July 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Breakfast recipes

sabudhana upmaSabudhana Upma is a popular Maharashtrian dish. Cooked usually for breakfast, evening snack, during fasting and festive occasions. Sabudhana /Sago upma is a quick dish to make , easily digestible and a favorite at home too.

The pearly white appearance is a huge hit among kids. There are several names for eg: pearl upma, sago khichdi etc. In South India the dish has grated coconut and powdered groundnut is excluded. They instead add whole groundnut during tempering.

I tasted this dish from my friends tiffin box. I enjoyed the texture of sabudhana in the upma. I pushed my mom to make it. After 1 or 2 attempts it became a success. I further experimented with addition of grated carrots and fresh peas. Among all the varieties the preferred choice is the Maharashtrian style of making Sabudhana upma.

Another info to share. I always wondered in my childhood as to the source of Sabudhana. I was surprised at the uniformity in shape and the white color of sabudhana balls.We used to see more of the transparent balls in payasam and sweets. I was told that Sabudhana / sago is a product of the South Indian Topiaca.

This is one dish which I can consume at any time of the day. I never hesitate when offered.  Try this recipe and I’m sure you will love the flavor and aroma.

Serves – 4


Sabudhana / Sago : 2 cups

Onion : 1 medium size ( chop it to fine pieces)

Potato : 1 medium size ( boiled- dice into small pieces)

Groundnut : ½ cup ( Roasted, peeled and powder coarsely)

Salt : (to taste)

For tempering:

Mustard seeds: ½ tsp

Cumin seeds: ½ tsp

Urad dhal: 1 tbsp

Curry leaves: 1 sprig

Green chilly: 3 nos ( slice it into halves- lengthwise )

Turmeric powder: 2 pinches

Cooking Oil: 3 tbspn

For garnishing:

Coriander leaves / Kothmir : 2 tbspn

Lime juice – ½ lime

Procedure for Sabudhana Upma:


  • Soak Sabudhana / Sago in water for at least 3 to 4 hrs. The level of water should be such that sabudhana is submerged in water. Do not add excess water, upma will become soggy.
  • After soaking for the said duration wash and rinse the sabudhana well. Drain complete water and spread the sabudhana on a plate to avoid becoming lumps.
  • Roast peanuts. When cool, remove skin and coarsely powder in mixer.


  • Heat oil in a flat kadai  / non stick pan. When hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, Urad dhal, curry leaves, green chilly, diced potato.
  • Lower flame. Keep stirring the ingredients for 2 mins. Add turmeric and salt.
  • Add soaked sabudhana. Mix well and steam cook the ingredients. The sabudhana will turn transparent by now.
  • After 3 to 4 mins toss groundnut powder. Mix well. Switch off flame.
  • Garnish the upma with coriander leaves and lime juice.
  • Serve hot . You can combine sabudhana upma with pickle or curds.


  • While soaking sabudhana, water should not float on the surface.
  • Option – Heat the sago prior to soaking in water to avoid lumps and mushy feel. Ensure the color does not change.