Poppy seeds payasam

Poppy seeds payasam is a delicious yet nutritious dessert popular in Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh. Earlier I had been using poppy seeds scantily as a thickening agent along with coconut. But when I started to use them profusely for making payasam, the flavor became so conspicuous that I could notice the nutty flavor similar to sesame seeds & the sweetness close to peanuts.

poppy-pysm (1)This observation roused my curiosity to compare their nutrients with one another and eventually 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. Ayurveda recommends to take poppy seeds payasam to treat insomnia and I personally find this very effective for sound sleep. Apparently we can enjoy the benefits of highly nutritious poppy seeds to the fullest by taking this delicious payasam.


Poppy seeds are harvested as a by-product of opium poppy cultivation for opium legally used by the pharmaceutical industry.  Essentially poppy seeds contain very low level of opiates with negligible effects and hence these are completely safe to include in our food. But it is preferred to avoid taking food 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 with more protein & iron. Now the recipe for khasa khasa payasam to enjoy in this festive season:

Time taken: 15 min.

Yields: 750 ml

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  1. 1/4 cup (50 g) of poppy seeds (khus khus)
  2. 1/8 cup (25 g) of green gram lentils (moong dal)
  3. 1/2 cup (100 g) of powdered jaggery
  4. 1/2 cup (100 ml) of coconut milk
  5. 1 tbsp of ghee
  6. 5 Nos. of almonds
  7. 1 No. of cardamom

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Payasam preparation:

  • 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.

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  • Dry roast the lentils in the same pan and cook them until soft & mushy.
  • Keep aside until it reaches the room temperature.

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  • Meanwhile fry the slivered almonds in ghee as shown below and keep aside.

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  • Grind toasted poppy seeds, cooked lentils & cardamom into a smooth paste after adding 100 ml of water as shown below.

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  • Now heat a sauce pan with poppy seeds paste and water (used to deglaze the mixer jar) in medium flame.
  • Stir in until you 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.

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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 under 5 minutes.

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  • 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.

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  • You may replace slivered almonds with cashew or coconut pieces.

82 Comments Add yours

  1. The payasam looks so yummm, and you have explained about it so well👍🏼

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you.

  2. Rupali says:

    I just had my dinner but it makes me hungry again!

    1. Megala says:

      Haha…thanks! 🙂

  3. My Real Dish says:

    I’ve never cooked with poppy seeds before! Thanks for teaching me!

    1. Megala says:

      Glad you find this post useful, thanks.

  4. Lady Oscar says:

    The Nutrients Table is awesome!
    Now I know how to use poppy seeds. ^^
    Thank you.

    1. Megala says:

      Glad you feel so, thanks for reading.

  5. I’m so excited to find this recipe! I have a ton of poppy seeds and they’re so rarely used in most western recipes. If they are, it’s only the tiniest amount. I would love to finally use them up, and this sounds like a truly delicious way to do so!

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, indeed! Thank you.

  6. Timelesslady says:

    I always thought of poppy seeds as mostly a garnish for food. Now, after reading your blog I realize they are very healthy too. Thanks.

    1. Megala says:

      My pleasure. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  7. gohealthy says:

    A delicious twist to the traditional payasam!!

    1. Megala says:

      Glad you liked this twist! 🙂 Thank you !

  8. Mouthwatering!! One of my favorites!!

    1. Megala says:

      Oh, nice to hear this! Thanks.

  9. Beyoutiful says:

    My mom makes a similar one and it tastes so good! Yours looks yummy 🙂

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, it is, thanks so much.

  10. Jyo says:

    I usually prepare this in a slightly different way…we call it as gasgase payasa..and loved your version too, looks SO SO SO delicious….🔝🔝

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you. 🙂

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