Sabudana Kheer/ Tapioca Pearl Pudding

January 5, 2012mayurisjikoni
Blog post

What is Sabudana Kheer?

Sabudana is the Hindi name for tapioca pearls. The starch extracted from the tapioca or cassava root. The starch is then processed to make them into round balls.  Sago on the other hand though looks like tapioca pearls is made from the starch extracted from the spongy pith of various tropical palms.

Tapioca used in the Far East to make bubble tea is the same but the sizes, flavour and colour vary. While making the boba or bubbles, color and flavoring is added.

Kheer is the Hindi word for a milk pudding. Therefore Sabudana Kheer is simply a milk pudding made with tapioca pearls. I like to make sabudana kheer during Ekadashi.

What is Ekadashi?

Ekadashi is the eleventh day of the lunar month in the Hindu calendar. Therefore Ekadashi comes twice a month. It is considered a spiritual day by most Hindus and many fast on Ekadashi. The fasting varies for individuals, some fast the whole day without water and food, some just eat fruit and some take one meal.

“If a person fasts on Ekadashi, I will burn up all his sins and bestow upon him My transcendental abode…..Indeed, Ekadashi is the most meritorious day for destroying all kinds of sins, and it has appeared in order to benefit everyone.”
Lord Krishna to Arjuna in Bhagvad Gita, chapter 1

It is recommended that if possible one should fast on Ekadashi without taking any food or water. However, if that is not possible then its recommended that one fasts partially by taking milk and fruit. If one cannot fast on a light meal of fruits and milk then they can fast but must avoid grains, cereals, pulses in their diet. No onion or garlic is permitted on this day along with so many other spices.

It is believed that if one observes Ekadashi fasts then its even greater than visiting any of the pilgrimage places important to Hindus. Fasting on Ekadashi helps to detoxify the body and cleanse the digestive system. It attracts the blessings of Lord Vishnu. Basically the idea of fasting is to make one strong spiritually and control the senses.


What food is allowed during Ekadashi?

Some of the foods allowed during an Ekadashi fast are fruits, nuts, milk, roots like potatoes, sweet potatoes, arbi, cassava, coconut, ginger, black pepper, chilis, cumin seeds. One should either prepare food using ghee or nut oils and not oils made from maize, mustard seeds etc. One should try and avoid tea, coffee or


My childhood memories are my grandmother fasting on Ekadashi. My mum would prepare sama or moriyo ni khichdi for her. That would be her lunch and a glass of milk at night. However, we were not allowed to even dip our little fingers in the khichdi to taste it. 

After marriage, Ekadashi was a fast normally observed by all. So naturally I also got into the habit of fasting on Ekadashi. However, the fast was not so austere. My mother in law would allow us have fruits, nuts, milk, milk based desserts in the evening. It became a fun time for my kids (yes they too fasted) as that’s the only time we would make chips or French fries at home and they were allowed to eat to their hearts content. It did not matter if they could not have ketchup with it. I soon learnt to make a homemade tomato sauce to go with it.


Sabudana Kheer and Ekadashi

Our all time favourite dessert on Ekadashi Day is Sabudana Kheer. Very simple to make and a very filling dish.Sago or sabudana is readily available in most Indian shops. Its a filling, satisfying meal. There are days when I just have that along with some fruits.

Enjoying this gluten free kheer or dessert is not restricted to Ekadashi only. One can enjoy it during Navratri Fasting, during Shravan month fasting or even on any other day. Its easy to make and very delish. I usually add lots of fruit and nuts to it to make it filling and nutritious.


Other ways you can use Sabudana:

Sabudana or tapioca pearls are not only gluten free, but an energy booster and aids good digestion as its rich in dietary fibre. Sabudana is rich in potassium which is good for your circulatory system. Surprisingly, sabudana is a rich source of protein. Rich in magnesium, calcium and iron its really good to strengthen bones.

  • Sabudana Vada – delicious fritters made with sabudana and mashed potatoes.
  • Sabudana Khichdi – usually enjoyed during fasting days.
  • On my list to try is the really delicious looking Dahi Sabudana  ever since I saw it on Preethi’s blog.


Ingredients required to make Sabudana Kheer

  • Sabudana or Tapioca Pearls – try and use the tiny or medium size sadudana. Whenever you need to use sabudana, its best to soak them in water for a few hours or at least for 30 minutes. It makes cooking them much easier.
  • Milk – Best to use fresh milk when you’re fasting as we are not sure what preservatives UHT milk may contain. To make it vegan friendly, use coconut milk or any other nut milk but not soy milk or oats milk.
  • Sugar – I use refined sugar but you can replace it with stevia, honey, maple syrup, jaggery or brown sugar.
  • Nuts – I usually add chopped pistachios, walnuts, cashew nuts and almonds. Use any nuts of your choice.
  • Saffron – adds a delicate flavour and aroma.
  • Nutmeg Powder – optional
  • Cardamom Powder – adds flavour.


Dietary Tips:

  • Gluten free
  • Vegetarian
  • Ideal for fasting days
  • For vegan option – use vegan friendly milk
  • Satvik





A creamy, delicious, gluten free, rich pudding enjoyed during fasting days or whenever you feel its kheer time.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: ekadashi, fasting food, gluten free, kheer, pudding, sabudana, tapioca pearls
Servings: 2 PEOPLE


  • ¼ cup sabudana, tapioca pearls
  • cups fresh milk
  • saffron, a few strands
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg powder
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped nuts of yoru choice
  • 4-6 tbsp sugar


  • Soak the sabudana in water for at least 1 hour or more. Drain into a sieve and wash under running water.
  • Heat the milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir occasionally so it does not burn at the bottom. 
  • When the milk comes to a boil, add the sugar and the soaked sabudana and stir gently. 
  • The kheer is done when the sabudana becomes transparent and floats to the top.
  • Take the pan off the heat. Add the spices and nuts. 
  • Let it cool or serve immediately.
  • When the kheer becomes cold, the consistency becomes thicker. 


  • Put the kheer in the fridge to cool. Serve it with grapes, pomegranate, mixed fresh fruit, etc.
  • The amount of sugar can be adjusted according to your taste. Can opt for honey, maple syrup, stevia, jaggery, etc.
  • Make it  a day ahead. The flavours of the spices and saffron infuse well when left overnight in the fridge.
  • For a much thicker consistency of kheer use more sabudana - about ½ cup more.
  • If the kheer becomes too thick, add a little milk to it.
  • This kheer can be served hot also.

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  • Jagruti Dhanecha

    November 20, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Sabudana Kheer is a Delicious and drool worthy classic dish, It's been ages since I have prepared this yummy kheer.

  • Shobha

    November 20, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    This kheer is also a traditional Sindhi preparation.. we make it on all auspicious days.

  • Vidya Narayan

    December 4, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Such an amazing looking kheer!! Nothing beats our Indian Milk based desserts. So Comforting.

  • Lathiya

    December 4, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Your sabudhana kneer looks Rich delicious 😊

  • Renu Agrawal Dongre

    March 21, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Love to read the significance of Ekadashi and yes you are correct fasting helps to clean our system as well test us. Love how the kheer has turned out so creamy and is so easy to make too. Lovely pics.

  • chefmireille

    March 21, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    I haven’t yet tried kheer with sago – This looks so good. think this is going to be the next kheer I try.

  • Mina Joshi

    March 22, 2019 at 10:37 am

    I love your sabudana kheer . I haven’t made it for a long time but will certainly make it soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 24, 2019 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks Mina.

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