I now officially enter the week of nostalgic ramblings, please bear with me. This Friday marks the day of Onam, the state festival of Kerala celebrating the glorious days of yore. Getting together with family and friends and sitting down to enjoy a splendid vegetarian feast known as ‘Sadya” served on a banana leaf marks an important part of the celebrations. There is also a sense of relief and restfulness in my head and a lingering sense at the back of my mind that now since the exams are over I will have more time for my meandering ways. This passing sense of ease is rooted on those days eons ago when as school children we all finished the term exams just before the Onam holidays began. I am never the one to let go off such peaceful thoughts ever , even if I am not writing exams any more !
Payasam is THE dessert of the Sadya spread, and there are many ways to make it using different ingredients. Here is an easy recipe for a timeless classic, Panchara palpayasam- a rice payasam flavored with sugar and milk and nothing else, made the easy way using a pressure cooker.
Panchasara pal payasam ( Made in a pressure cooker)
Rice - ( broken rose matta variety) - ½ cup
Sugar - ½ cup+ 2 tbsp.
Milk -3 cup
Water - 2 cup
Wash the rice, drain, mix with the rest of the ingredients in a pressure cooker. Lock the lid on ( keep the pressure regulator off) heat till you see small wisps of steam coming out of the vent pipe. At this point place the pressure regulator weight on the vent pipe. Now wait till you feel that the cooker is going to let out the first whistle. You will know it by instinct :), or keep an eye on the regulator weight, it will begin to shake a little. Now turn the heat to low and focus on doing something else. Come back to the pressure cooker 45 minutes after and turn off the stove. Open the pressure cooker after another 30 minutes or so, after letting out any residual steam. This payasam tastes best when served at room temperature. I love it chilled as well.