Tapioca is one of the most versatile starch used in cooking. It can be mixed with potatoes and spices and fried to make Sabudana Vadas, stir-fried to make Sabudana Khichdi, dried and preserved in the form of papads or sev, or be converted into a yummy pudding like this one!!
As a kid, whenever my grand mother used to fast, my mother used to make a simple pudding from tapioca, milk and sugar. I used to fondly sit in my grand-mother's lap and lick the bowl clean. Years later; I have made this pudding, a slight variation of the age old recipe but added custard powder and dry-fruits to enhance the flavor. I have used a vanilla flavored custard, however you can use any flavor you like. I am sure it will taste just as good!
A very simple recipe: soak tapioca, heat milk and add everything in and thicken it to a desired consistency. This kheer can be served in its hot or cold and thin form with roti or puri for lunch or dinner; or thicken it further and chill it to be served as a dessert. This pudding has custard powder and if you are fasting and do not want to add it, just skip it and boil the milk for a longer time to thicken it on its own. Enjoy this pudding hot or cold, thin enough to puor or thick enough to enjoy with a fork!!
Tapioca Pearls/ Sabudana 1 cup
Whole milk 4 cups
Sugar 1 cup
Vanilla Custard powder 6-7 tbsp
Dry fruits (cashew nut, almonds, pistachios)
Wash the tapioca pearls and soak them in 2 cups of water. Once the pearls soak up the water, drain them. It should be ideally soaked for about an hour to ninety minutes. Set aside. Chop the dry-fruits into thin slivers. Lightly press the cardamom seeds to crack them. Mix the vanilla flavored custard powder in one cup of milk.
Boil the remaining three cups of whole milk in a heavy bottom pan. Keep stirring the milk so that it does not stick to the bottom. Once the milk boils and reduces in volume to three-fourths it is done. At this stage, add the saffron strands and mix well. Add the drained tapioca pearls and boil till the pearls are cooked. The sabudana pearls will change color from white to translucent once cooked. Next add one cup of sugar and mix well.
Once it all comes together, add the milk with custard powder and mix well. Also add cardamom seeds and mix well. Reduce flame to medium and keep stirring so that the milk thickens. Add the dry fruits and mix. If you think the milk is not thick enough, melt some more custard powder in cold milk and add in. if it is too thick, add some plain milk and mix well. Taste and adjust the sugar if needed. Once the consistency is as per your preference, turn down the flame and transfer to another bowl. garnish with dry-fruits and thinly sliced rose petals.
This pudding can be served hot as a sweet along with lunch or dinner. Else, chill it for a few hours and serve it as a dessert.