Monday, 30 January 2012




     1)    Commercially available unroasted rice ada – 200 gm.

     2)    Jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) – 250 gm.

     3)    Sugar – 3 tablespoons
     4)    Big coconut – 2 Nos.
     5)    Cardamom pods – 6 Nos.
     6)    Cinnamon stick – 1 inch piece
     7)    Cloves – 4 Nos.
     8)    Cashew nuts – 25 gm.
     9)    Sultanas (dried sweet seedless grapes) – 25 gm.
     10)     Ghee (Clarified butter) – 2 tablespoons

To Cook:

          Grate the coconuts and collect the three coconut milks as detailed in my delicious valval recipe. Set a small vessel on low heat. Pour in 50 ml. of water. Put in the jaggery and the sugar. Stir till they melt fully. Sieve and set aside. Shell the cardamom seeds and crush to powder. Pluck off and discard the dry stems of the sultanas.

          Set a thick, wide, flat vessel (around 12 inches wide and 4 inches deep) on high heat. Pour in the ghee and tip in the rice ada together with the cashew nuts. As soon as the ada gets hot, turn down the heat. Stir on low heat till the ada turns a light rose in colour. Now tip in the sultanas and stir for a minute. Pour in the second and the third (thinner) coconut milk. Turn up the heat. Stir continuously and let boil till it cooks and thickens nicely.

          Now add the jaggery-sugar syrup. Do not let up on the stirring. Add the cinnamon stick and the cloves. Once the syrup is added, the payasam will become a little thinner. Stir for a few more minutes till it thickens again. Now add the first (thick) coconut milk and stir.

          Just as it starts to boil, add the crushed cardamom seeds and turn off the heat. Cover with a lid and let rest for at least 30 minutes. If you like to have your payasam thin, you can serve it straight away. If you like it thicker and tastier, let rest for 3 to 5 hours before serving.

          Serve warm, tepid or chilled. If serving chilled, garnish with candied cherries or fresh strawberry pieces. You will love ada payasam, a favorite of Keralites.


          Rice ada is a pasta-like preparation which is made traditionally with white or red raw rice. The rice is ground to fine thick paste, spread thinly on banana leaves pre-greased with ghee, folded and steamed. The steam cooked ada is peeled off the leaves, sliced into fine bits and stir fried in ghee in an ‘uruli’ – a thick wide bronze vessel – over a wood fire. The fried rice ada is then used to make the payasam. Although this traditional method is quite elaborate, painfully time consuming and tough for the modern person, the payasam made thus is truly divine.

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