Tuesday, 4 September 2012

267) BREADFRUIT PAYASAM

BREADFRUIT PAYASAM
A SCRUMPTIOUS, SWEET, FRAGRANT DESSERT


Ingredients:

     1)    Fully mature whole breadfruit – 400 gm. (or finely chopped after peeling and de-coring – 325 gm.)
     2)    Jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) – 400 gm.
     3)    Coconut – 1½ (or freshly grated coconut – 450 gm., see tip)
     4)    Ghee (clarified butter) – 1½ tablespoons
     5)    Cashew nuts – 15 Nos.
     6)    Kismis (Dried seedless grapes / sultanas / raisins) – 15 Nos.
     7)    Cardamom – 6 pods
     8)    Water – 1250 ml. (1¼ litres)


To prepare:

          Peel the breadfruit. Cut it lengthwise into 8 slices (halve thrice) and remove the rubbery, gummy core. Use a sharp knife to slice the breadfruit to thin matchstick-like juliennes.

 

Transfer to a flat non-stick pan. Pour in a tablespoon of ghee and set on high heat. Stir occasionally till the breadfruit heats up nicely. Now turn down the heat and let it roast leisurely for 30 minutes, stirring now and then so that it gets done uniformly.

          In the meantime, while keeping an eye on the roasting breadfruit, put the jaggery in another pan and pour in 250 ml. of water. Set on high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, turn down the heat. Stir occasionally till all the jaggery dissolves fully. Strain it into a deep curry vessel to make the payasam.

Roasted Breadfruit Juliennes

          By this time, the breadfruit should be lightly roasted. Switch off the heat and transfer to the payasam vessel. Set it on low heat. Stir occasionally so that it does not stick to the bottom or burn. As soon as it thickens to a treacle-like consistency (thinner than jam), switch off the heat.

To save time, you can even do this time-consuming work a day before you cook the payasam. If you wish to prepare this a few days in advance, you can refrigerate this in a clean, airtight container.

          Grate the coconut (see tip). Transfer to a food processor. Measure out a litre of water. Add just enough of this water to grind the coconut to fine paste (it may take 2 or 3 batches). Now use a close meshed stainless steel sieve or strainer to take out the coconut milk. Use the remaining water to soak the pomace twice or thrice as you press, and squeeze it with your fingers against the sieve to strain out all the juice.

          Shell the cardamom and crush the seeds to powder.


To cook:

          Set the payasam vessel on high heat. Stir and let the jaggery breadfruit mixture come to a boil. Now pour in the coconut milk. Stir till it comes to a boil. If the froth rises too high, turn down the heat a little. Let boil for 5 minutes. Tip in the cardamom powder. Stir and switch off the heat.

Pour the rest of the ghee (½ tablespoon) into a tiny pan and tip in the cashew nuts. Set on low heat. Stir till the cashews turn a light brown. Now add the Kismis, stir just once and switch off the heat. Pour the contents into the payasam. Stir and cover with a lid. Let the payasam rest for 2 to 3 hours. Your delicious breadfruit payasam is now ready to serve. Serve warm or chilled. You will love it!


Tip:

If you cannot spare the time to make coconut milk or if fresh coconuts are not at hand, just use a litre of good quality canned coconut milk. You can also use the prescribed quantity of coconut milk powder in a litre of water. I make my own coconut milk because Kerala is a land of coconuts where fresh sweet nuts are available everywhere.

Note:

It is important that the bread fruit be fresh and fully mature to make this delicious payasam. Fresh fruits feel hard when squeezed. Tender fruits will be dark green and have rougher peel with the protrusions close together whereas mature fruit will be a lighter shade of green and have much smoother peel. So too, a greener stem indicates fresh fruit whereas a yellow stem may denote ripening fruit or a shop soiled one.

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