Sabudana usually comes to my diet twice a year during the Navratri festival time. My understanding of fasting has become gradually more clear with my own experience of fasting twice a year for the Navratri prayers known commonly as Vasant Navratri and Sharad Navratri.

Through observing a diet free of grains and pulses and relying on nut milk and yogurt, fruits, nuts and a limited number of vegetables like potatoes, pumpkin and of course sabudana we can completely overhaul our inner mechanism by giving our organs a much needed rest and cleanse. The organs are rested as the stomach is not stuffed with food that takes longer to digest. The cleansing happens naturally with more intake of fresh fruits and salads. That feeling of being bloated and heavy completely disappears when one fasts for nine days. A healthy, supple and light body also helps in prayers or meditation as the body remains comfortable and is at ease for longer periods.

In my experience, starting the day with banana shake each day with two bananas and almond milk energises me and prepares me for the days fast. My favourite part of the fast is the sabudana meal, which I take daily as an evening meal — a simple meal that I make with peanuts and potatoes — just enough to keep me from feeling undernourished yet enough to give me energy to get through my daily chores. Also, I do not like to sleep with an empty stomach so this meal is just right for me. Here is the recipe. Do try this out with some yogurt or salads.

• Sabudana: 1 cup
• Peanuts: about a handful
• Boiled potato: 1-2
• Chaat masala: 1-2 tea spoon
• Jeera powder: 1 tea spoon
• Rai (Mustard seeds): 1 tea spoon
• Jeera (cumin seeds): 1 tea spoon

Soak the sabudana for 2-3 hours in water. When the sabudana has fluffed up completely and is soft, drain out the water and then rinsea few times with clean water till the water runs clean. Now place in a strainer for a couple of hours, to drain out the remaining water. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add the rai followed by jeera. Add the peanuts when they start to splutter. Let them crackle and roast well, then add boiled potato broken roughly into small chunks. You may of course cut them into smaller pieces with a knife if you like. Let the potato cook for a few minutes till it starts to brown slightly. Add some salt at this stage so that the potatoes get some seasoning. Now add the sabudana, reduce the heat and mix well. If you dried your sabudana well, it will not form into clumps, but will remain as separate pearls. Add some more salt to season the sabudana, then add jeera powder and also some chaat masala (this is of course optional). A little bit of tangy taste in the sabudana is a nice change. Cover and cook the sabudana till it becomes opaque. You may be following some dietary restrictions if you are fasting but if you are making this as a general snack or meal then do experiment with other ingredients too. When the sabudana is completely opaque and is looking fluffy and soft you can remove it from the heat. Garnish with coriander and serve while still warm. Do try this humble and simple sabudana dish. On this occasion, I made mine and had it with a banana shake.

Ms Aditi Pathak Is based in Singapore. Widely travelled and from a Services background, cooking is one of her many passions.

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