Friday, July 3, 2020

Nei Payasam | Aravana Payasam

Nei Payasam, a traditional sweet of South India made from rice, jaggery and ghee. It's one of the common sweets served in many temples across South India. Nei Payasam is actually sakkarai pongal without dal and the term "Nei payasam" is quite commonly used in Kerala cuisine more than Tamil cuisine.

In our home, we always make sakkarai pongal without dal and still we used to call it  "Sakkarai pongal" . So I guess the names are easily interchangeable in South Tamilnadu.   

When i was new to the blogging world, really wondered about all the sakkarai pongal recipe available online because each recipe would call for dal, so that time when i asked Amma why we didn't use dal in sakkarai pongal in our family, her answer was "adding dal would make them spoil easily". 

Guess, may be in those days, sakkarai pongal was made only for pongal & other temple festivals in large quantities. So in order to keep it good for a longer time, dal would be omitted and in later days dal was added in the sakkarai pongal recipe in some parts of Tamilnadu. 

Still remember that the leftover sakkarai pongal made on pongal festival was consumed by the elders in the family on the next day and used to say that the taste gets better on the next day. But in those days, I would run away from the leftover foods and haven't had the experience of tasting it. 
Through blogging and food as a medium I have learnt a lot about other cultures. Most of the food that i grew up eating is easily tagged under "Kerala Cuisine" now and even i can see how much our family cooking is so similar to kerala cuisine more than tamilnadu cuisine based on the common overview of cuisine. 

But people have their way of cooking even before the state separation, right? So all the categories we have are not comprehensive, it's just to give the idea of what most people in that region eat, that's all.

Coming back to the recipe, kerala raw rice/  unakalari rice is commonly used for Nei Payasam. I have had a small amount of leftover kerala raw rice from the pongal purchase and used that for this recipe. Back home also, Amma uses the same rice for making both savory and sweet pongal on Pongal festival.

It gives nice texture and flavor to the payasam. And for that vibrant color of payasam, I have used an equal amount of dark and light colored jaggery. Now let's check out how to make this lip smacking Nei payasam.

Nei Payasam | Aravana Payasam

Preparation Time : 5 mins | Cooking Time : 25 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Sweet | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
Nei Payasam, Sweet, Tamilnadu,Traditional,Kerala Cuisine,Tamilnadu Cuisine,Aravana Payasam Nei Payasam, a traditional sweet of South India made from rice, jaggery and ghee. It's one of the common sweets served in many temples across South Tamilnadu.
Unakalari Rice / Kerala Raw Rice - 1/2 cup
Water - 3/4 cup + 1/2 cup
Jaggery - 1/2 cup(heaped)
Cardamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Coconut bits - 1 tbsp
Cashew - 1 tsp

In a pressure cooker , add the washed rice and add 3/4 cup of water and cook it for 3 whistle.
The cooked rice should be soft and not mushy. In a kadai add the jaggery & water and bring into boil.
Once the jaggery melts completely, strain it and add again into the kadai along with cooked rice . Mix it all well.
Cook till it became thick and then add the cardamom powder and half of the ghee.
In an another pan, heat the remaining ghee & add the coconut bits and cashews.
Roast till they are golden brown and add into the payasam. Mix it well.
Delicious Nei Payasam is ready.

Related: How to make Javvarisi Semiya Payasam 

  • Instead of kerala raw rice, you can use the regular raw rice too
  • I have used equal amount of dark and light colored jaggery.
  • Adding coconut bits truly enhance the taste, so highly recommend to add it.
  • Instead of coconut bits, you can use grated coconut also.

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