The Indian God’s Own Country – Kerala is known for its great cuisine and greater culture resulting in the State being the most visited by tourists almost all times of the year!Kerala shares a border with Tamil Nadu – another State known for its spicy street food and temples.At the border we have a small gap of land called Palakkad which is home to one of the most intelligent,eccentric,well read and reserved people who are the famous Palakkad Iyers or lets call them by their nick name “Pattars”!Yes I am one of the notorious lot and that is why love sharing recipes,culture and tradition which was secretly guarded from prying eyes!
If you think about the documentaries filmed on South Indian States and the people living there, you will hardly ever come across an Iyer interviewed who readily share their culture and traditions.I am of the opinion that we need to come out of our cocoon,share our cultures and traditions and know about other cultures around the world.So here I present a Payasam which is absolutely delicious,coconut based and great for festivals and occasions.”Idichu” means ground to a paste and “Pizhinja” means squeezed and this refers to the process of extracting Coconut milk and the Payasam prepared keeping that as a base.With the passage of time,the pudding has undergone a slight transformation with milk and sometimes Condensed Milk added to thicken it.Coconuts have become quite expensive so other alternatives added to retain the taste of the Payasam so that it stays as tasty and thick!
Iyers who migrated have almost forgotten this treasured recipe and it will be an utmost pleasure to reintroduce it in their “to do” schedules!This is a must make recipe and all those who make it swear by its lip smacking taste!
NOTE : I have used very light coloured and pale organic Jaggery as that was what was available here so I got a creamy white texture.However with the use of dark or light brown Jaggery the Payasam will take on light or dark coloured hues!The taste remains unbeatable!
Preparation Time : 1 hour
Makes : 5 – 6 servings
1/4 cup any short grained rice like Sona Mansuri – soaked for 30 minutes
1 cup water
2 tsp ghee
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp powdered Jaggery
1/2 cup Condensed Milk
1/2 fresh Coconut – grated/100 ml Coconut Milk
2 tsp Cardamom Powder
Cook the rice :
Drain the soaked rice.Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and add the rice.Saute on low heat for 2 – 3 minutes and add the water.Close lid and pressure cook for 3 – 4 whistles till rice is cooked.Allow the pressure to release.
Make the Coconut Milk :
Take the grated Coconut and add 1 cup of water to it.Grind to a fine paste and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a cup or a bowl.Keep aside this is the first milk.
Add 1 cup water to the coconut again and grind it.Strain it to het the second milk and keep it in a separate bowl.Extract the third milk which would be very watery and keep that separate as well.
Make the payasam :
Take off the pressure cooker lid and add the 1/2 cup milk and the third Coconut Milk.Start boiling till it reduces to half the quantity.Now add the second milk and continue boiling.Add sugar and jaggery and boil till slightly reduced again.
Take off heat and allow to cool slightly.Add the condensed milk and the first extracted thick coconut milk.Add cardamom powder and mix well.Cover and cool it to room temperature before serving it!