Payasam/kheer is a traditional Indian sweet. Particularly, in South India, no feast is complete without a bowl of payasam. Be it Onam sadya or Krishna Jayanthi, you can spot this lovely dessert/sweet on the banana leaf. (Yes, that's how food is served in South India for special occasions) There are actually numerous payasam varieties. At a basic level, it can be a combination of milk/rice, rice/jaggery/coconut milk or even dhall/jaggery. The creativity of Indians, specially in culinary area is unlimited and there are further varieties like semia (vermicilli) payasam, Ada(rice flakes) pradhaman, javarisi(sagoo) payasam.. phew! it deserves a separate blog. Good that I finally got into posting a payasam recipe.
Talk of the day is Paal(milk) Payasam which is the queen of payasam(s). Most variety has milk in it but the one cooked with rice and milk is particularly called so. The beauty of this item is its glossy pink shade & condensed milk which is obtained by slow cooking of milk. My mother has told me that in the olden days, they used to boil milk in a thick bottomed vessel for hours together along with a lot of stirring to avoid the milk sticking to the bottom and char. Only then, they could get the authentic pink colored payasam. But a few years back, I have heard this recipe from someone and found it simple and doable. Honestly, I didn't venture out doing this so far and only today I got into action. I am elated with the results and so badly wanted to post it immediately. The idea is to pressure cook the milk along with rice and sugar over slow fire for about 30 min. You don't have to keep stirring or stand near the stove watchfully. Just put it on the stove and relax. Come back and have the wonderful delicacy. This method will be particularly helpful when you got to make a dessert for a number of guests effortlessly. You can concentrate and finish off the other items while this gets ready.
Milk - 3 to 4 cups (I used 2% milk.)
Rice (Raw rice or basmathi rice) - 1 tablespoon ( I have heard of Kerala's payasa arisi. I didn't get a chance to use it so far. You might try it as well for the authentic Kerala Paal Payasam)
Sugar - 1.5 tablespoon (twice that of rice; but I added sweetened condensed milk and lessened the sugar)
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk (optional)
1 clean stainless steel spoon (yeah)
To garnish (optional) - Cashewnuts, raisins fried in ghee; 3 strands saffron, 1/4 tsp cardomom powder
(Actually the payasam doesn't require any garnishing)
1. Add the rice to a pressure cooker. The capacity of the cooker should be atleast twice than that of the milk you use. Add milk and put on the lid. Don't forget to put in the teaspoon.(It prevents milk from leaking out)
2. Cook for 10 min in medium flame and add sugar & condensed milk. Put on the whistle.
3. Cook on low flame with the whistle on for 30 min. (I have hot plate at home and kept the heat on 2)
4. Switch off and leave it for 10 min.
Now your pink coloured payasam is ready to garnish and serve. (Ofkors remove the spoon :))
This worked perfectly for me. If you find your payasam still white in color, you can close it again and cook for some more time. (10 to 15 min)
You can even serve this chilled. However, I like my payasam hot-hot.
Update: sterilise the cooker(all parts including weight) by cleaning with hot water to avoid the milk from breaking.
You might have used the cooker to make other dishes and that might cause the milk to break.