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Rice Paayasam from Kerala

by: Mrs. Elcy Yohannan Sankarathil, New York

Rice paayasam is a very popular dessert from Kerala, India. It is an indispensable delicacy of the obituary feasts, birthday feasts, special occasions etc. of the Hindus and the Christians  in


1. Rice (Long grain white) 1 pound ie. 2 cups (1 cup = 250 ML. or cc)
2. Chowwari ? Cup
3. Dark Brown sugar 1.5 pounds
4. Molasses or Tharisarkkara 1 cup
5 Water 11 cups
6. Milk 5 cups
7. Coconut milk 1 1/2 cups
8. Cashue nuts, cut to pieces ? cup }
9. Raisins ? cup } Brown 8,9,&10 in the ghee ie. #11
10. Coconut, cut to small. Chips ? cup
11. Ghee ? cup
12. Cardamom powder 1 tsp
13. Cumin powder 1 tsp
14. Ginger powder 1 tsp
15. Bay leaves (Vashanayila) 2
17. Salt 1/8 tsp (or to your taste)


Boil the 11 cups water and 5 cups milk in a thick bottomed, wide opened pot, add the cleaned rice and chowwari, cook for 10 minutes, then add the sugars, the ghee balance from the fry or another Tbsp. ghee (prevents charring at the bottom of the pot) now, cook for 15 minutes, stirring well.

Add #s 12, 13, & 14 mixed in the remaining 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (or milk). Add the vashanayila., salt , cook for another 10 mts. and finally the nut mixture, ie. #s 8,9,&10. Stir for 5 mts. Turn the heat off. Cooking time 40-45 mts. Yields 14 cups+ delicious paayasam. For more quantity, use the multiples of the proportion of the ingredients accordingly.

For 1 cup of rice, 7 cups+ of fluid is needed to get the right consistency.

1 hour is enough even if bigger quantities are made.

Stir the paayasam from the start to finish, lest it should char at the bottom of the pan.

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