Kerala carnival is just a day away…. Wasn’t it only a few days ago that we celebrated our previous Onam?? I found asking myself and I know it sounds rather stupid…. But I really can’t help myself asking how fast time flees…how fast days go by?? Infact bringing quickly before us yet another Onam…another season of ecstasy, joviality and celebrations; fortunately something to spread the ultimate spirit of love and brother hood by making them unite in such gaiety and thereby setting an example to the “evils of humanity” existing in this contemporary society. Well, now let’s not talk about those nuisances on this occasion; occasion which calls for only happiness and festivity…. Let’s just forget all our grief and discontent and celebrate this Onam with max’m pomp and splendor, making it something to be cherished even after years to come…. :-)
Onam, as u know, is the season of happiness and celebrations…an occasion welcoming the forthcoming days of opulence and biding farewell to the hard times gone by. The season actually generates a nostalgic touch during the whole period making you go back to your childhood days. A few scenes from those days; for instance, plucking flowers from the garden with your cousins in the early mornings, setting an amateurish pookkalam to be later rearranged and made beautiful by amma and aunts, trying to play out and enjoy the short-lived ten days vacation to the maximum with your cousins and friends, trying to consume maximum qty of crispy upperi and sharkkaravaratti (seasonal savouries) freshly made by grandma, visualizing yourself in your new dress to be worn on Thiruvonam and showing it off to your cousins on the big day; and finally on the big day, setting the pookkalam along with Onathappan and finishing off the day with an absolutely filling yummy meal with umpteen curries set on a banana leaf. Sigh!!! How much I miss those days…. And frankly, I feel in today’s scenario, Onam celebration is just confined to secluded apartment rooms, getting a few new dresses from leading textile shops (nothing unusual about it), ordering a readymade take away sadhya from a leading catering service and in the meantime, idling away to the latest blockbusters aired simultaneously…forcing you enough to surf channels and fight for the remote…and finally, not to mention the happy looks on the working class faces to enjoy a few days off from the bugging bosses…. :-)
I guess I’m deviating from the topic. So, coming to the topic, as I said earlier, Onam is almost round the corner and I was sitting there pondering about blogging about an exclusive sadhya dish recipe; when it dawned upon me that I have actually posted quite a few sadhya recipes in my blog. And furthermore, my obstinate wish to really share something unique with you all for this Onam made me finally settle on something extraordinary and relishing…something that’d give you that “kick” after having that rather scrumptious heavy ona sadhya…. Yes…the one and only Ona payasam…. Something that would make even your crammed tummies to adjust itself and leave that little extra space for the King of all desserts. ;-)
Talking about payasams, no kerala sadhya is complete without serving atleast one payasam. Be it paal payasam or sharkkara payasam or both, Keralites’, irrespective of age bar, are in fact die-hard fans of payasams. However, making payasam is not easy as it sounds and tastes. As a child, I never cared about the efforts my amma and grandma took to make yummy payasams for us. And even now on occasions, I subtly hand over the payasam making job to amma, who does it gracefully and with patience. Something we lack nowadays…. :) Yes, honestly, payasam making was indeed a tedious task for me…. But not till I stumbled upon this easy version of Payasam in this site. I simply gave it a try and was really worth it. A million thanx to the author from me and my amma (a great payasam lover) who now makes it every other day. And frankly, this payasam really reminds me of the famous Ambalapuzha paal payasam.
So, here’s how u get a very simple and tasty paal payasam within no time at all….
½ cup of Chemba rice (Onakkalari)
1½ ltrs (3 packets) of Milk
1 cup or more of Sugar
A few Cardamom pods
Cashews and Raisins for garnishing
1 tbsp of Ghee
1)Wash the rice well a couple of times.
2)Take a pressure cooker and clean it well.
3)Throw in the washed rice into it followed by the fresh milk and sugar.
5)Close the cooker and keep it on flame.
6)Cook till you hear the first whistle.
7)Then, immediately, reduce the flame to minimum and allow it to cook for 20 minutes.
8)After that, switch off the flame.
9)Open the cooker when the pressure is all gone.
10)If you find it more diluted than expected, you can keep it on flame again and boil, till you get the desired consistency. Anyway, do not reduce it much as it tends to become thick as it sits.
11)Powder the cardamom seeds in a mixer grinder along with a few tbsp of sugar.
12)Add it to the payasam.
13)Garnish with cashews and raisins fried in ghee.
Note:- I suggest you to go for a trial before you make it on the big day. Click here for the palada version. And pls do not use semiya as a substitute, coz you’d rather end up with a semiya pudding instead. Been there and done that…. And that was the result….:(
Listing out a few plus points on this recipe:-
a) It is absolutely easy to make with minimal efforts and ingredients. It requires no long standings over the kitchen-stove stirring continuously, aching and sweating all over…
b) The only thing you’d require would be a timer or a stop watch to check the reqd time.
c) You can leave the pressure cooker on and carry on cooking other dishes in the meantime…. You can also sneak a quick look into the living room to watch your favourite movie on TV. :)
d) You don’t get that pink hue in the conventional method; however hard you may stir it and condense it. But on the other hand, upon pressure cooking, you’d get that pinkish creamy texture even without adding a drop of readymade condensed milk.
e) This one definitely saves a quite a lot of time and energy thereby making your sadhya absolutely magnificent.
f) I suggest you refrigerate it and serve chilled for better tastes.
So, there you are!!! An easy and tasty payasam ready within minutes to be served onto the banana leaf on the grand occasion. A must try for all payasam lovers…
So, start singing to our old Onapattu and enjoy this Onam with an absolutely delicious payasam….
“Maveli naduvanidum kaalam
Manushyarellavarum onnu pole
Amodhathode vasikkum kaalam
Kallavum illa chathiyum illa
Ellolamilla poli vachanam
Kallam parayum cherunazhiyum
Hope we get to see an era in future, which depicts the above lines…. Something really too much to long for?? Have a faint ray of hope, though!! :)
So, on that note, happy cooking for Onam!!!
And a word to all the serene readers…. I’d like to thank you for the patience shown to read this rather loooooong n dragging write up. :-)
“Wising you all a very Happy Onam”