Category Archives: Payasam/Kheer Varieties

Moongil Arisi Payasam/ Bamboo Rice Payasam


  

Moongil Arisi or Bamboo Rice, is a rare variety among native rice which is the gift of the bamboo flower, during the last stages of the plant. Almost similar to wheat in looks and nutty in taste, it is highly adaptable as payasam/sweet pudding, dosai/pancakes, uppuma, or a replacement to cooked rice with loads of nutritious value.

High protein, high in potassium and vitamin B, strengthens heart, reduces cholesterol, maintains sugar level as it is low in glycemic index…. so many details available.  No doubt, it is several times healthier than the polished, refined rice and other carbs that are available today.

I chose to make a payasam/sweet pudding to relish this exclusive gift from the Bamboo Flower to mankind.
  

Moongil Arisi Payasam/Bamboo Rice Sweet Pudding
  


  

Ingredients

  • moongil arisi/bamboo arisi – 1 cup
  • vellam/cane jaggery – 3/4 cup
  • thengai pal/coconut milk  – thick milk: 1/2 cup; diluted thin milk :1/2 cup
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  • nei/clarified butter – 2 tsp
  • mundhiri paruppu/cashewnut – 8 no.s broken into smaller pieces

  
Method of Preparation

1. Soak jaggery in 1/4 cup hot water and close lid. It would be mostly dissolved after 15 minutes. Crush the jaggery pieces if any and filter for impurities. Keep aside to use it later

2. Wash well and soak moongil arisi/bamboo rice for 4 hours.


  

3. Use the soaked water for cooking too. Take 4 times water to 1 times rice (I used 4 cups water for 1 cup bamboo rice)


  

4. In a pressure cooker, reduce the burner after the first whistle and cook for 20 more minutes

5. Open lid after pressure subsides completely


  

6. Pour the filtered jaggery water and cook till the mixture thickens


  

7. Add the diluted thin coconut milk and cook for another 5 minutes. Like the paasi paruppu payasam, moongil arisi can be cooked in third coconut milk and then second and the first thick milk can be added to complete the process. But, moongil arisi is a hard nut to crack. I thought it might need more time to soften and hence used water to cook the rice well.

8. While using store-bought canned coconut milk – dilute 1/4 cup milk with 1/4 water and add at this stage, or if using home-made coconut milk from scratch, add the second milk (not so thin) after the rice is cooked with jaggery.


  

9. Heat clarified butter in a pan and fry cut cashew nuts and add to the boiling payasam. One can also use fried coconut slices or raisins to enhance flavor.


  

10. Check whether the rice is cooked well and absorbed the jaggery and coconut milk.

11. Now, add the thick milk and boil for just 2 minutes in simmered flame. The jaggery may curdle the coconut milk.


  

Nutritious Moongil Arisi Payasam is ready to be served.

My favourite Childhood After School Snack : Paal Aval – Rice flakes soaked in milk and coconut

When my daughter comes back from school with loads of stories in her school bag to share with me, it is a beautiful time that brings in timeless memories. I see myself running back from school to narrate never-ending stories to my all-time best friend – Amma. The special bond between mothers and daughters, especially mothers in the kitchen most of their time, transforms daughters into carriers of tasty treats to the next generations, I suppose. Might differ from person to person, but that’s true in many cases that I see.

Certain comfort foods create such cozy reminiscences. Yes,  Paal Aval or Nanaicha Aval -(Flattened Rice or Rice flakes soaked in milk and coconut) brings in warm memories of coming back from school to recite non-stop happenings at school to Amma.  The  dish has not only left behind impressions of the past,  but the simple taste of the soft rice flakes and the crunchiness of freshly grated coconut makes me thrive for more, even today.

Aval is known as flattened Rice, beaten rice or rice flakes in english. It is commonly called Poha or Chuda in the hindi belt of India.  It is identified as Pawa in many countries outside India.

  

  

When we came back from school, hungry and tired, Amma would have kept this ready. After a snack, drinking milk is the norm in the evening. This Nanaicha Aval/flattened rice or Poha has milk, sugar and coconut. It fills your tummy with the requisite milk of the evening… hence, no extra milk after the snack. It is such a comfort food, I can’t explain in words.. you need to taste this humble mix. It is certainly very easy as a ”no cook meal’ and not at all time-consuming, even for busy mothers and caretakers of children.
  

A multi-faceted meal
 

Why I call it a multi-faceted meal –

  1. it can also be an equivalent or substitute to today’s cereal-milk breakfast, so popular in Indian households too
  2. it can be an after school meal – quick to make-quick to eat, quite filling but not heavy on calories
  3. it can be a dessert with fried cashew nuts or soaked almonds, plus no cooking at all, easy isn’t it?
  4. it can be a quick meal apt for lazy weekends, during an emergency hour or a hunger prank during pregnancy too.
  5. It can also be a baby food (toddlers who have already been introduced to various other simple foods) without coconut of course.

  
A versatile dish

it is also a versatile dish to adapt itself to various additions

  1. Add chopped bananas, apples, pears or fruits of your choice – after aval is well soaked, this gives a fruity taste; choose fruits those wouldn’t curdle the hot milk;
  2. Add chopped nuts while mixing hot milk, so that the nuts are softened;
  3. Alter sugar with unrefined cane sugar, palm sugar, cane jaggery, honey;
  4. Use white aval or kaikuthal aval (unprocessed red aval) – whichever is available easily.

  

palm jaggery, cane jaggery or unrefined cane sugar


  

Now, this isn’t funny-

  1. among the three ingredients added to aval (milk, sugar and coconut)- Skip the milk, add just sugar and coconut to washed soft aval/flattened rice and that itself is a delicacy – it is called nanaicha aval/aval nanaichathu/ vella aval with jaggery;
  2. Skip the sugar, add coconut and fruits and that’s good for those who wish to avoid sugar in their meal;
  3. Skip coconut, have aval soaked in milk alone with raisins;

  

choose or skip


  

True – versatility personified!
  

Simplicity
Additionally, I believe the ‘x’ factor of this dish lies in its simplicity. Wash the flattened rice; boil the milk, grate the coconut- add everything together with sugar. Soak for 20 minutes and you get this simple and tasty treat with literally little or no effort at all. The recipe is done. So easy.
Simple recipe has already been explained in a paragraph. Still being a food blog, let me do the honours, please.

  

Paal Aval – Rice flakes soaked in sugar,milk and coconut
 


 

Ingredients
  


 

  

  • aval/flattened rice/poha (I have used red aval) – 1 ½ cups
  • milk – 4 cups
  • coconut grated – ½ cup (more or less as per preferred)
  • unrefined cane sugar – 6 tsp (more or less as preferred)
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – ½ ts
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – ½ tsp
  • chopped nuts – ¼ cup (optional)

  
Method of Preparation

1. Wash aval/ beaten rice. Do not overdo it. This is a very soft material to handle, wash it with care just twice carefully not mashing it. Keep in a bigger bowl to soak other ingredients.


  

2. Keep adding all the dry ingredients – sugar, grated coconut, cardamom powder, dry ginger powder and chopped nuts


  

3. Bring milk to boil and pour over the aval, sugar, coconut mixture


  

4. Close with lid and leave for about 20 minutes to soak well and soften. A hotcase can also be used to keep it hot.


  

Serve paal aval on all occasions that suit you.

Karuppu Kavuni Arisi Payasam/Black Kavuni Rice Payasam (Southeast Asian Black Rice)

 

  

When I  posted  traditional rice varieties of tamilnadu  back in January 2017, I knew very little about these exclusive varieties. Used extensively in Chettinadu households and being part of their ceremonies, these rice varieties are less popular or even unknown in other parts of Tamilnadu. Apart from these, there are countless rice varieties that the ancient Tamils cultivated across centuries, those were high in nutrient value and unpolished. There is an urgent need for the revival of these species of rice, while we are moving forward as a junk food community in India as a whole.

Now, moving on to black rice –   I was introduced to black, red and brown rice almost four years ago in Cambodia.  After almost 8 years of life style change to brown rice of southern India, finding longer grains of unpolished rice in southeast Asia was a blissful event in my life.

Cambodian brown rice then became our staple lunch rice and Cambodian red rice was used in simple sweets (cooked rice with palm sugar and coconut). The local rice vendors sitting with gunny bags with their home made-hand milled red or brown rice was another nostalgic scene for me… What we used to see in the local markets of Tamilnadu.

Everything takes its own time in life, and now the time has come for this beautiful travel of the black, red and brown rice in my dosais and sweets. It is an educative travel with loads of nutrition. Come along!

  

  

The deep black or the purple hue of the black rice is a marker of its high antioxidant properties. Similar to blackberries and blueberries, that appear deeper in colour because of their high content of anti-oxidants. The outermost layer of the grain (the bran and the hull), contains immense amounts of the antioxidant-anthocyanin. In fact the amount of anthocyanin contained in black rice is higher than any other grain, including brown rice, red rice, red quinoa, or other colored whole grain varieties. http://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/7-incredible-benefits-of-the-forbidden-rice-the-black-rice-1688420

  

When I took out the Karuppu Kavuni Arisi or the Black Kavuni Rice sent by friend ‘T’ (refer: dosaikal post), I found a container with glutinous black rice preserved from Cambodia, which looked almost the same. When I googled to learn more on the similarities of Karuppu kavuni and black rice of Southeast Asia, I knew they belonged to the same family.  The genetic ancestors of karuppu kavuni might be the chinese/southeast asian black rice, which migrated to the southern regions of India through the Maritime Trade Communities, thousands of years ago. That is why it is still among the traditional varieties used in Chettiar Community of Tamilnadu, who are among the elite overseas Tamil Traders even today. Or… Could the travel have been the other way round. Research needed. That’s for another post though.

In the below mentioned research article, the author mentions of Black, Red and White rice being mentioned Sangam Tamil Literature, which dates back to 3rd Century BCE to 3rd Century ACE. The root word of ‘Rice’ is also of Dravidian origin is a well known established fact.

  


  

The origin of black rice (karu nel; kalikalu nel; kar nel;  kayam pu nel;  irul samaththanna erungaru nel; maiirul nel; karunavarkaniyanna nel; mattrundu arikila manjur eyahtu nel; kallanvulamkandanna nel; )  white rice (thuvel arisi; thuppaianna velnagai nel; velli vilangu nel; manthur nagai mani nel; ullurai ueranna velmulai arisi;  paruthipoothanna pasum nel); Red rice (keliru kannan kudumsennel; kuruthivoonnna nel; ratha mani nel; rathinam pothithanna nel; murukkam poo nel; sivel nel)  have been abundantly mentioned in the Tamil Sangam literature.
http://tamilpaddycivilization.blogspot.in/2012/01/evolution-of-rice-in-tamil-nadu-ancient.html

  

While I decided to try out dosai/dosa with Karuppu kavuni arisi , my sweet teeth conquered in tempting me to make a payasam, Tirunelveli style with jaggery and coconut milk. My newly acquired clay pot made the recipe more exclusively traditional.

I am just a learner here, but there are mothers and grannies of chettinadu households who have provided enough recipes on the different brown, red and black rice varieties in the world wide web. I thank them all for making my quest more interesting with their authentic recipes transferred from generations. My dishes are only an adaption of their original recipes, with twists here and there.

A  few blogs that I referred for knowing more about karuppu kavuni arisi are mentioned here-

http://www.annamsrecipes.com/2013/11/kavuni-arisi-chettinad.html

https://www.kannammacooks.com/kavuni-arisi-chettinad-kavuni-arisi/

http://swarnaprashana.org/the-miracle-rice-karuppu-kavuni-arisi-black-kavuni-rice/

Now, to the Payasam or the Sweet Pudding.
  

Karuppu Kavuni Arisi Payasam/Black Kavuni Rice Pudding
  

Ingredients

  • karuppu kavuni arisi/black rice – 1 cup
  • water – to cook rice – 4 cups
  • vellam/jaggery – 3/4 cup grated to make syrup
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  • thengaipal/coconut milk (thick milk) – 200 ml
  • nei/clarified butter – 2 tsp
  • mundhiri paruppu/cashewnut – 6 no.s chopped to medium sized pieces

 

Method of Preparation

Getting ready

a. Wash well and soak black rice overnight to be cooked soft; I soaked the rice for about 4 hours for a nutty crunchy texture.


  

b. Dissolve jaggery in hot water to dissolve and strain for impurities. Boil the strained jaggery for while into a pourable consistency syrup. One can pour the strained jaggery directly to cooked rice and cook for a while till the  pudding gets a bit thick, befoe adding coconut milk.  I have the syrup ready in fridge that makes it easier to mix in sweets.

  

Making Payasam

1. Use the soaked water and add more if needed to make it 4 cups to cook rice in pressure cooker. After the first whistle, simmer the stove and cook for 4 more whistles or approximately 20 minutes.


  

2. In a clay pot (any cooking pan), pour the clarified butter and fry cashewnuts till golden brown.


  

3. Not wasting any time, pour the cooked rice inside the pan. Otherwise the nuts would get burnt.

  
4. Add the jaggery syrup, cardamom powder and dry ginger powder, and bring to boil.


  

5. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to boil. Be cautious to keep the stove on medium flame.  Coconut milk with jaggery in high flame for more time might split the milk.


  

6. As soon as the payasam comes to a boil, switch off stove. Payasam is ready to relish.


  

Note:

  1. Alter quantity of jaggery and coconut milk as preference.
  2. One might use palm sugar too, but no white sugar here please.
  3. Do no think of replacing coconut milk with cow’s milk..No way.

 

Adai Pradhaman/ Ada Pradhaman

I have always felt jaggery based sweets are more traditional… might be because special occasions are marked by those made of jaggery. Pongal is celebrated with sarkkarai pongal which is sweetened by jaggery. Diwali though not a traditional tamil festival, is marked by adhirasam which is again made of jaggery. Or more so because, in today’s world everyone prefers making the comparatively easier sugar based sweets to the time-consuming  jaggery based sweets.

Adai pradhaman is one such sweet. Though it is more popular as a kerala payasam or kheer, the people of tirunelveli district of tamilnadu, having proximity geographically to kerala also prepare this payasam. When we were young, adai – flakes of cooked rice – the base of this payasam was not available in shops in chennai. My grandmother used to send from tirunelveli where it was made in bulk. In kerala, it is made fresh for the payasam.  Nowadays it is very easily available in packets in most of the indian shops even if we live abroad.

Till today, I believe adai pradhaman is the most heavenly and divinely of all payasams! The smell of adai or flakes of cooked rice, cooked in jaggery, and coconut milk added slowly would travel around the house… not to leave the cashewnuts fried in ghee poured on top of it.  Another payasam to come close to this would be paasi paruppu payasam/ dehusked green gram (moong dhal) payasam (recipe shortly).

Unlike Kerala where adai pradhaman is a festival sweet, in tamilnadu or more specifically tirunelveli, it is prepared for guests and special occasions. Sometimes it used to be a sunday special and I used to be so delighted to have tirunelveli special in chennai! Now to the recipe..

This recipe needs thin – 3rd milk, medium thick – 2nd milk and creamy thick – 1st milk of coconut to be added gradually in the rice flakes cooked in jaggery. Here, I have minimised work by using canned coconut milk.

 

Adai Pradhaman

Ingredients

  • adai/flakes of cooked rice – 200 gms
  • vellam/jaggery – 400 gms
  • coconut milk – 1 can – 200 gms
  • ghee – 2 tbsp
  • cashewnuts – 12 no. halved
  • cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • dry ginger powder – 1/2 tsp

the humble Nut

 

palm jaggery might give a darker colour to the payasam

 

cooking adai

 

jaggery might have impurities

 

 

 Method of Preparation

  1. Boil water in a big utensil
  2. Always add adai to boiling water as these  flakes might stick to the bottom of the utensil if water is cold
  3. Adai should be completely immersed in water and there should be enough water to cook the adai 
  4. When it is cooked soft, drain and wash in cold water 
  5. In a separate pan, take jaggery and 1 cup of water
  6. When jaggery is melted, filter it
  7. Cook adai in filtered jaggery in a hard bottomed wide cooking pan
  8. After about seven minutes add half the canned coconut milk
  9. Simmer for five minutes. If the payasam tends to thicken, little water can be added to adjust the consistency. This thickening might be due to the thick canned milk. Mostly this doesn’t happen when thin and medium thick 3rd or 2nd milk is gradually added
  10. Add cardamom powder and dry ginger powder and mix well
  11. Now add the remaining coconut milk and let it cook for another five minutes
  12. Payasam is done. Turn off the stove
  13. Fry cashewnuts till golden brown in ghee and pour it on the adai pradhaman
  14. Tastes best when served on a banana leaf. Tackle it with all five fingers and palm to send it to the taste buds of the tongue.  

 

Adai Pradhaman