Payasam in Tamil or Sanskrit and Payesh in Bengali – this dish is indeed unique for one cannot find an equivalent to this in the English language except for a generic term like ‘Dessert’.
Payasam is a South Indian sweet dish made in every household on any occasion that calls for spiritual, religious or any happy occasion / celebrations. The word Payasam immediately conjures up happy moments and sweet memories and is generally associated with a soothing and pleasant emotion. It is also served as a dessert at the end of a sumptuous 4 course meal.
In North India it is popularly known as ‘Kheer’.They can be in liquid or semi solid form. The ingredients that form an integral part of any payasam is – Milk, Sugar, Jaggery, Cardamom, Coconut Milk, Dry Fruits & Ghee.
From the health point of view it has much to offer depending on the ingredients used and when consumed in moderation. Although the general misconception is that it adds calories to your intake, it can be full of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
The varieties are innumerable and the range of ingredients used astounding. Right from rice & spices to fruits and vegetables several elements can be used to make payasam. The sweet element here could be sugar, jaggery, honey or any other sweetening agent.
Tamilnadu is famous for its ‘Paal [MILK] Payasam’ & ‘Akara Vadasal’ while Kerala is renowned for its’ Chakka [JACKFRUIT] Pradaman’, ‘Ada Pradaman’ and ‘Aravana Payasam’ that is offered to Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala. Other varieties include Semiya [VERMICELLI] payasam, Javvarisi [SAGO] payasam, Paruppu [LENTIL] Payasam, Carrot Kheer, Nendhra Pazha [ETHNIC VARIETY OF BANANA] Payasam, Coconut Payasam, Badam [ALMONDS] Kheer, Channa Dal [BLACK CHICK PEAS] Kheer…. the list is endless indeed!!!