I belong to a Country where we have a population with numerous religions, beliefs, culture and festivities living under one roof – India.
Being an expat, we usually do not get a chance to be part of the celebrations in our home country . And gradually what I realized is that we tend to get together and enjoy the occasions much more than the citizens of a country does . We as expatriates have different communities who brings us together to share these festivities. And I am looking forward for one as we have ‘ vishu’ coming just across.
Vishu is celebrated by the Hindu community in Kerala and some adjourning areas of South India. It is considered to be the first day of the Malayalam calendar and it is believed that early morning prayer with ‘visukkani’ , a ritual, bring prosperity and success throughout the year.
‘Sadya’ – this must be a term you would be familiar with. Mostly all the South Indian restaurants serve sadya during onam and vishu here. Sadya is rice served on banana leaves with variety of dishes and is famous worldwide.
Payasam is one of the major component of a sadya. We have different varieties of payasam available now. In this post, I am sharing with you one of our favorite- pumpkin payasam.
An introduction to the basic steps in majority of the payasam recipes : Generally Payasam is made of jaggery syrup instead of sugar. Jaggery syrup is made by boiling jaggery with some water until one thread consistency and pass it through a sieve to remove any impurities. Another major ingredient is fresh coconut. We will need both thin and thick coconut milk. Thick milk is the first extracted milk after grinding the coconut with little water. And then we grind the same coconut with more amount of water to get the thin milk. Thin milk is used to cook things down and thick milk is just to thicken up everything and it should not be boiled. After pouring thick milk, You should stop cooking as soon as you see bubbles on the side of the pan. Add some cardamom and ginger powder and the main part is ready to go. Top it with some fried fresh coconut bits and cashew nuts in ghee for that extra crunch and texture .
Talking about our star ingredient pumpkin – we have to boil it with some water to cook it. Cool it down and blend it into a purée. You need to sauté this in the pan with the ghee to remove the rawness. And then you can follow the steps mentioned above staring with the jaggery syrup.
I used sago pearls to give that bite and softness to the payasam. Soak it with some water for an hour, just to make it wet and later pressure cook for one whistle . You may find it a bit thick and sticky. But that’s okay. Drain it and when you add it to your payasam, you could see that transparent pearls.
That’s all about the ingredients and a small brief of the steps to make our Pumpkin Payasam. I am wishing everyone a very very happy vishu, enjoy your Sadya , along with this payasam and I will be glad to receive your comments.
Find the recipe here :