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Sweeten your Vishu Celebrations with Pumpkin Payasam

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 :

Pumpkin Payasam

Pumpkin Payasam

Ingredients

  • 500 gms Chopped Pumpkin
  • 250 gms Jaggery
  • 6 Tbsp + 4 Tbsp Ghee
  • 3/4 Cup Sago Seeds
  • 1 Fresh Coconut grated
  • 6 cardamom Pods
  • 1/4 Tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1/3 Cup fresh Chopped Coconut to fry
  • 20 Cashew Nuts

Instructions

  • Soak Sago Seeds with 7-8 Tbsp of water for an hour and pressure cook just until one whistle. It will look a bit mushy, not to worry. Drain and keep it aside.
  • Prepare the jaggery syrup by melting the jaggery with 1/2 cup water until one thread consistency. Pass it through a sieve to remove any impurities and keep it aside.
  • Cook the pumpkin with some water. Add it your blender and puree it.
  • Prepare thick coconut milk by blending 1 fresh grated coconut with 1 cup water. Pour it into a fine sieve, squeezing out all the good milk. You should approximately get 1 cup of thick milk.
  • Put back the coconut gratings again to the blender and add 2 cups water and blend again. Pass this through a sieve and you should now have 2 cups of thin milk. Discard the coconut residue.
  • In a pan, heat 6 Tbsp ghee.
  • Pour the pumpkin puree and saute for a good 6 mins.
  • Add the jaggery syrup and mix it very well.
  • Now pour the thin coconut milk. Put the flame in low , since the mixture is thick, it tends to splatter everywhere.
  • Boil it for 3-4 mins stirring continuously.
  • Put the cooked sago seeds in the pan and stir very well to combine everything. Breakdown if any lumps.
  • At this stage pour the thick coconut milk and cook just until it starts to simmer.
  • Switch off the flame.
  • Use only the seeds of cardamom and crush into a powder. Mix ginger powder with some water . Add these two into the payasam.
  • In a pan, heat 4 tbsp of ghee and brown the fresh coconut and cashew nuts and pour it in to the payasam.
  • and its ready!!
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