Sagu (A great tasting side dish from Karnataka )

Sagu brings back memories from my hometown Dharwad , which is served always with idlis, puris, dosa, and rotis apart from the usual accompaniments like chutneys and sambar.

Living in Chennai I had almost forgotten this great tasting simple  dish until my recent trip to Dharwad where I enjoyed the food tremendously . Normally when I travel , I limit my food intake to idlis alone and survive on this safe food till I reach home. This time the simplicity of the dishes, Udupi style Sambar and the splendid sagu bowled me over and memories came flooding back. I threw caution to winds and happily tucked in and tried to memorize the flavors.


1 1/2 cups of vegetables like carrots, green peas,beans , potatoes. Veggies may be cut into small cubes. Thinly slice the onions.

1 medium size tomato
1 green chilli
1 or 2 small onions ( I did not use any)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste.
sufficient water to cook the vegetables.

To roast and grind to powder or paste.

1 stick cinnamon,
2 cloves
1 cardamom,
1 star anise
1/2 tsp jeera ( cumin seeds)
1 tsp dhania seeds
2 tbsp grated fresh coconut, or kopra
2 small dry  red chillis
pinch of hing
1/2 tsp poppy seeds

To temper
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds


In a broad pan , with 2 tsp of oil prepare the seasoning with ingredients given under To temper. Add 1  slitted green chilli.

Next  sautee  the thinly sliced onions to a translucent color,add the finely chopped tomatoes, sautee well and then add remaining vegetables and little water , salt, turmeric powder and let cook till soft.

While the vegetables are cooking , roast the ingredients given under To roast and grind and make a powder or little thick paste with water.

When the vegetables are looking cooked ,  add the paste  or powder and stir well. Let it simmer on a low flame till the gravy comes together, you may add a tsp of rice flour to slightly thicken the gravy.
But Sagu is typically made little runny  but not watery.
Remove from flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.


As it is cumbersome to prepare the sagu powder by roasting and grinding everytime , especially in busy morning hours, it is better to prepare this in advance and store in fridge.

Another suggestion is to buy the MTR Vangi BAATH MASALA POWDER which has the same ingredients and all we need to do is add the powder and some coconut milk, if you have no time for grinding. Coconut milk is available nowadays in powder form and also in carton. Maggi coconut  milk powder can be used to sprinkle on the sagu just before taking off from the gas, time saver and great taste too. The sagu becomes creamy after adding the coconut milk powder.

If you have time on week ends, prepare the sagu powder at home and use it for both Bisi bele baath , Vaangi baath and also for Sagu. One powder , three dishes.!

Sagu is a great tasting side dish for pooris, idlis, dosas and chapatis, rotis. The taste is so subtle and not overpowering with the masalas added.