Sunday, 11 December 2011



1)    Raw red par boiled rice – 250 gm.

2)    Fully ripe pumpkin – 750 gm.
3)    Jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) – 400 gm.

4)    Cashew nuts – 25 gm.
5)    Sultanas or raisins – 25 gm.
6)    Big coconut – 2 Nos.
7)    Cardamom pods – 6 Nos.
8)    Cinnamon stick – 2 inch piece
9)    Cloves – 5 Nos.
10)                      Ghee (clarified butter) – 3 tablespoons

To Cook:
Peel the pumpkin and dice into pieces. Wash and drain the red rice. Set a small pan on low heat. Pour in 2 tablespoons of ghee. Tip in the drained rice. Stir and roast the rice slowly. The rice will lose its stickiness fully. As soon as a few of the rice grains start turning white, switch off the heat.
Grate the 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 pan on low heat. Put in the jaggery together with 50 ml. of water. Stir till the jaggery is fully melted. Sieve and set aside. Shell the cardamoms and crush the seeds to fine powder. Put the pumpkin pieces, the roasted rice, the cinnamon stick, the cloves and also the second and third coconut milks into a five litre pressure cooker. Pour in a glass of water. Put on the lid and set on high heat.
As soon as you hear the second whistle, turn down the heat and allow the cooker to cool naturally so that the cooking process is slowly completed by the residual steam within the cooker. Select a thick large (7 to 8 litre) wide mouthed vessel to make the payasam. When the cooker is cool enough to open, pour its contents together with the sieved jaggery into the vessel. Set on high heat. Stir frequently, pressing down with your ladle to mash and to combine the pumpkin with the cooked rice.
Once it starts boiling, turn down the heat. Do not let up on the stirring or the payasam may burn at the base. Five minutes later, pour in the thick coconut milk. Stir till it starts to boil again. As soon as it boils, switch off the heat (since you do not want the thick coconut milk to split) sprinkle the cardamom powder, stir and cover with lid.
Set a small pan on low heat. Pour in the remaining ghee. Tip in the cashew nuts and fry slowly. As soon as they turn a light brown, slip in the raisins. Stir for a minute and switch off the heat. Tip over the contents of the pan into the payasam. Stir and serve hot or chilled. Try it both ways.

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