Poppy seeds payasam is a delicious and nutritious dessert popular in Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh. Earlier I had been using poppy seeds scantily as a thickening agent along with coconut, so I could not identify the flavors in these seeds. But when I started to use them in larger quantity while making payasam, the flavor became so conspicuous that I could notice its nutty flavor similar to sesame seeds and also its sweetness as that of peanuts.
This observation aroused my curiosity to compare the nutrients of poppy seeds with sesame seeds & peanuts and I was amazed at their nutrients’ data shown below. It is needless to say that these unpopular poppy seeds are as nourishing as the most sought-after sesame seeds & peanuts. Apparently we can enjoy the benefits of highly nutritious poppy seeds to the fullest by taking delicious poppy seeds payasam. Ayurveda also recommends to take poppy seeds payasam to treat insomnia and I personally find this very effective for sound sleep.
Poppy seeds are harvested as a by-product of opium poppy cultivation for opium legally used by the pharmaceutical industry. Basically poppy seeds contain very low level of opiates with negligible effects and hence completely safe to include them in our diet. But it is advised to avoid taking foods made of poppy seeds before undergoing medical exams, usually required for immigration or for participating in international sports events, as a precautionary measure.
Traditional poppy seeds payasam recipe calls for coconut, cow’s milk & sugar, but I replaced them with moong dal, coconut milk and jaggery respectively to enrich this payasam with protein & iron. Now the recipe for khasa khasa payasam that can be relished in this festive season:
Time taken: 15 min.
Yields: 750 ml
- 1/4 cup (50 g) of poppy seeds (khus khus)
- 1/8 cup (25 g) of green gram lentils (moong dal)
- 1/2 cup (100 g) of powdered jaggery
- 1/2 cup (100 ml) of coconut milk
- 1 tbsp of ghee
- 5 Nos. of almonds
- 1 No. of cardamom
- First we need to toast poppy seeds in low flame until the nutty flavour is released.
- Transfer to another bowl and allow them to cool down.
- Dry roast the lentils in the same pan and cook them until soft & mushy.
- Keep aside until it reaches the room temperature.
- Meanwhile fry the slivered almonds in ghee as shown below and keep aside.
- Grind toasted poppy seeds, cooked lentils & cardamom into a smooth paste after adding 100 ml of water as shown below.
- Now heat a sauce pan with poppy seeds paste and water (used to deglaze the mixer jar) in medium flame.
- Stir in until you could notice the beautiful aroma of poppy seeds, it just took 2 or 3 minutes.
- Now reduce the flame to low and add powdered jaggery into the pan.
- Stir in until jaggery is dissolved.
- Now pour coconut milk and stir to combine together.
- Add fried almond slivers into the payasam and remove from heat.
- Serve khus khus payasam warm or chilled.
Tips & tweaks:
- It is tricky to handle poppy seeds paste, jaggery, or coconut milk, as each one has the ability to cause curdling. We should not leave poppy seeds paste to boil for a long time as it begins to curdle in just few minutes as shown below; so we need to keep stirring in low flame until its beautiful aroma is released (mostly within 2 minutes), add jaggery, when it is melted add coconut milk, stir well until combined and then remove from flame immediately. The whole process should take place within 5 minutes.
- Alternatively you can replace coconut milk with water/ cow’s milk and jaggery with sugar to reduce the chances of payasam getting curdled.
- You can prepare this payasam even more faster by replacing cooked moong dal with fresh coconut meat.
- You may replace slivered almonds with cashew or coconut pieces.