Payasam

This is a dessert typical of Tamil Nadu and was inspired by the TV programme, 'Rick Stein's India' but has been considerably changed to better suit British tastes and made using a much simpler and quicker method. Indian deserts are typically very sweet, but this is not overly sweet. It will remind you of rice pudding but it has delightful taste overtones. Some parts of India will use rice and lentils but this uses vermicelli which is typical of the area.

Ingredients

For 1 Continued...
1 - 2 tspn goji berries (optional - see note 1) 1 nest of vermicelli - 20 gm (see note 4)
4 tbspn milk powder (see note 2) 10 gm butter
100 ml water desiccated coconut for garnish
2 tbspn condensed milk 1 tbspn kewra water (see note 5)
½ tspn cardamom powder (see note 3) a few cashew nuts for garnish
15 gm raisins (approx) a few pistachio nuts for garnish (optional - see note 6)

Preparation

Cooking

  1. Using a suitable saucepan (6 inch/15 cm diameter would do) melt the butter and 'crush in' the vermicelli (needs to be about 1 inch lengths although this is not critical) and cook, stirring until the vermicelli is golden brown.
  2. Stir in the milk powder mixture and cook, stirring regularly to prevent sticking and burning until the mixture thickens to the consistency of double cream. (it will thicken upon cooling).
  3. Add the kewra water and simmer, stirring, for about 1 min.
  4. Remove from the heat, transfer to a suitable serving bowl, and set aside to cool.

Serving

  1. Sprinkle the top with a little desiccated coconut and a few of the toasted nuts, then add the softened goji berries and spoon over any of the remaining juice from the goji berry soaking water.

Notes

(1) Goji berries can be purchased at many supermarkets and are optional, but a nice addition.
(2) The milk powder I used was 'MARVEL - dried skimmed milk' but you can use 'supermarket's own' brand.
(3) Cardamom powder can be purchased from many Asian outlets or you can crush the seeds from 'green cardamom' pods. You can reduce the amount to ¼ tspn if that better suits your taste.
(4) Packets of vermicelli nests can be purchased at many supermarkets.
(5) Kewra water (screwpine) is optional but works very well in this desert and is recommended. It can be purchased at some supermarkets and many Asian outlets.
(6) I don't think the flavours of cashew and pistachio nuts complement each other so I would recommend using one or the other but not both. I personally think that cashew nuts are better in this dessert.


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Finished Dessert
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Additional Ingredients
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