14 April 2006
Celebrating Tamil New Year with Payasam
Payasam (read what Wikipedia has to say) especially in the South of India is considered to be God's favorite food. Hence it generally occupies center stage in most festivals.
My mom makes the regular Paal Payasam- which is made with cooked rice and milk, or Semiya Payasam- made with vermicilli and milk. In most payasams, milk is kept at a simmer for a long time, so that it gets the pinkish hue and tastes rich.
My payasam is a quicker version and uses cashewnuts instead of the traditional rice or vermicilli.
4 cups 2% milk ( i prefer this, you could use whole milk too)
3 tbsp sugar
Few strands saffron
1 tbsp raisins
1/4 tsp Almond essence (optional )
1. Preparing cashew paste- If you have soaked the cashews overnight / for few hours, they are ready to be ground with 1/2 cup of milk, into a very fine paste. If you are a last minute person like me, you could soak them in a little water and microwave on HIGH for 3 min. Let them remain in that hot water for 5-10 more minutes. Once cooled, grind them with some milk as above.
2. Boil the milk on the side in a heavy bottomed pan. Once boiled, let it simmer. Add the sugar, saffron and raisins. Add the cashew paste. Make sure you keep stirring so that the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
3. Let the milk simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the almond essence. The cashew paste will thicken the milk such that it will stick to the back of the ladle. It's time to remove it from the flame.
4.Garnish with 2-3 strands of saffron and a Holy Basil leaf. Offer it to the Gods and then enjoy chilled.
Putthandu Nal Vazhthugal!