Onam is over, we are getting out of a bout of nostalgia, which periodically surfaces every year during the season. We will be sitting down with our good friends for a proper Onam sadya sans Melamine this weekend. There will be “true” banana leaves, and probably a repeat of the curries we made last weekend. Payasam, which is an essential dessert topping the sadya grandeur is going to be my all time favorite, rice -pal ( milk) payasam. You could make payasams in a jiffy, or devote half a day from your life for the preparation. In the Sri Krishna temple situated in Ambalappuzha ( Kerala) where the far-famed Ambalppuzha pal payasam is made, the process of making this offering reportedly starts in the wee hours of the morning, and ends closer to noon. Onam is the only time of the year when I make pal payasam in the right way, forbearingly lingering around the stove, stirring away my impatience. There are only a couple of ingredients, but please do not forget to stock up some perseverance, you might require it in this recipe!
Milk – 8 cups
Water – 6 cups
Rice – 1 1/4 cups
Sugar – 2 cups
Cardamom, crushed – 2 pods
Mix water and milk, cook in medium heat with occasional stirring till the volume reduces to half. Wash and drain rice, add it to the cooked milk, cook under medium heat till rice is done. Add sugar, cook for 20 more minutes with frequent stirring. Add crushed cardamom. Remove from stove. Optionally, cashew nuts toasted in ghee can be added.
* I use the red rice from south India which imparts a shade of pink to the dessert, but any other not so sticky rice will do fine.
Cook rice in 2 1/2 cups water + 1 cup evaporated milk + 1 cup milk , till rice is done ( Pressure cook if you are in a hurry) Add sugar cook for 5-10 more minutes with constant stirring. Add ½ cup evaporated milk, mix well, cook for 5 more minutes. Add cardamom. You are done!!!