Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ambalapuzha Palpayasam / Rice Kheer & Happy Vishu



" Vishu " is a festival in Kerala ,considered as the first day of zodiac Calender (Malayalam Zodiac)
A festival of lights and color works for Hindu - Malayalees in special.



When we were kids, we were the most happy people to celebrate "Vishu" as that was the day when we collect pocket-money - they call it "Vishukkaineetam" when the elders give money to the kids , with which we used to buy candy's or toys :)
But it was hard to realize that I am no longer considered a kid , on my First " Vishu" after my wedding & that I would no longer be given any "Kaineetam" / pocket money on this day from my dad or any elders & now am behind hubby to give "Kaineetam " ;)



Palpayasam is one main dessert dish every Hindu Family would prepare on Vishu - Day ,
A sweet completion to "Sadhya" - or Kerala Veg Meal.
I made this  Palpayasam today and this is special because its made with Rice & milk , may call it Ambalapuzha Palpayasam - that's a famous dessert in my place (Alappuzha)
It takes lot of time to prepare the same in "Uruli's ", traditionally its made in that,
milk is boiled in low flame until it reaches half the quantity then changes its taste - similar to Condensed milk...
Since I don't have the patience to wait to make this in its traditional way , tried with the pressure cooker method , tastes good in less time.
This Payasam tastes best when chilled.



Ingredients 

Whole Milk - 5 cups 
Raw rice - 1/4 cup (preferably chemba - pachari or broken rice, do not use more)
I used regular Kerala Brown rice , may use any rice , but texture & color do defer with it.
Sugar - 3/4 cup rice
Condensed Milk - 2 Tb Sp (Optional)
(May use Sago/Sabudana / Chavvary to thicken it)

Pressure Cooker to cook the same.


Method 

*  Soak rice in water for sometime ( 30 minutes)
    May use broken rice too , if using broken rice soaking is not required.

* Mix Milk with 1/4 cup sugar in a pressure cooker and bring to a boil , stirring occasionally ,until it bubbles up.

* Add the soaked rice (and Sago if using) and close the lid , keep the heat in medium to low heat.
 If possible do not let it whistle up (if you think the pressure is coming up to a point it may whistle , take the cooker away and place it to cool down a bit , and then lower the heat and place it back to the heat to cook again)

* Need to keep it for at least 30 minutes in low heat , I kept the same for 1 and 1/2 hours. Let cool and open the lid, add condensed milk (if using) and the rest of the sugar.
Cook keeping it open for another half an hour stirring in between until rice is well cooked and the milk changes its color to light brown and becomes thick.
(Milk changes its color soon only if Red Rice is used)

* This can be served hot but tastes best when cooled.

Please read the notes before preparing this Payasam.



Notes:

      Instead of raw rice , may cook this rice first in little milk and water , till just done, strain and then add to the boiling milk and pressure cook the same (same as the method given above, then rice would get nicely cooked and makes this payasam thick).

     Cooker used to make this dessert should be clean , if any thing with acidic content is cooked in the same before, milk tend to curdle, to avoid that, boil water & throw it away first and then use the cooker to make this Payasam.

     This can be made in any other thick bottom pan too but it takes time to get that required milk-flavor.

     Traditionally Payasam rice (which is available in some Kerala stores) is used to make this Payasam , white rice tastes good too.

     I used less sugar , do add more if necessary.Lightly mash the cooked rice with a spoon while cooking it open.

     This pressure cooker method is sometimes tricky, as if it whistles up, the milk tends to ooze out, and makes the surface sticky, hence care should be taken while making this "Payasam" though you need not have  to stir it regularly (as we do while making any other payasam) 


Wishing you all those who are celebrating "Vishu" today , a fun filled & Happy Vishu.
Have a blessed year ahead.

   

Cheers
TN