Saffron Rice

Sweet saffron rice (zarda pulao), a Persian rice dish, was popular during the Mughal era dated back to 16th century. Noor Jahan, the multi-talented Mughal empress, devised a new technique to stain rice grains with edible dyes. Later zarda pulao made using such rice grains of various colours became so popular that it was served…

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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…

Indian Beetroot Relish

I feel sad that children today are not able to savor our traditional beetroot relish as I did in my childhood. It was a delightful experience for the kids to relish the beautiful reddish-purple beetroot puree infused with delicious flavors of native fruits served in wedding feasts. Beetroot sweet pachadi, the most popular fruit dessert,…

Cottonseed milk dessert

Cottonseed milk is one of the best vegan milk traditionally used by people in the villages near my home town, Madurai, for making nutritious desserts. As a part of my college education, I served as a NSS (National Service Scheme) volunteer. We used to camp in the surrounding villages during summer vacation to understand the…

Anna Payasam

Whenever I heard the word payasam, I was visualizing rice & lentil jaggery payasam aka anna payasam during my childhood days. It was a delicious staple dessert prepared in our family whether to treat our guests, or on our birthdays, on any festival, or simply to offer to deities at home on Fridays. However we…

Tapioca Pearls Payasam

Indians usually celebrate a new beginning by distributing sweet boondi laddu, but in our family we celebrate by serving sweet boondi particularly when a new-born arrives home. Today I follow the same tradition and serve tapioca pearls payasam garnished with sweet boondhi (chickpea flour pearls) on this New Year! Health benefits of cooked tapioca pearls:   Tapioca…

Adai Pradhaman

Although Navrathri in south India is synonymous with savoury sundal, traditionally sweet payasam is also offered for neivedhyam during Navarathri. 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 the delicious adai pradhaman prepared by my aunt…

Kummiyanam

Kummiyanam is a nutritious dessert made of rice, assorted legumes & palm jaggery prepared by the people in Tirunelveli, Nagerkoil, or Kanyakumari. It is offered to the lamented souls while remembering them in Aadi month (a Tamil calendar month usually falls between 15th of July & 15th of August). In this month we remember departed men…

Sacred Fruit Salad

Panchamirtham is a sacred fruit salad that we offer to God and is also used for abishegam (bathing deities) in temples. The renowned Palani panchamirtham made using bananas that are exclusively grown near Palani hills is offered to Lord Muruga in Palani temple. You can check this video to see how panchamirtham abishegam is performed…

Jackfruit Panna Cotta

Jackfruit Panna Cotta is a chilled creamy dessert. It is so captivating to see snowy panna cotta dotted with vanilla bean wobbling on a plate fringed by delectable golden jackfruit coulis. I have made Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert, layered with locally grown fresh seasonal fruit. Since I do not like to use egg nor…

Eggless Mango Cake

As fruit bearing season of mango is nearing an end my mother sent me a last batch of organic mangoes that were plucked from the trees grown in her backyard. After devouring sweet mangoes to our hearts’ content, I decided to bake a cake with remaining mangoes. I have also baked a batch of cupcakes…

Ice Apple Pudding

Nungu payasam is a creamy dreamy delightful dessert served in wedding feasts and in star hotel restaurants for the impeccable taste. It is a perfect finish to a meal for being the delicious dessert with enticing flavors of palm fruit (nungu or ice apple), saffron & cardamom. Nungu is a jelly like sweet fruit covered…