Parangikai Payasam | Kaddu Ki Kheer (Yellow Pumpkin) – Caramelized Pumpkin cooked in milk and sugar, topped with roasted cashews, almonds and pistachios.
The Hindu festive season starts from the month of August. It begins with the Aadi festival and ends with the grandeur Diwali celebration. Payasam or kheer is a must in any Indian festive celebration. Have it chilled or hot, drink it or spoon it, in whatever way you have, this milk based dessert has won millions of heart. So, this month I will be sharing few of the family favourites, and the not so commonly made at different home.
Parangikai or the yellow pumpkin is rarely used at our home. It has a non favourable starchy fibrous texture. Luckily, this same combination works well in soups and payasam. As both the dishes are in a pureed form, the starchy veggie gives it a nice body and enriches it. It appeals even to those who do not like this veggie.
Click here to see other varieties of Payasam
I, once again, owe it to my mother in law who introduced me to this delightful dessert. Those close to my family know how much we indulge in desserts and in order to pre-empt boredom and not repeat the same thing our family has to have many such recipes in stash.
Simple to make, low in calories and insanely delicious! Try it out for this years celebration and it will be an instant party hit dessert!
Please make sure to refer to this post for do's & don'ts.
Caramelized Pumpkin cooked in milk and sugar, topped with roasted cashews, almonds and pistachios.
- 1 Tbsp Ghee, divided
- 350 Grams Parangikai | Kaddu | Yellow Pumpkin 350-450 gms approx
- 3 Cups Milk | Paal
- 6-7 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 Cup Evaporated Milk or 1/2 Cup Condensed milk and reduce the amount of sugar
- 2 Tbsp Cashews, Almonds & Pistachios broken into pieces
- 1/8 tsp Ealichi | Cardamom Powder
- 1/8 tsp Jadhikai | Nutmeg Powder (Optional)
- A pinch Salt
Boil the milk in a saucepan. Keep it on a medium flame and stir it frequently. Refer notes - Diary products
Meanwhile, peel and chop the pumpkin into bite sized chunks.
Heat 1/2 Tbsp of ghee in a pan or kadai. Roast the cashews until it becomes golden brown. Remove and keep aside. Alternatively you can also use roasted ( and salted ) cashews.
In the same pan or kadai, add the remaining 1/2 tbsp of ghee and add the pumpkin chunks. Sear them slightly, then sprinkle some water (or some boiled milk), cover and cook until they become soft. You can also skip the searing and cook them directly. Refer notes 1 & 2
Keep stirring in between to prevent burning. Sprinkle water from time to time to cook the pumpkin. Once it is completely cooked, cool and puree it.
In the same pan, add the puree and the boiled milk gradually. Stir well to mix it properly and avoid forming lumps. Then heat this mixture on a medium flame, constantly stirring it. Refer notes 3,4,5
Once it is heated through (bubbles will form), add the sugar, cardamom powder & Nutmeg powder. Keep stirring (scrape the sides) and keep it on the flame only till the sugar melts. It might take a couple of minutes.
Remove from heat, add the cashews. Serve it chilled or at room temperature.
- The diary products can be added in more than one combination. You can reduce the amount of milk and increase the evaporated milk or vice versa or even omit one of them.
- Alternatively, you can reduce the regular milk to half its quantity by simmering it for a longer time (stirring frequently) and skip the evaporated milk. In this case increase the quantity from 3 to 5 Cups of milk.
- The amount of milk/evaporated milk also depends on one's preferred consistency and how flavourful the pumpkin is. Keep in mind to not mask the pumpkin flavour completely.
- Do not add too much of condensed milk. It will mask the pumpkin flavour and change the taste. You can also omit it.
- The searing of pumpkin is completely optional. When the pumpkins are in season: fresh and sweet, the sautéing before cooking them completely, highlights it's sweet taste and gives it a sort of caramelized effect. If you are pressed for time, omit this and cook the pumpkin. The pumpkin chunks should be cooked well and the raw flavour must be gone. If the colour of the pumpkin had turned pale yellow from orange, it is cooked properly.
- Pressure cooking is also an option. Add the pumpkin chunks and water or milk (just enough to immerse the pieces) and keep it for about 4-5 whistles.
- Add milk gradually. This prevents from forming lumps. Also keep scraping the sides of the pan while cooking. If left as such, the deposits will get dried and it may get wasted.
- For any recipe that calls for adding sugar, don't keep it on the heat for a long time after adding the sugar. Especially in a kheer or payasam, the milk and sugar will separate and it will not be mixed properly. You wont see any physical difference but there will be a slight taste difference. That is it will slightly be runny.
- Always boil the milk and then add the milk (warm or at room temperature) to the mixture while making payasam. This is a fool proof way to prevent the curdling of milk. If the milk is too hot or cold, either ways, the chances of milk curdling are higher.
Tips to prevent curdling of milk while making Kheer or Payasam:
- add boiled milk for making payasam or kheer.
- cook in a medium flame after adding milk and sugar. Do not increase the flame for speeding up the process.
- add sugar at the end and do not keep the kheer on the flame for a long time after adding sugar.
- If adding raisins to the kheer, add it at the end after switching it off the flame. The acidic nature of raisins may curdle the hot milk.