Thursday, March 4, 2010
Simple Sweet Payasam Dessert...Got Milk?
It stormed and blew all day yesterday in Sonoma. Patsy was packed off to dog camp for the day at Vintage Kennel Club. Huskys need a lot of exercise and for the last couple of weeks the dog park has been closed due to sodden turf. Our property is not fenced, and I've written before about what can happen when a Husky is in an area that's not fenced. It isn't pretty. Just plain walks, no matter how long just don't cut it. She's used to off leash time every day for play. So a day at the dog camp seemed a good investment. Large play yards to run in, tubs of water to jump in and lots of her friends to play with. It also seemed a good day for a dessert. Patsy got a treat, why not us?
I always look for what's at hand when making a dessert and we had plenty of milk. I'd been meaning to make some chenna cheese but got distracted, so I thought what can I do with this? Milk pudding anyone??
I decided to make a Payasam. It's a South Indian milk pudding and there are a million varieties of it.
The ingredient list is pretty simple and cooking time is fairly minimal. It involves about 30 minutes or so of stove time and stirring, so it's not as fast as a box of instant pudding, but it tastes a whole lot better!
It starts as many desserts do, with Basmati rice .
1.) Take 1/4 cup of Basmati rice. wash and rinse it then soak it in water to cover for about 30 minutes.
Drain the rice.
Place it in a blender or grinder with :
2.) 2 Tbs of water and grind to a thick paste.
3.) Place 4 cups of whole milk in a heavy pot or kadhai
Bring the milk to a boil and when it is boiling add in :
4.) 1 and 1/4 cup of sugar
5.) The rice paste
Stir it well with a whisk , and then lower the heat and cook it down until it's reduced in volume. Keep stirring so no lumps form and it doesn't stick and burn on the bottom of the pan. About 30 minutes or so.
6.) Add in 1 tsp of saffron dissolved in 1 Tbs of warm milk
7.) 1 tsp of ground green cardamom
8.) 1 tsp of rosewater
Pour the Payasam into individual small glass bowls or ramekins, or little clay pots if you have them.
9.) Sprinkle a mixture of 2 teaspoons chopped blanched almonds and 1 tsp chopped raw pistachios on top of the pudding.
10.) Let cool a bit and place in the fridge to chill. This dish can also be served warm as a soupy dessert pudding. Last night I served it chilled with spiced Chai.
This is also one of those dishes where one can let the imagination run wild. Got raisins? Add 'em. Some other nut? Toss 'em in. A bit of mango? Why not? Get creative.
This recipe left me with 6 little ramekins of Payasam. Guess how long they're going to last.