Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Payasam... The very thought makes me feel all warm and cozy inside! Payasam has always been a sort of comfort food for me. So, I figure what better way to start out the new year than to share a bowl of payasam with you all?
I guess this was the first Indian dessert I'd been exposed to growing up here in the US. Nowadays, I've learned that many different types of payasam exist. Here, I'm sharing the "standard payasam" we grew up with in my family which includes both javvarasi (sago) and semiya (vermicelli).
Javvarisi/sago - 2 tbsp
Semiya/vermicelli - 1/4 cup, roasted in ghee until golden and fragrant
Sugar - 1/3 cup, or to taste
Elakkai/elaichi/cardamom - 2, seeds removed from pods and powdered
Milk - 1 1/2 to 2 cups
Raisins - 10-15
Cashews - 8-10, broken in half
Ghee - small amount to fry raisins and cashews
1. Place about 1 cup water in pan and bring to boil. Add the javvarasi/sago to the boiling water and cook until they become transparent and soft. You may need to add some more water, depending on how small the sago are and how fast they cook. Just be careful not to add too much water or the payasam will become watery.
2. Once the javvarasi is just about cooked, add the semiya to the same pan and continue cooking until the semiya is cooked. This should take just a couple of minutes.
3. At this point, add the sugar to the pan and stir to dissolve it. The consistency should be fairly thick at this point.
4. Now, add the milk to the consistency that you like. Some people like it almost drinkable. Others like it fairly thick to eat off of their plates. (I generally add milk until I get the right thickness for us.)
5. Once the milk begins to simmer, turn the heat off. Add the cardamom powder.
6. Lastly, fry the raisins and cashews in a little bit of ghee and add to the payasam.
Payasam can be served warm or cold. My family's favorite way to eat it is warm with crisp appalams broken up and mixed in! Enjoy this with your loved ones!