Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ada Pradhaman - Happy Onam !

Wish you all a very happy Onam ! Hope you are celebrating the festival of togetherness wherever you are, with a grand sadya.

Ada Pradhaman
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.
Cumin- jeerakam

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.

Ada Pradhaman

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.

Ada Pradhaman 126CollaborativeCurry

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.

flowers for pookkalam-Onam

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.


  1. hope you have a wonderful day, delicious looking dish. Love the photoes especially the marigolds ( they are marigolds right ?)

    1. Thanks Nammi . Yes they are marigold from our garden :)

  2. Woww.. looks so tempting and perfect.. love the presentation dear :)
    Indian Cuisine

  3. Hope you had a wonderful Onam Nami! Beautiful pics as usual :)...

  4. Your marigolds survived! Mine are scorched and shriveled. Where did you buy ada from? Krishna's? Does the label say rice ada? What does it look like? So many questions! But only because your pradhaman looks so good!

    1. Yes, they did :) I bought rice ada from an Indian store called Tejal,it's in Thornton. The owners are from Kerala,so they have a lot of stuff from Kerala. Don't know whether Krishna's have it,will check next time I go there. They look like small white squares/rectangles.

  5. wow... all clicks lovely.... i love ada pradhaman very much... hope you enjoyed your Onam festival...

  6. Happy onam wishes Nammi,have a beautiful day.. Ada pradhaman looks irresistible and inviting.

  7. I love this payasom i think i have not had this in years. late ofcourse but Happy Onam , i am sure you had a good onam.

  8. Hope you had a wonderful Onam with your family. Lovely pics and recipe too.

  9. Happy Onam to you and your family. Wonderful dish and very cute pictures !!

  10. Such a delicious pradhaman. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Also love the pics :) Belated Happy Onam!!

  11. Hi,
    My first visit here and love the space and some fab recipes!
    Happy Onam (belated)
    Do drop a visit to my blog as well and give your valuable comments!

  12. This is my fav among payasams. Awesome presentation!

  13. I made pal adapradhaman this time. I have some leftover ada, and I would love to try out this recipe.

  14. want to try making this

  15. Hmm, that dish is one of my favorite in every Onam sadya! So love to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing. Happy Onam!


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