11 August, 2011

Sabudana Kheer/Payasa: Sweet Pearly Delight

Sabudana Kheer/Payasa (Tapioca Pearls Pudding)

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 'much' better half and now my lil moppet dives into anything sweet at a drop of a hat! So they both balance 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! Did you just roll your eyes in disgust and say gross?! Well, kids have gross imagination and the sago pearls when soaked in water and cooked turns 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. 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), at room temperature (our lil moppet's preference) or chilled (that’s how I prefer).

Soaked Sabudana for Sabudana Payasa/Kheer

Cashews fried in Ghee

Sabudana Kheer/Payasa (Tapioca Pearls Pudding)

Sabudana/Sago Payasa/Kheer (Tapioca Pearls Pudding)
Prep Time: 5 mins (excludes soaking time)
Cooking Time: 20-25 mins
Serves: 5-7 People
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Shelf Life: 2 days when refrigerated
Serving Suggestion: Serve hot, warm or chilled as dessert

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 or Sago Payasa/Kheer (Tapioca Pearls Pudding)
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 soak for at least 30 mins.
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.
Mix in milk and sugar and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring in between, for another 5-7 minutes.
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.
Add crushed saffron strands and cardamom powder and let the Payasam/Kheer come to a gentle boil, about 3-5 mins.
Switch off the flame and mix in fried cashews. Serve it hot, warm or chilled and enjoy!

Sabudana Kheer/Payasa (Tapioca Pearls Pudding)

Sia's Notes:
  • Sabudana Kheer/Payasa or Tapioca Pearls Pudding 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 Sabudana Kheer/Payasam.
  • You can also fry little raisins or sultanas along with cashews and add the Kheer/Payasa. 
  • This post is reproduced from my post on Beyond Curries.


  1. I am not so fond of sweet either. But occasionally I do indulge to satisfy my cravings.

  2. I am not so fond of sweets either. But occasionally I do indulge to satisfy my sweet cravings.

  3. This is one of my favorite payasam :) I used to add some syrups like rose milk, pista etc to make it tastier and colorful too :)

  4. I crave sugar all day long! but I am not too crazy of our payasas. The only 2 payasas that i enjoy are sabudana and semiya!
    Beautiful photos! Love the lighting :)

  5. what a creamy delight!lovely clicks as always.

  6. Mmm..looks lovely, and perfect for l'l tummies!

  7. Love this payasam a lot..this looks absolutely divine Sia. Love ur photography always :) Lovely lighting and photo.

  8. wow yummy payasam and the clicks are amazing...

  9. Sabudana kheer was always a fever-time treat for us as kids. Your post took me back to that innocent time. Loved the pictures!

  10. My son and me love this. This was the standard sweet my mom used to make for my birthday or any special event at home... Love it.

  11. Wish i was like you as I eat too much sweets here. I have to say i have never had this payasam.

  12. Creamy payasam..This ones my fav!!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  13. i like sagu dana vada, khichdi but kheer .. not much. Altough have to say .. it looks very comforting and delish!

  14. can't wait to try this one :D
    and yes i have an extremely sweet tooth and i love recipes with minimum ingredients too. so thanks a lot for posting this :)

  15. Sia, your the best. The recipes are simple and easy to cook. my family really enjoyed it the kheer.

  16. @Goggayya I am thrilled to kw that u and ur family enjoyed this pearly delight :) thank u for letting me know.

  17. Made Saagu Payasa accordign to your directions today Sia.. It was YUM! Thanks

  18. @chinmayie, that's wonderful :) Thank u!

  19. I tried this but my Sabudana became all gooey once I boiled it in water after soaking. Mom gave me the tip of frying the Sabudana in ghee first and boil (no soaking required). That way the sabudana came out really well.


Namaste! I am Sia and welcome to Monsoon Spice, my virtual home. Thank you for all your comments, inputs and valuable feedbacks. I really appreciate the valuable time you spent browsing through my recipe repertoire.

I hope you have found what you are looking for today. Feel free to leave any questions or queries you have on the recipes posted here. If you have any recipe requests, please drop a line at Ask Sia page. I will try to respond to all your queries as soon as possible to best of my knowledge.

I welcome all your valuable inputs and constructive criticism as long as it is meant to help and improve the blog. I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude, abusive, written with the intent to advertise, contain profanity or considered spam.

Please note that any comments with separate link back to your blog, website or blog events will not be published. Your blog/website is hyper-linked when you sign in to your account to leave the comment and hence leaving separate links in the comment is unnecessary. Thank you for understanding!

I hope that you will stop by again to read my ramblings, learn new recipes and share your ideas. Have a good look around and enjoy your time here. Thank you once again!