Payasam is very similar to kheer. It’s called “kheer” in North India, while usually referred to as “payasam” or some variant thereof in South India. A lot of dishes are kind of like that: similar dishes, different names. Just to make things nice and confusing for the foreigner. But you get the hang of it pretty quickly!
Anyway, a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. And sweet, this is. Sweet and spicy and crunchy and smooth and creamy. Payasam (according to wikipedia) comes from a “peeyusham” meaning nectar or ambrosia… An accurate description.
You’re probably wondering, ‘okay, what is this, whatever the name is!?’ Well if you haven’t read my banana kheer post (shame on you), kheer/payasam is basically pudding/porridge made with various ingredients: usually some grain (or banana!), nuts, ghee, sugar, spices and milk.
I got this recipe from VahChef at http://www.vahrehvah.com. His Indian cooking YouTube videos are hilaaarious and I highly recommend.
Oats and Coconut Payasam
Adapted from VahChef
1-2 tablespoons ghee
15-20 cashews, chopped roughly
1 tablespoon golden raisins
2-3 tablespoons of oats (I ended up using a bit more)
1/2 cup freshly grated coconut (You could probably use unsweetened desiccated coconut, or go ahead and test your coconut cracking skills)
2 cups or 500 mL milk
1 cup water
Sugar: I used 1 cube of jaggery and a sprinkle of granulated sugar. Original recipe says 1/2 cup sugar. Add to taste.
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Sliced almonds for garnishing
Heat ghee in a pot, add cashews and raisins and fry until the raisins puff up and cashews are golden brown.
Add the oats and coconut and stir until you can smell some coconutty fragrance/you see a slight color change. (2-3 minutes)
Add the milk and water and cook on low heat for a while until the milk reduces and the mixture thickens. You can add more water to dilute if it gets too thick.
Add sugar and let it melt; add the cardamom and take off the heat.
Sprinkle almonds on top and serve, warm or cold. Or room temperature. It will basically taste yummy in any form.
This was so good. I wouldn’t really mind eating this for breakfast every day. I gave some of this to my neighbors and landlords in return for goodies that they gave to me! I got good reviews from them, so let that be your guide and just go ahead and make this. MmmmMMm.