Happy Pongal 2022: When talking about Indian desserts, the first thing that comes to mind is kheer or payasam. An essential part of all celebrations and festivals, payasams are also a common neivedyam, an offering to the gods and goddess. Pongal is a harvest festival and like all Indian festivals, payasams are an essential part of the celebrations. Here are 5 types of payasams to try:
This simple yet delicious classic Indian dessert is made with rice, milk and sugar. Its creamy texture will leave you hungry. All you have to do is boil the milk and condense it. Then add the sugar and continue to stir until it comes back to a boil. Add the washed rice and simmer (low heat) until the rice is cooked. You can also add cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, rose water, kewra water, saffron strands, saffron strands and dried fruits to enhance the flavor.
Bellam Paramannam or Annam Payasam is cooked in most homes in Andhra during Pongal and other auspicious occasions. Prepared with rice and dal, this traditional sweet dish is offered as a neivedyam (offering) to God. If you have a sweet tooth, then this cardamom flavored milk and rice concoction, sweetened with jaggery and topped with cashews is just what you’d want to dig into. Instead of sugar, you can also use jaggery which will give it a traditional flavor.
If you don’t like rice or vermicelli payasam, you can try parippu (moong dal) payasam. A favorite among Keralites, this payasam is cooked with parippu (moong dal), coconut milk and jaggery. Unlike other variations, this dessert is not so easy. Roast the parippu for 5-6 minutes. Then boil water and cook it.
Melt the jaggery by adding 1 cup of water. Add the melted jaggery to the well-cooked parippu and mix well. Add the light coconut milk and bring to a boil. Then add the medium thick coconut milk. Simmer until the mixture evaporates and becomes half, then add the thick coconut milk. Stir well for 5 minutes. Garnish with coconut pieces and serve.
Another simple yet classic Indian dessert, Semiya Payasam is cooked with roasted vermicelli, milk and nuts and is popular all over India. You can either buy roasted vermicelli at the market or roast them at home. Fry the raisins and set it aside. Take the milk in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the sugar.
Add powdered cardamom to add flavor and aroma to the dish. Slowly add the roasted vermicelli into the milk and stir continuously. Let boil over medium heat. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until the semiya is cooked and the payasam begins to thicken. Add condensed milk and more sugar if needed. Garnish it with fried raisins and cashews. Give it a try and we’re sure its creamy texture will have you opting for another serving.
If you’ve tried the aforementioned desserts before, this option – Aval Payasam – might come across as something new. As the name suggests, it is whipped with downstream (rice flakes). Although it can also be made with sugar, many prefer jaggery as it is a healthy option.
To prepare it, you need to heat ghee in a pan, add downstream and fry until it changes color. Add the boiled milk downstream, simmer and cook until the milk reduces to a smaller portion. As the downstream softens, add jaggery, cardamom powder, saffron, mix well and turn off the heat immediately. Garnish with cashews and raisins and serve hot or cold.
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