Payasam (Keralan Rice Pudding)

Brimming with treacle-like sweetness this traditional dessert is a much loved favourite
Payasam (Keralan Rice Pudding)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 250 g pudding rice
  • 500 ml water
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp clarified butter, (ghee)
  • ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds, pounded

To finish

  • 100 g jaggery or refined molasses
  • 150 ml water
  • 200 ml coconut milk

To decorate

  • 1 tbsp clarified butter, (ghee)
  • 2 tbsp fresh slivers coconut
  • 1 tbsp unsalted cashew nuts or pistachio nuts

Tips and Suggestions

Jaggery is available from South Asian grocers


1. Place the rice in a large saucepan, pour over the water and add the cardamom pods. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is soft and almost all the water has evaporated. This should take around 10-15 minutes. Stir in a teaspoon of ghee and add enough cardamom powder, ginger powder and ground cumin to taste.

2. Place the jaggery in a saucepan, add the water and dissolve over a gentle heat. Use this syrup to sweeten the rice pudding. It's very much up to you how much you add.

3. For the decoration: heat the ghee in a frying pan and when hot, fry the coconut slivers until they are just beginning to turn colour. Add the cashew nuts and continue cooking, stirring all the time until the nuts and coconut are golden.

4. Transfer the rice pudding to a bowl and serve warm, scattered with the coconut and cashew or pistachio nuts.

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