Pearl Tapioca/Tapioca Balls/Sago is a granular form of processed Tapioca starch. Sago is known as ‘Sabudana‘ in Hindi and ‘Chawwari‘ in Malayalam. Pearl Tapioca is used in many Indian cuisines. Though Yuca/Tapioca (Kappa) is widely consumed in Kerala, Sago is sparingly used in Kerala cuisine. I don’t remember having any dishes made with Pearl Tapioca other than the occasional Chawwari added in Paysams.
I have recently begun trying new recipes with Pearl Tapioca and I have been impressed. These Tapioca balls remind of Pearl Couscous though it tastes different from Couscous. Sago is highly starchy and hence, it is better to prepare it once in a while. Here is the recipe for Sago Upma – a simple stir fry prepared with Pearl Tapioca.
Recipe source: Adapted from manjulaskitchen.com
- Pearl Tapioca/Sago (Chawwari) – 1 cup
- Diced Onions – 1 medium
- Raw Peanuts – a small handful
- Slit Green Chillies – 2
- Curry Leaves – a small sprig
- Chopped Cilantro (Malliyella) – small handful
- Grated Coconut – 1/4 cup
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Mustard Seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Lemon juice – 1 tsp
- Salt – taste
- Wash the sago thoroughly. Drain and then and soak it in water for 6-8 hours. While soaking, add water so as to just cover the sago.
- Heat oil in a nonstick pan and splutter mustard seeds. Throw in the peanuts and stir fry until lightly browned.
- Add the onions, green chillies, cilantro and curry leaves. Saute until the onions are translucent.
- Drain the sago thoroughly and add it to the pan. Stir fry gently for a few minutes.
- Add turmeric powder and salt to taste. Add grated coconut to the pan along with 1 tsp sugar.
- Stir fry for 7-8 minutes until the sago becomes translucent and is no longer white.
- Sprinkle lemon juice and mix well before serving.
- For soaking 1 cup of sago, I used around 1 cup of water. If you add more water, it will end up being mushy.
- Do not over cook the sago or else it will become a sticky lump.
- Always stir fry the sago while it gets cooked so that it doesn’t end up being mushy.