They say ‘When you’re starting something new, start on a sweet note’. That’s exactly what I’m doing here. Well, the blog isn’t really new, but come to think of it, it’s been nearly 2 years since I posted anything on here. Yet you all kept coming here regularly, tried out recipes from here, left me messages, sent me mails, tweeted to me, and did your best to get me to come back. Thank you! I cannot tell you enough how much your endless love means to me.
This love you shower on me and the blog should have given me enough fuel and more to keep this space alive, but I somehow managed to let my baby hibernate. I’m sure the blog has been silently weeping and hating on me for doing this but sometimes, things just happen. Even when you know you’re doing something wrong, you continue to keep at it like a bad habit you’re trying hard to shake off but simply cannot. That is why I told myself that enough is enough, and decided to throw in the towel, err…I mean the pots and pans back in action here. It was high time I did.
Resurrecting the blog with a simple, yet rich Payasam. A family favourite, it plays a very crucial role when you want to indulge in blissful afternoon siestas after a heav(enl)y meal, thanks to the magical intoxicating property of khus-khus!
Khus-khus almond payasam
(Recipe Source: Amma; with slight modifications by yours truly)
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Comes together in: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 8-10 servings
For the payasam syrup base:
- Jaggery – 1 1/2 to 2 cups roughly pound to break into small pieces
- Water – 2 cups
- Khus-khus/Poppy seeds – 1/2 cup
- Almonds – 1/4 cup, soaked in hot water for about 30 minutes
- Freshly grated Coconut – 1 cup
- Elaichi/Cardamom pods – 2, crushed and seeds extracted
- Water – just enough to get the mixer blades running
- Almonds – 8-10 nos, toasted and slivered
- Please DON’T confuse khus-khus (poppy seeds) for cous-cous. They’re two completely different ingredients!
- The exact quantity of jaggery you will need depends on:
a) the variety of jaggery you’re using (I used jaggery that comes in the form of a ball)
b) your sweet tooth
- Put the pound jaggery and water in a deep, heavy-bottom pan. Stir occasionally and allow the jaggery to melt completely on a low flame. No need to allow the syrup to come to a boil. Once the jaggery melts, you can turn off the flame.
- Strain this thin syrup through a fine metal sieve to get rid of any impurities in the jaggery. If you use a plastic sieve, you can be assured of a nice big hole in the centre, so please use only a metal sieve. Else, allow the syrup to cool considerably before you proceed to do this step.
- Return syrup to the heavy-bottom pan and back onto the stove. Allow to simmer on a low flame.
- In the meantime, grind the poppy seeds to a powder (without any water).
- Remove the soaked almonds from the water and grind together with the poppy seeds to make a fine paste. You could either use the almonds with the skin on, or proceed to blanch them before grinding. I like to leave the skin on because it has a considerable amount of fibre content. The water you have used to soak the almonds in can be used to aid in grinding.
- Once the poppy seeds and almonds have been ground to a fine paste, add the grated coconut and cardamom seeds and grind again to make a fine paste (add more of the almond water here if required). The finer this final paste, the better your payasam will be in terms of both texture and aesthetics (if this paste is not finely ground, your payasam will separate into two layers after it is made and allowed to sit for a while. Certainly not something you’d want).
- Add this ground mixture to the jaggery syrup in the pan, and stir well.
- Allow to come to a gentle boil on a low flame, till it thickens in consistency.
- Remove from flame and allow to cool about 10-15 minutes before you serve. This payasam tastes wonderful when it’s hot, warm or even straight out of the refrigerator. Take your pick.
- Before you serve, garnish each serving bowl with toasted almond slivers if you like. Do this just before serving so the almonds stay crunchy. I love the occasional crunch from the toasted almonds. And aesthetically, it’s like that pretty red cherry on a cake 🙂
This payasam can also be made sans the almonds. The thing with me is, when I indulge, I go the whole nine yards. If you think the almonds will make the payasam too rich, feel free to skip it. Either way, I can guarantee you an afternoon or night of blissful sleep. If you’re an insomniac, have a decent helping before you go to bed, and you can kiss your sleepless nights goodbye!
Sharing some of my payasam with you before I sign off now. Until the next post then! Love you all xx