Rice noodle pudding (Paal Ada Paayasam)

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Paal Payasam (Rice and Milk pudding) or Parippu payasam (lentil and coconut pudding) ? When asked to choose between these two at a sadya (a traditional Keralan feast) usually as part of a wedding or during Onam, my unhesitant answer would always be be ‘paal payasam’. Of course! The caramelized sugar mixed with the milk and butter and thickened to perfect creamy consistency with the rice noodles added to give the perfect combination of hard and soft textures.  Just yum! Slurp Slurp!

Now Paal ada was my favorite and I had always had Paal ada paayasam from store bought ‘ada’ (dried rice noodle bits). So my dad surprised me recently when he looking at the leftover plantain leaves from our Onam sadya two weeks ago, said ‘we could make ada using these leaves’. I didn’t quite understand what he meant and he again clarified ‘yes paal ada from scratch!’  Wow! I had never even thought of making the flat rice noodles for the paayasam at home.  And then I forgot all about that conversation until I came home from work one evening to find my dad busy in the midst of ‘ada making’!  Wow! Just wow! I said again! The noodles came out perfect and when cooked in milk to make the pudding the end result was just one fabulous paal paayasam! The fresh home made ‘ada’ made the paayasam so incredibly delicious.  The texture of the freshly made ada pieces in the paayasam was just perfect – a little soft but still hard enough to hold their shape in the paayasam!  And turned out it wasn’t that hard after all! Yes you do need fresh banana leaves or plantain leaves. I am not sure what kind of other leaves could be substituted for those.We buy fresh frozen banana leaves from a Chinese grocers and they are available really cheap!. The rice dough is pressed onto the leaves and then the leaves are rolled and steamed.  Unwrap and then cut into thin strips and further into squares! Bingo! 🙂

So here’s the recipe. The key step here is to slowly cook the milk and sugar to get a thickened pudding. Here I cheated a little bit and used part condensed milk to hasten the process. Btw we had a second Onam Sadya last weekend and made this Paal Paayasam this time!

I am also bringing this delicious Paayasam to Fiesta Friday.

Rice noodle pudding (Paal Ada Paayasam)

  • Time: About 60 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print
 This recipe makes about 10-12 servings 

Ingredients:

For making Ada (flat rice noodles):

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • Banana leaves (fresh or fresh frozen) about 6

For Paayasam:

  • 2 cups ada (rice noodle pieces)
  • 1/2 cup ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 tsp powdered elaichi (cardamom)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (or ghee)
  • 10-12 pieces of cashew nuts cut in half

Take the rice flour in a bowl and add the salt and then add the water slowly and mix using your hands until you get a smooth dough.

Take the banana leaves and cut each into about 2 half pieces cutting lengthwise.

Take a small piece of dough about 1 golf ball size and press into the leaf spreading and making a flat shape. Then roll the leaf along the length. Repeat until dough is done.

Place a steamer or a pot with boiling water and a strainer vessel on top and steam the leaf parcels for about 10 minutes.  Cool and take the leaf out and cut the cooked dough into strips and then further into pieces. Keep these aside. If storing for later use then just dry for sometime in air and then keep in refrigerator until use.

For making paayasam, in a medium cooking pot boil water. Add ada pieces to the boiling water and cook for about 1 minute. Strain thru a sieve and rinse with cold water and again strain.

In a large cooking pot, add the ghee/butter and then add the cooked ada pieces to it and carefully stir for a minute to caot all pieces with butter. Then add the sugar and let cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes. As the sugar starts to caramelize (you start getting the smell of caramel) then add the milk and stir.  Continue stirring for about 5 more minutes.

Then add the condensed milk and again stir for about 5-10 minutes.  The paayasam should be of medium thick (easily pourable) consistency. Turn heat off and add the cardamom powder.

Separately in a small pan, melt the 1 tbsp of butter(ghee) and toast the cashew nut pieces until golden brown. Add the cashews with the extra butter onto the paayasam.

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