Onam 2023: 7 Types Of Payasam To Sweeten Your Celebrations

Onam, the vibrant festival of Kerala, is a time for joy, unity, and, of course, indulgence in delicious cuisine. At the heart of every Malayali's Onam celebration is the sweet symphony of Payasam, a dessert that holds a special place in the hearts of all who savour it. Payasam, in its various forms, has been a cornerstone of Onam feasts for generations, bringing families and communities together in the spirit of festivity.

Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala, is not just about delicious food; it's a celebration of culture, tradition, and unity. Payasam, in particular, holds immense cultural significance in Kerala. It symbolises the spirit of sharing and togetherness that Onam embodies.

In Kerala households, the preparation of Payasam is a labour of love. Families come together to make these delectable desserts, often using age-old recipes passed down through generations. This act of cooking and sharing Payasam fosters a sense of community and strengthens family bonds.

During the Onam Sadhya (the grand feast served on banana leaves), Payasam is the sweet finale. It is the dish that brings the meal to a close on a sweet note, leaving a lasting impression of warmth and satisfaction. Furthermore, Payasam is not limited to Onam alone; it is an integral part of various celebrations and religious rituals in Kerala. Whether it's a wedding, a religious offering, or a special occasion, Payasam is always present, symbolising prosperity and good fortune. Here are some recipes of payasam to try this Onam.

1. Palada Payasam

Palada Payasam is a traditional Onam treat that everyone enjoys. This creamy and soothing payasam, made with rice flakes, milk, and sugar, is a crowd-pleaser. Soak the rice flakes in water, then simmer them in milk until soft and transparent, before sweetening them with sugar. Serve it warm or cooled for a delectable treat.

2. Parippu Payasam 

A unique lentil-based payasam that is a must-have during Onam Moong dal, jaggery, and coconut milk are used to make this delightful treat. Cook the dal until soft and mushy, then add jaggery for sweetness and a liberal drizzle of coconut milk to finish. The flavour combination creates a heavenly taste that will leave you wanting more.

3. Ada Pradhaman

Ada Pradhaman is a creamy and rich rice ada, jaggery, and coconut milk payasam. The rice ada is boiled until soft, combined with sweet jaggery syrup, and simmered in coconut milk to create a velvety texture. The aroma of toasted coconut adds a new dimension of flavour to this traditional Onam treat.

4. Semiya Payasam

If you're short on time but still want to enjoy a delectable payasam, Semiya Payasam is the ideal option. This quick and easy dessert is made using vermicelli, milk, and sugar and can be made in no time. Roast the vermicelli in ghee till golden brown, then simmer in milk until soft, and sweeten it with sugar. Finish with a handful of nuts for a satisfying crunch.

5. Pazham Pradhaman

This is a one-of-a-kind payasam cooked with ripe bananas, jaggery, and coconut milk. To make a beautiful dessert, ripe bananas are mashed and combined with a delectable jaggery syrup before simmering in coconut milk. Pazham Pradhaman is a delectable treat for your taste buds thanks to the mix of sweet bananas, rich jaggery, and creamy coconut milk.

6. Ney Payasam 

Ney Payasam, also known as Sharkara Payasam, is a rich and opulent dessert that boasts the indulgent flavours of ghee, rice, and jaggery. It's a time-consuming delicacy that requires patience and dedication. Rice is slow-cooked in ghee until it reaches a golden brown colour, creating a nutty aroma and flavour. Then, jaggery syrup is added, infusing the dish with a deep sweetness. This Payasam is often slow-cooked for hours, allowing the rice to absorb the flavours fully. The result is a velvety, caramelised delight that epitomises the grandeur of Kerala's traditional sweets.

7. Kadala Parippu Pradhaman

Kadala Parippu Pradhaman is a distinctive Payasam that features chana dal (split chickpeas) as its star ingredient. The chana dal is cooked until soft and is then combined with jaggery syrup and coconut milk to create a luscious and slightly nutty-flavoured Payasam. It's typically flavoured with cardamom and garnished with fried coconut pieces and cashews. This Payasam offers a delightful contrast of textures, with the creamy coconut milk and the soft chana dal melding together harmoniously.

Onam's sweetness finds its perfect expression in the rich and diverse world of Payasams. These delectable desserts are not just a treat for the taste buds but a celebration of culture, tradition, and togetherness. Whether you savour the creamy Palada Payasam, the nutty Parippu Payasam, the velvety Ada Pradhaman, the quick and easy Semiya Payasam, or the unique fusion of Pazham Pradhaman, each Payasam tells a story of Kerala's culinary heritage.