Malaysian Monday 47: A simple Payasam

Monday, August 23, 2010

Whoosh – that was the sound of the weekend whizzing by as I played tour guide to visiting relatives. It’s been heaps of fun, and we’ve done a LOT of eating ☺

I really didn’t think I’d have anything to offer you this Monday, but the visiting Aunty Skewer reminded me of a warm Indian-style-soupy-pudding dish called Payasam. When I was growing up, we often ate this at her place. Luckily, I had all the requisite ingredients on hand, and she promised that it wouldn’t take very long at all to throw together.

Without further ado, here’s my aunty’s simple Payasam. Indian style payasam is usually made with rice, milk and sugar. Our version has always been made with sago (tapioca pearls), and occasionally thin semolina noodles were added too.

Payasam (warm milky pudding, don’t ask me what the word means, because even aunty doesn’t know!)

Make about 3-4 cups, the texture is supposed to be like a very thick soup.

About ¼ cup tapioca pearls, placed in a sieve and rinsed under cold running water. Drain well.
About 3 cups water
About 3 tablespoons of sugar (or to taste)

Handful of unsalted cashew nuts (just under ½ cup if you want measurements)
Smaller handful currants (about ¼ cup) – I only had currants. Otherwise, sultanas or raisins can be used.
Small piece of butter (or ghee if you prefer)
3 green cardamom pods – whack with the flat side of a knife and remove the black seeds. Save the seeds to use, throw out the husks. (Cardamom seeds can also be bought already de-podded, from Indian spice stores).

About ¼ - ½ cup milk (or evaporated milk if preferred)
A few drops rosewater (optional)

Prepare the nut mix – on low heat, melt the butter in a small frying pan. Add the cardamom seeds, cashews and currants and stir until it smells good and is very lightly browned. Be careful not to burn it.

Bring the 3 pots of water to a rolling boil, then add the drained tapioca pearls in, stirring well to stop the pearls from sinking to the bottom of the pan and sticking.

Keep stirring and cooking until the pearls look translucent (the centres will still be a little opaque, this is ok). Add the sugar in and stir well, then add in the nut mixture. Give it a stir, then when the mixture starts to simmer again, add in the milk and rosewater if using. Stir well, and allow it to just come back to a simmer, and take off the heat. If using milk, there is a tendency for the milk to curdle slightly or separate if accidentally boiled for too long. We used evaporated milk when I was a kid as it is more “stable”, but I didn’t have any on hand and didn’t feel like going to the store.

Serve warm.

Have a great start to the week ☺

Oops, in my posting haste, forgot to mention this:  If you'd like to join in the Muhibbah Malaysian Monday blog event, please send all entries to (sureshchong[at]yahoo[dot]com) at 3 Hungry Tummiesthis month.  


Heavenly Housewife said...

I've never had a desert like this, but its got cardamoms in it, so I'm willing to try :). Very exotic daahling.
*kisses* HH

Cheah said...

This looks interesting! Something like the pearl milk tea. From afar also resembles 'bubur cha-cha'.

Juliana said...

Shaz, I love this kind of dessert...tapioca pearls, but never tried with cashew...something that I would add to my list :-)

Anh said...

oh one of my fav pudding! I'm borrowing this :D

grace said...

this is totally foreign fare to me, but you'd better believe my interest is piqued. anything that looks so awesome is definitely worth a try!

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Strangely I have never tasted payasam!!!

shaz said...

Heavenly Housewife - thank you dahling :)

Cheah - it's pretty tasty too if you like Indian flavours

Juliana - the cashews are definitely a winner here, but they go soft because they're in liquid, so it's a bit of an odd texture if you're not used to it.

Anh - glad you like it :)

grace - hope you do get a chance to try it out.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) - this one is very "home-style", I think most families have their own version :) Not that common out in restaurants I think.

Von said...

I've never had payasam before, but I Asian sweet desserts so this looks really yummy!

pigpigscorner said...

I don't think I've had this before. Sounds very interesting!

Jessica said...

Oh yum! This looks delicious!

zurin said...

looks very refreshing Shaz. YUM!

shaz said...

Von - hope you get a chance to try it :)

pigpigscorner - it's a typical Indian sweet, but I think mostly eaten at home.

Jessica - thanks for visiting!

zurin - thank you, and thanks for your awesome Muhibbah Monday entries.

3 hungry tummies said...

I haven't had this for sooooo long! For an unplanned post, this certainly coincide with when the dish is normally served - the harvest festival which is around now I think :)