Fond of coconut milk or need to use the excess that is left over ? Are you Dairy free or gluten free ? Then this dessert - Thengai Paal Payasam, made with coconut milk and jaggery, is perfect!
Most of the popular Indian desserts are made with dairy products and nuts that are lavishly used as a garnish. The one dessert that spans across the breadth and width of the nation, loved by everyone equally, the national dessert, Payasam or kheer, is purely milk based. It becomes tricky for allergic people to enjoy Indian sweets. It is not as though we don't have other options but the first thing that comes to mind, the easier ones, when you want to treat someone with an Indian flavour are payasam, peda, Rasgulla, Gulab Jamun, are all diary based.
It is a known fact that we Indians love our diary! From savoury to sweets, we try to include all forms of milk products - condensed milk, evaporated milk, milk powder, mawa, khoya, cream. So, this time, I specifically wanted to make something that doesn't have any of the above and keep it somewhat original without using substitutes. It is absolutely gluten and diary free. So in this season of festivities, I have yet another decadent dish from the subcontinent.
Don't forget to refer my tips in this post while making a Payasam. I have tried to compile what could go wrong even in this simple dish.
Payasam made with coconut milk and rice.
- 2.5 Cups Nariyal ki doodh | Thengai Paal | Coconut Milk Refer notes 1
- 2 tablespoon Grated coconut | Nariyal | Thengai or coconut pieces Refer notes 2
- 1 tablespoon Arisi | Chawal | Rice (optional)
- 1 Cup powdered Jaggery | Gud | Vellam
- 1 tablespoon Cashew Nuts | Kaju | Munthiri Parupu
- 1 teaspoon Cardamom powder | Elaichi | Elakkai
- 2 tablespoon Clarified Butter | Ghee | Nei
Soak the rice in water for about 30 minutes. Drain and grind the rice into a fine powder. If you are not using rice, skip this step.
Roast the cashews and coconut pieces in a teaspoon of ghee. Coconut pieces should become golden brown. Meanwhile, keep the coconut milk aside so that it is at room temperature. See notes below on how to make coconut milk different ways.
Add little water (hot water) to the jaggery and keep aside for few minutes. After few minutes, it will start to melt. Mash it with a masher or a spoon. Once it dissolves completely, strain the jaggery water to remove any impurities.
If you are using rice : heat a heavy bottomed pan on medium high flame, add the ground rice mix and twice the amount of water. Let it cook for about 10-12 minutes. Keep stirring and be careful as it will splutter.
The rice mix will change to a half white colour. This is an indication that the rice is cooked.
Heat a heavy bottomed pan, add this strained jaggery mix and simmer it. In few minutes it will start boiling and starts getting thick. The important thing is to get rid of the raw smell of the jaggery. Keep stirring in between until it thickens.
Now, add the roasted cashews and cardamom powder. Mix well and take it off the flame.
Then add the coconut milk and the residual heat is enough. Do not heat the kheer after adding the coconut milk. It will curdle.
Finally add the roasted coconut pieces. Serve it warm.
- There are many ways to make coconut milk. The natural way is to grind grated coconut with water and extract the milk from it. You can also use readymade milk that you can get in stores. Also, you can make coconut milk from coconut cream. The above mentioned recipe uses coconut cream (as it is more common here where I live). Mix 3-4 tablespoon of coconut cream in ¼ cup of Lukewarm water.
- Substitute with desiccated coconut if fresh ones are not available.
- Addition of rice is optional. This is a plain coconut milk payasam. Hence to get some texture and bite, I added rice. You can also increase the amount of roasted coconut pieces instead of rice.
- Add water just enough to wet the jaggery. If there is more water, it takes more time to cook and get rid of the raw smell of the jaggery. The consistency of the syrup - it should be sticky when you touch. It should have become slightly thick.
- Do not heat the kheer after adding the coconut milk. It will curdle.