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Sabudana Kheer – Tapicoa Pudding (Glutenfree)

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My grandma used to make sabudana kheer on days when she observed fasts, not so much otherwise.I remember skipping meals and tucking down quite a number of bowls of it on those occasions.

Like most puddings, this one does not require much effort in cooking, so it was not the cooking time but the wait till sunset that got me impatient. Despite the fact that I wanted to lick it right away from the pot as soon as it was ready, we waited until prayer time. She would then fill the bowls with the kheer and spoon over generous amount of ghee sautéed raisins and almonds. She did not use saffron in hers, but I like the hue and flavor it lends, so it is must when I make kheer.

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This luscious kheer is as comforting as a rice pudding, but much more smooth, almost custard like.The fluffy, opaque tapioca pearls melt down in the bubbling milk, naturally thickening it, become translucent and get pleasantly chewy as the kheer cooks. You can smell the mellow aroma of the starchy pearls and the saffron, the starch from the tapioca also makes the consistency silk-like.

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Kheer forms a quintessential part of indian cuisine. It is a perfect accompaniment to spicy food and is usually a must during religious celebrations and festivals as offering to God.Wedding and special occasion menus are incomplete without certain kind of kheer, making it the most popular way of rounding off the meals.

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I am such a huge fan of puddings and fail to understand how can somebody (like my husband ) doesn’t want to eat it. There’s something so comforting about a gooey, warm bowl of kheer, redolent with an aroma of saffron with nuts adding a texture.

Go imaginative with the kind of aroma you want to flavor this pudding with, I have tried, vanilla, orange zest and rose-water. It tastes as wonderful with each of them.

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Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1/3 cup sabudana (tapioca)
  • 2 tsp ghee
  •  1/2 cup nuts of choice ( I used sliced almond &raisins)
  • 2.5-3 cups whole milk
  • 2 green cardamom, cracked
  • 1/2 tsp saffron soaked in  1 tbsp warm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar ( or to taste)


  1. Depending on the size and quality, you will need to soak tapioca pearls for 20 minutes (smaller variety) or up to 3-4 hours(larger variety).
  2. You could use a combination of cream & milk or half and half depending on how rich you want the pudding.
  3. The amount of milk in the recipe can be varied as per desired thickness of the pudding.
  4. Cooking time of tapioca pearls will depend on variety and how long it takes them to swell up and is cooked through.Please adjust accordingly.
  5. The pudding thickens up as it sits so you will need to thin it out later with little warm milk if serving next day. You can boil up the milk, add the pudding and reheat.

Method – Wash the tapioca pearls in water, drain the water and set aside for 20 minutes.Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pot, melt the ghee on low. Add the nuts to it and sauté for about 20-25 seconds till you smell the aroma. Take out in a bowl and set aside for garnish.In the same pot, add the cardamom seeds and slowly add the milk. Let milk come to a boil on low heat, you will need to stir in between. Once the milk is boiling,add the soaked tapioca to the pot and mix well.

Cook on low – medium heat for 30-35 minutes with continual stirring till you see that tapioca pearls have started to become translucent and are cooked through.Add the saffron milk at this point mix well. Let cook for another 5-10 minutes on low till the tapioca are cooked through. You can pinch one of the pearls between fingers to check that they are soft. Take off the stove and let cool down for 10 minutes. Add the sugar to the pudding and combine well. You can add the ghee sautéed nuts too.Serve the kheer warm or cold garnished with more nuts (if desired) .

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

10 thoughts on “Sabudana Kheer – Tapicoa Pudding (Glutenfree)

  1. My Maa does the same thing…eats tapioca pudding on the days she fasts. When I was in indian, I used to eagerly wait for her to make it too. She used to say “who is fasting? You or me”. Sometimes she even said “start fasting and the you can make your own and eat it whenever you want to”. I asked her to make it this time when she visited me in the US. It is do delicious. her recipe is very different though.

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