Sunday, 3 July 2016




          Kuthari or Nellu Kuthari or Matta Pachari is a small grained unpolished raw rice used in temples in kerala to prepare sweet rice offerings to the deities. This rice with its red bran skin mostly intact has a special fragrance of its own and is much healthier and tastier when compared to regular polished rice.

          I still remember vividly, the fabulous taste of this payasam served in Konkani temples around Cochin during the Aarat festivals at our school summer vacations when I used to spend two months at my grandmothers.

          Kuthari Palpayasam is served to anxious thousands at the temple feast as the final course of the banana leaf repast accompanied by Teek Umman, a hot and spicy curry which serves to accentuate the taste of this gourmet’s delight.

          The sight of thousands supping up the payasam and the umman with their wholehearted attention on the leaf plates and on their taste buds, oblivious of all else is something to be experienced. I would like you to recreate these two dishes in the privacy of your kitchen and enjoy them with your family and friends at home.

Enjoy it the way the Cochin Konkanis do, a slurp of yummy payasam, followed by a hot Teek Umman repeated over and over until you can eat no more.

Ingredients (for around 15 to 20 servings):

     1)    Fresh thick milk – 3 litres
     2)    Kuthari or Matta Pachari – 300 gm.
     3)    Sugar – 500 gm.
     4)    Kismis (sultanas or raisins) – 100 gm.
     5)    Cardamom pods – 10 Nos.

To cook:

Clean, wash and drain the rice. Shell the cardamom and crush the seeds. Discard the dry stems of the kismis if any. Pour 2 litres of the milk in a 5 litre vessel and set on low heat. Pour the remaining litre of milk into a pressure cooker. Set on high heat and bring it to a boil (with lid open). As soon as it boils, tip in the rice and close the lid.

No sooner than you hear the first whistle, lower the heat to minimum. And let cook slowly for 10 minutes. Switch off the heat and let cool naturally. Once the steam has subsided, open the lid and mash the rice nicely with a ladle (do not use a masher or beater). Pour the mixture into the vessel holding the 2 litres of milk which should be boiling nicely by now.

Turn up the heat. As it boils again, tip in the sugar and the kismis and stir well. Turn down the heat and stir occasionally till the payasam thickens a bit (10 to 15 minutes). Now put in the crushed cardamom seeds and stir again. Switch off the heat.

Your delicious Kuthari Payasam is now ready to serve. Serve hot or chilled.



          Refrigerated payasam can be garnished with cherries, mulberries or strawberries and enjoyed like ice cream, though chilled but not frozen. Try garnishing it with ghee-fried cashew nuts or with paper thin slices of almonds or pistachios at different servings.

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