Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Aval payasam (Beaten rice pudding)

Reprinted from Copyright © 2005 by VK Narayanan

I dont have a sweet tooth really, but once in a while I get this intense urge for a traditional dessert. Ok, dessert as such is not an Indian concept in the sense that sweets arent served separately at the end of a meal - they're usually part of it. Cakes, muffins and other western sweets and desserts are nice enough, but the rich creamy milky sweetness of kheer and payasam is something else again. The best part of it for me is the aroma of cardamom... warm, sweet, inviting and redolent of everything good!

This recipe is courtesy of VKN of
My Dhaba. I saw the recipe on his blog at just the right moment for the impulsive decision to make it rightaway. All I did was halve the quantity of ingredients. It seemed perfect, and it was - perfect in quantity, in simplicity and in taste. And best of all, it used ingredients that can be found at any given time in most Indian pantries - aval or poha (beaten rice), cardamom, milk, cashew nuts, ghee and raisins. Since aval is so easily cooked, there was no need for pressure-cooking or soaking anything.

I absolutely LOVED this payasam. Of course, it could have been because I hadnt had any payasam in months and was really craving some, but I'm pretty sure that wasnt the only reason, or even the deciding one. The payasam was wonderful because of the recipe. The quantity turned out just right, too - just right for one greedy cook, that is. Two helpings and it was all gone. Mmmmm....

Recipe for:
Aval payasam


1/2 cup poha/aval (beaten rice)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup hot milk
7-8 cashew nuts
Seeds of 3 cardamoms, finely powdered
3-4 strands saffron (optional), soaked for 10 minutes in 2 tbsp hot milk
1 tbsp raisins
1 tsp ghee
1-1/2 cups water


1. Heat the ghee in a pan and fry the cashewnuts to a golden colour. Remove from ghee and reserve.

2. Fry the raisins in the same pan until they're puffed and golden. Remove from ghee and reserve.

3. In the remaining ghee, fry the aval/poha till it turns crisp and golden brown. Remove and reserve.

4. Add 1-1/2 cups water to the pan and bring it to a boil (I boiled the water in my kettle while frying the aval, to speed up things). Add the roasted aval/poha to it.

5. Simmer till the poha breaks down and becomes soft. Add the sugar and stir till dissolved.

6. Now add the hot milk and the saffron-soaked milk to the poha and simmer over medium heat till it thickens. This should take about 10-12 minutes. Keep stirring often so that it doesnt form a skin on top.

7. Add the fried raisins, cashewnuts and cardamom powder, stir well, then turn off the heat.

Let the payasam sit for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold (if you can wait that long).


Krithika said...

Have never tried Aval Payasam at home. Your pic is tempting me.

Priya said...

Looks delicious Shammi !!

BTW i made your vendakkai pitla yesterday. It was very tasty. By far the best okra curry ive had. Is this a thanjavur brahmin speciality ??? I remember having it at one of my brahmin friends long time back.

Menu Today said...

Aval Payasam looks sooo nice. I prepare this only for gokulashtami.

Vaishali said...

The recipe is really uncomplicated, Shammi. Well, you don't always have to toil in the kitchen for hours to get something nice, do you?

Foodie's Hope said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jayshree said...

Nice step by step tempting Gokulashtami special !!

vkn said...

Shammi - We at My Dhaba are so glad that it came out very well at your end. Thank you very much for posting about it.

As it is a copyrighted material, let me also request you to mention this somewhere in your post "Reprinted from Copyright © 2005 by VK Narayanan."

shammi said...

Oops, sorry VKN. I thought it was enough to mention that it was your recipe and give a link to your blog in the post! My bad.

I've added the copyright info on my post now. :)

Saffron said...

Shammi, on a recent trip to India, I actually bought a tool for frying "aval"..can you believe it!! it is pretty much a large version of a tea strainer and very handy for frying up little tidbits.

Despite having the perfect tool to make aval payasam, I still haven't made it...shame on me!

your post is tempting me to try it out today.


Anonymous said...

Saffron, you've been quiet for much too long now. Start posting recipes already! :) I keep checking your site hoping for beautiful new photos but... nothing. Go on, start posting again!


Chandrika said...


I have never made or tasted Aval Payasam before...But your pictures are so tempting that I am making it right away...Thank you... :-)

Prema Sundar said...

Hi Shammi,
Aval payasam looks very attractive. thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

I trid the same with 1.5 cups of poha and it became too watery. I think poha to water ratio must be 1:2 not 1:3.

Anu said...

Aval payasam looks very inviting :)

Am Anu from My Scrawls. i have posted my version of aval payasam in my blog. Do visit my blog in ur free time. Would be happy to receive ur comments :)