Friday, 9 December 2011



1)    Split chickpea lentils – 200 gm.

2)    Jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) – 350 gm.

3)    Big coconuts – 2¼ Nos.
4)    Cardamom – 5 pods
5)    Cashew nuts – 25 gm.
6)    Sultanas or raisins – 25 gm.
7)    Ghee (clarified butter) – 1 tablespoon

To Cook:
Soak the split chickpea lentils for 2 hours.
Grate two coconuts and grind them adding water. The volume of water should be approximately equal to the volume of grated coconuts. When finely ground, cover a bowl with clean cotton or muslin cloth and tip over the ground coconut. Now, pull together the edges of the cloth and squeeze the coconut mixture twisting the top of the cloth as you go releasing the thick coconut milk into the bowl. Pour the milk into another vessel and put back the cloth bundle into the bowl. Open the cloth and pour the same quantity of water as earlier. Mix well and squeeze again. Set aside the second coconut milk and repeat once again collecting the third milk.
Set a small vessel or pan on the stove. Put in the jaggery with an ounce (30 ml.) of water. Stir well till it is fully melted. Sieve the liquid and set aside. Shell the cardamom and crush the seeds to powder. Cut the ¼ coconut to 1 cm. long x 1 cm. wide x 2 mm. thick bits. Set aside. Wash the soaked chickpeas. Drain and transfer to a 5 litre pressure cooker together with the second and third coconut milks.
Once you hear the third whistle, lower the heat and cook for 3 minutes. Allow to cool naturally as the cooking goes on inside. Once the cooker is cool enough to open, transfer the contents to a 5 litre vessel. Add the sieved melted jaggery. Set on high heat and use a ladle to press on the cooked chickpeas in order to thicken up the payasam. Stir frequently to avoid sticking to the base.
Once the payasam has become fairly thick (it may take around half an hour), pour in the first (thick) coconut milk. As soon as it comes to a boil, switch off the heat. Tip in the cardamom powder and cover with a lid.
Set a small pan on low heat. Pour in the ghee. Tip in the coconut bits and stir. When they turn a light brown, put in the cashew nuts. As soon as the cashew nuts turn light brown, tip in the sultanas or raisins. Stir for 15 seconds and tip the whole lot into the payasam. Stir well. Cover with lid and let rest for 30 minutes. Serve hot.
This payasam also tastes good when chilled. Hot or cold, slurp it up and you will dance with joy!!!

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