it does look like sabudana may have just managed to secure a permanent spot in my pantry!  

This is a pretty easy dosa to make and requires only a few ingredients that are staples in any Indian kitchen. The sabudana needs soaking for a minimum of 4 hours (or preferably overnight) but after that the steps to getting the dosa on your plate are super quick. There is no grinding or fermentation involved so aside from the soaking time, you can consider this an 'instant dosa'. It is soft, mildly crispy and tastes good with a wide range of accompaniments. This dosa does not contain yoghurt so it is suitable for vegans and people who have an allergy or aversion to yoghurt. 

Try the recipe and let me know if you liked it. Eat well, stay positive (the good kind!) and stay safe 🏡

Sabudana Dosa (Sabakki Dosa)

Preparation time: 4 hours or overnight (soaking time) 
Cooking time: ~20 min
Serves: 4
Recipe category: Breakfast/Indian
Recipe level: Very easy
Recipe source: Amma


3/4 cup sabudana (sago or tapioca pearls)
3 cups rice flour
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely grated
2-4 green chillies, finely chopped (adjust according to preferred spice level)
1 bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
Salt to taste
3-4 cups water, add as required
Vegetable oil or ghee to cook the dosas


1. Wash the sabudana really well to get rid of the excess starch. Soak the sabudana for 4 hours or overnight in ample water. Drain the water and keep aside

2. To a large bowl, add the onions, carrot, green chillies and coriander leaves

3. Add the sabudana, rice flour, salt and gradually add 3 cups of water and mix well. The consistency should be slightly looser than dosa batter consistency. Add more water if necessary. 

4. Heat a cast iron tawa on medium-low heat. Make sure the tawa is seasoned so the dosas don’t stick. Alternatively, you could use a non-stick pan. 

5. Smear the tawa with a little oil or ghee. Spread a ladleful of batter in the centre of the tawa and let it spread naturally (like pancakes). You may use a gentle concentric motion to achieve this. Note that you cannot spread this batter as thin as a regular dosa or rava dosa. Cook covered on both sides till done. Smear additional oil and ghee if required as the dosa cooks. 

6. Serve hot with chutney of your choice. I serve it with coconut chutney, tomato pickle and regular chutney pudi. Note that peanut chutney would go well as an accompaniment too.

  • You can add finely grated ginger or chopped curry leaves to the dosa batter for extra flavour
  • This is a naturally gluten-free recipe
  • To make this recipe vegan, use oil instead of ghee while cooking the dosa
  • These dosas will pair well with any kind of spicy coconut or non-coconut based chutney, pickle or spiced chutney powders


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