This is a classic, creamy dessert (kheer or pudding) from the Kerala cuisine that is a part of feasts, called Sadhya. Thick rice flakes are cooked in a creamy thickened milk, sweetened, and with a hint of cardamom, and topped with fried cashews and raisins. Doesn’t it sound divine?
Payasam and Pradhaman
Payasam, a type of Indian pudding, is traditionally made with rice (sometimes with fruits or nuts too) and milk, simmering until it is creamy and rich, and sweetened with sugar. Pradhaman, a typical pudding/kheer from the Kerala region is made with rice or rice ada (sometimes jackfruit too) and coconut milk and jaggery is used to sweeten the pradhaman. This Rice Ada Pradhaman is to die for. We often make this as this is one of our favorites. Rice ada can also be used to make payasam. Rice ada is made with rice flour, which is cooked and dried in the form of thick flakes. These are readily available in grocery stores.
To make this delicious kheer/payasam, the following ingredients are required:
Rice ada - I used store bought ada to make this dessert. Some ada may require soaking or cooking, check the package for directions. These are available in Indian groceries.
Sugar - Sweetens the payasam.
Milk - Whole milk works the best to make a creamy and delicious pradhaman.
Cardamom - Adds to the aroma and flavor
Cashews and raisins - These are fried in a dollop of ghee which makes it even more special.
Ghee - to fry the cashews. Homemade or store bought can be used.pradhaman
Traditionally, this payasam is made in an uruli, a thick shaped vessel that looks like the one in which the payasam is photographed. Cooking the milk along with sugar in the uruli gives a characteristic color to the payasam. Any heavy bottomed pot can be used instead.
It is important to stir the milk mixture often to prevent scorching at the bottom. A little ghee can also be added to the milk while reducing it. This prevents the scorching and I learned this tip from my mom, and I use this idea in all my kheer recipes.
About this group.....
In this group, we partner up and give each other two secret ingredients. That’s the secret which the rest of the group guesses. It’s loads of fun. As Onam is around the corner, Priya suggested Onam Sadhya Theme. Sadhya is not complete without ada payasam. She gave me cardamom and rice ada as the secret ingredients. My partner, Priya, made this delicious Vendaka Pachadi for this theme.
Sadya or sadhya is a festive spread served on festivals as a lunch. Onasadhya, as the name suggests, is during the Onam festival celebrations. Elaborate decorations with flowers, special dances, and boat races are special highlights of this festival. About 25 dishes including different varieties of sides - Olan, kalan, Avial, pachadi, kichadi, kootu curry, curry, paripu vada, pickles, sambhar, moru curry, rasam, payasam/pradhaman and served in this exquisite banquet. Parippu Pradhaman, Ada Pradhaman, Paal Ada Payasam are special kheer/puddings that are served during this occasion. This ada payasam and this Ada Pardhaman recipes bring you the essence of the dessert served for this occasion.
Ada - ½ cup
Milk - 4 cups
Cardamom - 2
Sugar - ½ cup minus 1 tbsp
Water - 1 cup
Boil the water and switch off the flame. Add the ada and soak for 30 minutes. Check the directions on the package for the cooking timings of the rice ada.
Heat milk in a heavy bottomed pan. When it brings to a boil, reduce the flame to low-medium, add the sugar and let it simmer for 35-40 minutes until it reduces to about one and half cup.
Drain the rice ada, add it to the thick milk, and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Add crushed cardamom and simmer for a minute. Remove from the flame.
Heat ghee in a pan, add the cashews and when it turns golden brown, add the raisins and fry for 30 seconds. Remove from the flame and add it to the payasam. Serve hot, warm, or chilled.