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Desserts, Kerala Dishes, Payasams

Paal Payasam / Ari Payasam – Of Dreams and Desserts

പാല്‍ പായസം

Not a day passes in our house when we do not use an Amul product, the brainchild of Dr. Verghese Kurien, ‘ Father of the White Revolution’ in  India. Recently I was lucky to chance upon his autobiography “I Too Had A Dream“,  and was filled with wonder at his energy, foresight and commitment. He is the beacon that lights up the world of  millions of exploited  and vulnerable rural dairy farmers of India. His journey from a dairy engineer in a government creamery, to being the ‘Father of the White Revolution’ which made India a surplus nation in milk, is the lore heroes are made of.

In Dr. Kurien’s  words, “…true development is the development of women and men. This idea took such a hold on me that I remained in the small sleepy town of Anand for over fifty years as an employee of farmers. ……….When the tools of development are placed in the hands of our rural people and when their energy and wisdom is linked with the skill of committed professionals,  there is nothing  they cannot achieve. ” He is the living embodiment of what is the very essence of life  –  that helping others change their life for the better is the only thing of lasting value or meaning.

When I started cooking it was savories all the way. Desserts spelled Doom. Memories of the rich, creamy, sweet Payasam made in my hometown, vigorously stirred in huge urulis  ( traditional Kerala vessel ), a whole morning by an expert cook, made it seem a daunting task. I am glad that my cousin’s timely pressure cook payasam recipe and her words, ” It tastes just like the famous Ambalapuzha paal payasam” came at the right time.

Paal Payasam – Ari Payasam


  1. Milk – 1 litre
  2. Red Kuthiya Ari / Unakkalari – 1/4 cup or Basmathi rice – 1/4 cup
  3. Sugar – 1/2  – 3/4 cup ( depending on the sweetness required )
  4. Cardamom – 1 pod

Method of Preparation

  • Wash rice,soak in water for 30 minutes, drain and set aside.
  • Pour milk followed by rice, sugar and crushed cardamom seeds  into a big pressure cooker. Stir well  and cook on medium flame.
  • When steam flows out, place weight and bring the flame down to low.
  • Let it cook for 25 minutes in  low flame.
  • Off the stove and allow the cooker to cool down by itself.
  •  Transfer the contents, the color of which would be light pink,  to a serving bowl.
  • Serve hot or chilled.

Please note – The milk level should not exceed more than half the capacity of the pressure cooker.
The consistency of the payasam is rich, creamy and flowing.  If it is too thick, add milk.
This payasam can be made with  condensed milk too. For 1 tin of Amul Mithai Mate, add 2 tins of water and mix well.  Sugar need not be added. Proceed as above.

Quick Snack – Paneer Bhurji

While most of us love paneer, cooking it can sometimes be a daunting task. My daughter-in-law cooks an easy ‘Paneer Burji’  which I will share with you.

Saute 1 onion finely chopped, 1 tsp each of finely chopped ginger and garlic, 1 cut green chilli in 1 tbsp oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add 1/2 a capsicum finely chopped and 1 small carrot grated to it followed by 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and 1/4 tsp chilli powder. Crumble 200 gms of paneer and add it to this mixture. Saute for 5 mins or till dry.  Add salt to taste and garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot Paneer Burji with chappatis, rice or bread.

About Paddy

When I married and came to Bangalore, it was a real ‘Pensioners’ Paradise.’ The climate was as today’s generation would say – ‘Awesome’. It was cool and pleasant throughout the year. My parents cautioned me to keep warm and have given me the loveliest Kashmir shawls, which I treasure to this day. Since I could not distinguish between rice and dal, cooking was an uphill task. I had a cook from Kerala, but the cold weather did not suit her and in a month’s time, she went back. Looking back, I have come a long way now… Cooking for me has metamorphosed from a daily routine of making edible and nutritious food for my family to an exciting journey of creativity by experimenting with different flavors and ingredients. To me, food is not only for nourishment and sustenance. Its taste and flavors take us back to our good times too. Food is nostalgia and comfort. It brings home our culture. Food is a treat and nourishment for the soul too. I dedicate this blog to my parents, who instilled in me a strong sense of ethics and discipline, and whose affection, love and support gives me strength in this journey of life. I feel the need of today’s generation, who come away from their homes and crave for home cooked food. To you too, I dedicate this blog, where I will share the recipes that I have learnt and grown to love over the years.


5 thoughts on “Paal Payasam / Ari Payasam – Of Dreams and Desserts

  1. oh wow.. you read his autobio..?? howz it..!! i just love bio & autobio.. esp wen it comes from genius like him.. it will be a never miss..!! And about Paal Payasam.. what should I say..u reminded ME OF onam, HOME… OOOHHH….!!!!

    Posted by scribbleofhappygoluckygal | July 17, 2012, 7:09 PM
    • Thank you. Yes for me too, Biographies of great people clearly outline the dos and do nots in the journey of life. It refocuses the correct perspectives and priorities that otherwise have been shaken out of their rightful places due to the various trivial demands of the modern world. And ONAM is the time of the year when we celebrate the Malayali spirit in full and try to bring a slice of Kerala here through its food, new clothes, pookkalam and sadya,

      Posted by Paddy | July 22, 2012, 10:43 AM
  2. Dear Ammayi,
    I am Priyanka,(Mallika’s grand-daughter). I am chosen to make a malayali meal at my school. Mutchi told me to go to your blog and get the recipes. This is just to let you know how grateful I am for the recipes and to thank you for the delicious recipes that you have put up.

    Posted by Priyanka | October 8, 2012, 9:26 PM

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