Sago on a Sunday
We eat some version of eggs and buttered toast every morning. The combined chemistry of eggs, the easy-as-toast toast and the speed in preparing the meal overall win hands-down on rushed weekday mornings. Sufi’s eggs are fried on both sides and cut up, so she can shovel them into her mouth herself. For ours, I leave the yolk all gooey and sometimes add a dollop of bacon jam as an illegitimate pleasure of a humdrum workday.
On weekends though, we have an unspoken rule to avoid eggs. It reminds us too much of the unmentionable weekdays, and our digestive and salivary glands appreciate the break from routine. There are a few back-pocket recipes for weekend brekkies that we naturally reach out to. Sometimes I’ll feel like quick buckwheat pancakes, where you fold in milk and mashed overripe bananas into buckwheat flour, sealing the deal on the table with a generous smear of peanut butter and maple syrup, berries if you have it.
Sometimes it’s the Upma from my childhood, simple but hits the spot. Hot oil, about 10 white lentils, a couple green chillies split down their bellies and chopped onions to flavour roasted semolina. Ready with minimal prep and planning and fits all in one pot. This version of spiced semolina catapults me back to my mom’s kitchen table, before the weight of being responsible for all your own meals had crushingly set in.
But some Saturday nights, as we clean up after dinner, Sid will ask me, “What should we have for breakfast tomorrow?” From the lascivious look about him, I will know what he’s hinting at. He wants Sabudana Khichdi, which is a mildly spiced sago dish that’s pretty staple in Western India. It’s my favourite too, so it doesn’t take any convincing for me to put a few little things in motion before bed that night for brekky the next day.
I'll measure about a mug’s worth of white pearly sago into a steel mixing bowl, wash it under running water, then fill the vessel with about as much water to fully submerge the pearls, with a couple of centimetres extra on top. Then as we brush our teeth, i'll pressure cook about 3 potatoes, which takes just about 7-8 mins. Most of the time, I will have roasted peanuts in the pantry, but in case I don’t, i'll just use store brought ones from the snack drawer.
In the morning, the roasted peanuts are blitzed into a powder and mixed with the sago pearls that have swollen up to their true potential overnight. The potatoes are peeled and roughly chopped. Then, into hot ghee goes a smattering of cumin seeds and some green chillies. Next, the potatoes join the party. And finally, the soaked sago dives in and mixes with the simple crowd, but together they make quite a racket.
By the time this is ready though, the baby’s hunger has already peaked and the only thing ready fast enough to keep up would’ve been porridge. So Sid and I will top up our bowls as soon as she goes down for her morning nap, and eat it quietly, stopping briefly only to exchange mushy looks, not for each other, but for this marvellous weekend breakfast special that we’re able to wolf down in quiet bliss of nap time.