Onam 2022: 5 Payasams You Must Try

Kerala celebrates Onam today. It is a 10-day long Malayali harvest festival that commemorates the mythical king Mahabali. Onam is marked by many interesting rituals - such as ‘Vallam Kali’, a traditional Boat Race or Onam Sadya, a traditional banquet, where people sit down on the floor and enjoy a multicourse meal served on banana leaves. 

The meal consists of many curries, lentils, and condiments etc, but one of our most favourite contents on the platter has to be the Payasam. It’s an Indian milk pudding that can feature rice, vermicelli, or even lentils. Payasam is one of the oldest known Indian desserts and finds mention in ancient Indian texts like ‘Monosollassa’, the 12th Century Sanskrit Manual, compiled by King Someshwara of present-day Karnataka.  

On Onam, not one or two, but several kinds of Payasams are prepared for the festive feast. Here are five of our favourites.

1. Paal Payasam

This simple rice kheer is also a popular Pongal delicacy. Made by simmering rice in milk and sugar slowly until it reaches a creamy, pudding-like consistency. Ghee, cashew nuts, and cardamoms refine the flavour of the pudding.  

2. Semiya Payasam

As we said earlier, there are few Indian desserts as versatile as Payasam. So, if classic rice pudding is not your deal, you can simply replace it with vermicelli. These thin noodle strands add their own wholesome charm to the pudding. Condensed milk, ghee, cashew, and raisins, do their bit. 

 3. Chakka Payasam

Chakka is a word for jackfruit. Jackfruit, like banana, is a very important fruit in Kerala. Alongside jackfruit chunks, you would also find delightful coconut and jaggery in this soothing pudding. A must-try.  

4. Moong Dal Payasam

The golden pudding made with moong dal pulp, ghee, cashew nuts, and cardamom is rare to find in a typical Sadya, but has many, many fans across Kerala and beyond. And trust us, one bite will tell you why.

5. Ada Pradhaman

Boiled ada, coconut milk, jaggery, cashew and raisins come together to make this ambrosial dessert that is Palada Payasam. This Sadya staple has all our hearts. It is so easy, you can make it with or without any occasion.  

Happy Onam, everybody!