The sadhya; a traditional banquet in Kerala is complemented by payasam, a sweet dessert native to Kerala. The sadhya / meal is, as per custom, served on a banana leaf, and is a formal-style meal with three or more courses of rice with a side-dish (usually sambar, rasam, buttermilk, etc.). In south Kerala the Payasam is followed by butter milk and rasam whereas in North Malabar it is considered to be the last dish to be served.
Kerala does not have any indigenous cold desserts, but hot / warm desserts are popular. The most popular example is undoubtedly the payasam: a preparation of milk, coconut extract, sugar, cashews, dry grapes, etc. Payasam can be made with many base constituents, including Paal payasam (made from rice), Sarkkara payasam, made from rice, jaggery and milk, Ada payasam (with Ada, broken strips of baked starch from various sources), ari unda (made from rice powder), Parippu payasam (made from dal), Pazham pradhaman (made from banana), Gothambu payasam (made from wheat). But the most famous is Semia Payasam, which is made of semia and milk. Ada payasam is especially popular during the festival of Vishu and Onam. Most payasams can also be consumed chilled. Jaggery or molasses is a common sweetening ingredient, although white sugar is gaining ground.
Preparation Time : 20 – 25 minutes
Serves : 4
Ingredients for preparing Banana Pyasam:
Kolam rice 1 cup
Elaichi bananas (ripe) 4
Desi ghee 1 tablespoon
Raisin 1 tablespoon
Cashewnuts 1 tablespoon
Jaggery (gur) grated 1 cup
Fresh coconut grated 3 / 4 cup
Green cardamom powder 1 teaspoon
Coconut milk (optional) 1 / 2 cup
Method for preparing Banana Pyasam:
- Heat sufficient water in a non-stick pan. Add rice and let it cook.
- Heat ghee in another non-stick pan. Add raisin and saute. Add cashew nuts and saute till lightly browned. Transfer the dry fruits into a bowl and set aside.
- Add jaggery to the rice, mix well and cook till the jaggery melts.
- Add coconut, mix well and cook further. Add cardamom powder, mix well and cook on medium heat.
- Peel bananas, cut into halves horizontally, slice finely and add to the rice. Mix well, making sure that the bananas get mashed.
- Add coconut milk (if using), mix well and cook for 3 – 5 minutes.
- Switch off heat, add half the sautéed dry fruits and mix well.
- Serve hot or cold, garnished with remaining sautéed dry fruits.
Chef’s Tips from Master Kitchen
Please use ripe bananas only to get the authentic taste.