Paal Payasam – Rice cooked low and slow in milk until it becomes thick, rich and creamier. A sweet for any Indian occasions.
Fridays are considered auspicious by Hindus and they pray to Goddess Shakti (or her other incarnations). Thai Velli (Friday) and Aadi Velli are very significant. In all four days (Fridays) of the Tamil Thai month, we worship Goddess Shakthi for leading a successful life. Similarly in the Tamil month Aadi, we pray to Goddess Durga. Generally, Pooja is done at home and an offering (prasadam) is made to God. Traditionally Maavilaku Maavu is made on Thai Velli. But Payasam is a universally accepted sweet dish for any auspicious occasions.
For the second day in this Occasion week, you have a very basic and primary Payasam – Paal Payasam!
Simple and easy with just a few regular ingredients. A nectarous divine that you will lick the spoon to clean off the last bit! Traditionally rice is slowly cooked by simmering it in milk until it gets creamier and richer in taste. But you can replicate the same taste by this easy pressure cook method. This is one of the instances in which Rice cooker is a most essential and basic tool for the Indian kitchen. I just can’t imagine how we could have managed without one! This is one of the very first few dishes I learned and made without a fiasco during my initial cooking days!
Paal Payasam – Rice cooked low and slow in milk. Thick, rich and creamier. A sweet for any Indian occasions.
Indian, Tamil Nadu
coarsely broken cashews
sliced pistachios (optiona)
- Few saffron strands (optional)
Pressure cook rice in 1 cup water and 1/2 cup milk until its cooked well and mushy.
Meanwhile, bring the remaining milk to a boil.
As soon as the pressure releases, whisk the cooked rice until it is smashed and it looks creamy. If the rice is very dry add little warm milk and mix well.
Transfer this to a kadai or a deep bottomed pan. Add cardamom powder and 1/2 cup of milk. Simmer it, constantly stirring it for about 15 mins. As and when it thickens, keep adding the remaining quantity milk
Then add the sugar. It will liquify and keep it on the stove for some more time until it becomes thick and creamy.
Heat another pan; add ghee and roast the cashews until they become golden brown. Garnish it with the cashews and serve it cold or warm.
Make sure the rice is cooked well and mushy. Add more water than you would for making rice and keep for extra 3-4 whistles. If the rice is not cooked properly, as soon as you add it in the milk, the grains separate and it will not amalgamate with the milk. The texture will be compromised. It is also important to keep the cooked rice without drying. Try to keep it warm and closed. Otherwise before adding it to the milk, take 2-3 Tbsp from the hot milk, liquefy the rice a little and then add it. We prefer a slightly thick payasam. So this amount of milk will yield a thick consistency If you want a thinner consistency
Adjust the sugar amount according to your taste preference. It gets thickened as it cools.
So take it off the stove depending on how much thick or thin consistency you need.