Wish you all a very happy Onam ! Hope you are celebrating the festival of togetherness wherever you are, with a grand sadya.Onam reminds me of so many good things,ada pradhaman is just one among them. Onam brings back a lot of good memories of monsoon, the special dragon flies called onathumbi, onakkodi (the new dress), athappookkalam(flower carpet), sadya on banana leaf,swing on the big jack fruit tree that has a seat made of kavalan madal(widest part of coconut leaf stem), family get together and all the cousins coming over, the flowers that bloom only during this season; like the purple colored onappoovu and pure white thumbappoovu and the ten day long vacation. How much I miss Onam in Kerala ! I try my level best to recreate, at least a part of what I used to get as a kid, for my own kids,with a small sadya,a small flower carpet and buying them traditional dress to wear on this day.
I made this quintessential Kerala dissert to welcome King Mahabali. There has been so many requests for this recipe and finally I got around to post it. I made this payasam with ready made rice ada. Thought this version will be easier for the busy moms out there.This particular payasam is called "pradhaman", which translates to "the very first". That itself shows how important a dish this is, for sadya.
Typically, we start by making rice ada. I still remember helping out my uncle in the kitchen, making ada for pradhaman on banana leaves. He makes the best ada pradhaman in the world. Usually the night before the Onam day, we make ada. A special batter with raw brown rice and jaggery is made and poured on banana leaves.Then these leaves are rolled up and bound using a string from banana stem.This is steamed until cooked. The next day, usually the kids in the house unroll these and break the thin layer of ada into small pieces. The adults would join together to make this wonderful pradhaman then. While it is nice to make ada at home, it may not be practical to do this, so you can buy ready made ada from shops. I bought it from Indian grocery shop, here in US. In Kerala it is easily available in any grocery shop.
This is best when you use freshly prepared coconut milk. I didn't get time to get fresh coconuts for doing that this time, so I used canned coconut milk. If you don't have the patience to make ada or press fresh coconut milk, follow these simple steps to make a delicious pradhaman for your loved ones. The end product is more or less the same as traditional method, most people won't notice the difference at all.
This is adapted from my uncle's recipe. He is an avid cook and a great foodie.
I am still in the hangover of this post about Kerala. So here is one more picture from that trip .
Happy Onam once again ! onasamsakal !!
Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: ~50 min
Serve : 6-8
Ready made Rice ada- 200 gms
Jaggery/sarkkara- 350g (~1 1/2 cups)
Ghee- 3 Tbsp,divided
Coconut milk- 1 1/2 cup (two 6 ounce cans),divided
Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
Cardamom powder- 1/4 tsp
Ginger powder- 1/4 tsp
Cashews- 2-3 Tbsp
Coconut pieces(thengakkothu)- 3 Tbsp
1.Boil 5-6 cups of water in a thick bottom pan. When water reaches rolling boil, add rice ada to it and boil again.
2.Once it boils well, reduce heat to medium and cook,stirring in between in the beginning and stirring frequently after first 10 minutes.
3.If you think water is less,add more boiling water and continue to cook,until ada is ready. This may take 15-25 minutes. I used ada that I bought from US and it took me 25 minutes,since ada was thick. Sieve cooked ada on a pasta sieve ,keep under running tap water.This prevents ada from being sticky.
4.Open a coconut milk can(6 ounce) and pour the milk in a mixing bowl.Add 2 times water into it,using the same can.This will be your third pressed milk.(When you make fresh coconut milk, there is a 3rd pressed milk, 2nd pressed milk and pure milk- see notes)
4a. Open the other can (6 ounce) and pour half of milk into another mixing bowl, add equal amount of water into it and mix.This serves as second pressed milk.
4b.Pour the remaining pure coconut milk in a small mixing bowl.Add cumin powder,ginger powder and cardamom in it. Mix well until there is no lumps.
5.If jaggery that you are using is a big ball,break it into big chunks. Add some water in a pan and throw in jaggery chunks.Boil and melt it.Seive melted jaggery to another pan,preferably one with a thick bottom.
6.Heat this pan with jaggery in it. Before jaggery reaches one thread consistency, add ada and stir continuously. This process is called "varattuka".
7.After about 10 minutes of stirring on medium high, add 1 1/2 Tbsp of ghee and continue stirring.
8.When the path of spoon you are using to stir comes clear,behind the spoon, it is getting done.
9.It took me about 18 minutes on medium high ,to get this part done.This is the step that gives the payasam it's taste.
10.Add third pressed milk, prepared as I have mentioned in step 4 into this, keeping heat on high and stirring frequently.
11.When payasam boils, add second pressed milk, as in step 4a and continue stirring until boiled well.
12.When payasam reaches your desired consistency,turn off the heat. Just keep in mind that,this payasamm gets thicker after adding the cumin powder and also after cooling down.
13.Pour and mix in the coconut milk with cumin,cardamom and ginger in it.
14.Heat remaining ghee in a non stick pan, fry cashews followed by coconut pieces. Mix in the pradhaman.Serve warm
1.If you think payasam is thick,add some boiled milk and mix.
2.If you want it to be more sweet after done, add some sugar.
3.Making fresh coconut milk: Grate fresh coconut ,take an armful of coconut in your plams and sqeeze it well. The milk you get is called 'thanippal" or real milk. This is considered as first pressed milk. Add some warm water in the coconut left, press again to get second pressed milk. Add more water and press again to third pressed milk.
4.You could use a mixer grinder to do this process.