Often called Chickpea Porridge, this dish is not a porridge in the traditional sense, nor a custard. It is a South Indian Besan Payasam.
The recipe is simple. Take some chickpea flour. Add some saffron, sugar, cardamom, cashews and maybe some dried or fresh fruit and you have something sent directly from heaven, I am sure. And it is made in under 10 minutes. True instant food.
This is a dessert, but it is also great for breakfast. It can form a replacement for egg custard in lots of recipes. Imagine it layered trifle like with fresh fruit.
I like to call this dish a custard, despite being a payasam.
Besan Payasam | Indian Custard
This makes only a small amount – you may need to double or triple it depending on your use.
ingredients for each serve
just under 1 Tblspn ghee
200 ml milk
1 Tblspn chickpea flour
1 – 2 Tblspn sugar or jaggery
5 cashew nuts
a few raisins
3 or 4 strands of saffron
0.5 tspn cardamom powder, or seeds from 2 or 3 cardamom pods
Add the saffron strands to the milk and allow to stand for a few moments.
Roast the cashew nuts in ghee in a heavy pan on the stove. When they turn golden remove them from the ghee and keep aside. Roast the raisins in the same ghee till the colour changes slightly. Remove the raisins and keep aside.
Roast the chickpea floor in the same ghee until it is toasted – it becomes slightly darker and emits a lovely roasted aroma. Add the milk with the saffron and mix well, ensuring that there are no lumps. Add the sugar and cardamom, and boil gently for 5 minutes or until it thickens to a custard consistency. Add the cashews and raisins. Allow to for 5 mins. The consistency will thicken slightly.
The cashews, saffron and cardamom are essential.
A note on sugar. The recipe says 1 – 2 Tblspns of sugar. If you have a sweet tooth or are eating this after a very hot curry, err towards the 2 Tblspns of sugar. If you prefer things not so sweet, stay around the 1 Tblspn. Both are nice. It is a personal choice.
Leave out the raisins and cashews and instead add star anise to the milk and serve the dish with sliced summer fruits topped with toasted coconut.
Jaggery sugar gives a lovely flavour, but it does darken the mixture. If you prefer a lighter dish, use white sugar.