Although Navrathri in south India is synonymous with savoury sundal, traditionally sweet payasam is also offered for neivedhyam. I prepared adai pradhaman, a creamy delicious dessert popular in Kerala & southern Tamilnadu. In Kerala onam sadhya menu is incomplete without adai pradhaman. I still remember when I was about 5 relishing adai pradhaman prepared by my aunt in Nagercoil and I thank her for introducing us such a sweet delicacy.
Adai Pradhaman is prepared using rice flour flakes called adai which is similar to Italian pasta. The most interesting aspect of Indian pasta is that it dissolves slowly into the water while cooking (without losing its shape or size) and makes its own sauce. Hence it does not require any thickening agent.
Earlier payasam used to be served in wedding feasts along with appalam (or papadam), sweet boondhi & ripe banana on a banana leaf. Nowadays it is being served in paper cups, so kids do not have an opportunity to revel payasam in the same way as we did.
Now let us revive such tradition at home in this festive season and the recipe for ada pradhaman is as below:
Yields : 500 ml
- Adai – ½ cup
- Powdered jaggery – ¾ cup
- Coconut – ½
- Cardamom – 2 Nos.
- Coconut pieces (chopped) – as required
- Ghee – 1 tsp
Mise en place:
1) Wash & soak adai in warm water and set aside.
2) Extract coconut milk as below (I used juice extractor jar and it took less than 10 min) :
- Extract first coconut milk using 100 ml water
- For second milk use 200 ml water
- For third milk use 300 ml water
3) Prepare jaggery syrup in 100 ml water until jaggery is dissolved and set aside.
4) Fry coconut pieces in ghee and keep aside.
5) Powder cardamom seeds using mortar & pestle.
- Heat a heavy bottom pan with soaked adai after pouring the third pressed coconut milk into it.
- Bring it to a boil in medium flame.
- Simmer until adai is cooked soft while leaving the pan’s lid ajar.
- Now pour the second pressed milk and allow it to boil in medium flame.
- When it starts boiling reduce the heat to low.
- Pour jaggery syrup through a fine sieve and mix well.
- Pour first pressed milk, cook for 30 sec. and remove the pan from heat.
- Add cardamom powder & fried coconut pieces into payasam and mix together.
- Serve adai pradhaman warm or chilled.
- We need to be careful to avoid coconut milk getting curdled :
- Do not pour hot syrup into coconut milk.
- Do not leave payasam on the stove when done.
- It is preferred to use home made coconut milk than store-bought coconut milk for its authentic taste.
- There are hard-to-cook small glassy rice flakes also available in the market, but you need to buy larger white flakes as shown above.