Kasa Kasa Payasam

Poppy Seed Payasam is a nutty and creamy sweet dish made with white poppy seeds, coconut and saffron simmered in milk and topped with toasted cashews. Payasam is a typical Indian traditional sweet usually made for festivals and as a sweet treat in homes.

Poppy seeds are tiny seeds known as kasa kasa in Tamil. Indian recipes usually use white poppy seeds rather than the black ones, so look for them in your Indian supermarket. They are used for their flavour, texture and thickening qualities.

Did you know that poppy seeds calm the mind and stimulate the digestion? In Ayurveda the taste is pungent, astringent and sweet. Its heating action acts as a vata calmer. Used with nutmeg or valerian they can induce relaxing sleep.

Similar recipes include Char Grilled Stone Fruit with Scented Yoghurt, Sago Payasam, Vermicelli Payasam, and Besan Payasam.

Browse all of our Payasam recipes, and all of our Desserts. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Roasted Cumquats with Flowering Thyme on Besan Custard (Payasam) and Passion Fruit Syrup

One of our cumquat trees is hanging heavy with fruit, looking gorgeous in the Autumn sun. The other one is covered in flowers! Go figure the timing! It is a different variety though, so perhaps that accounts for it.

We use a lot of cumquats, loving cumquat tea, poached cumquats, cumquat jam, cumquat pickles and  many other ways of using them.  I saw a house with a cumquat tree hedge recently, and I have just gone wild thinking about how I can do that at my place!

Today we are roasting the cumquats, and using them with some of our thyme that is flowering in the garden, and the seeds and juice of passion fruit, and sitting it all on an eggless custard type mixture that I love to make. I call it Indian custard, but its real name is Besan Payasam.

BTW, In Australia we spell passionfruit as one word. They are abundant here and we take them for granted. We eat them fresh from the garden, we use the pulp for our national dish Pavlova, and we used to drink Passiona soft drink by the litre back in the day.

Similar dishes include Kasa Kasa Payasam, Cumquat Mango Chutney, Sago Payasam, Pandan Rice Pudding with Lime Syrup and Fruits, and  Cumquats and Gin.

Browse all of our Cumquat dishes and our Dessert Recipes. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Sakkarai Pongal | Sweet Pongal with Milk

Sakkarai Pongal is short grained, raw rice cooked in jaggery and milk with mung dal, simmered until thick and then garnished with ghee, cashew nuts and raisins. It is not the traditional Milk Pongal cooked completely in milk, but is a definite favourite. It is a distinctive dish from Tamil Nadu, and also cooked in Sri Lanka and some other states in South India.

Pongal is a festival in January where we thank the Sun for the bounty that it brings us. Sakkarai Pongal is cooked in the morning as the sun rises and is presented as part of the devotions. Read more about the Pongal Festival here. And all of our dishes for the Pongal Festival are here.

But Pongal, the dish, can be made at any time. There are sweet versions like this one (called sakkarai), and you might like to try the other versions: Sakkarai Pongal from Jaffna; and Sakkaria Pongal without Milk. Check to see if we have since posted other version. Or explore some Kitchari dishes like Buttery Steamed Kitchari.

And there is are savoury versions, and we have a couple of versions of Ven Pongal. You can see recipes here.

Otherwise, browse all of our Rice dishes, and all of our Indian dishes. You might like to take some time and browse all of our Mid Summer recipes.

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Sago Payasam | South Indian Dessert

A classic dessert of Tamil Nadu

Sago Payasam is a classic dessert in Tamil Nadu in South India, along with Vermicelli and Rice Payasams. Payasams are sweet desserts, the milk condensing and thickening as it cooks and the sugar sweetens this thick mixture to a level almost beyond the experience of cooks outside of India. Hold back on the sugar to begin with if you do not have a sweet tooth.

Similar dishes include Kasa Kasa Payasam, and Sago Pachadi.

You might also like our Payasam recipes here. Or our Sago recipes are here. Explore our Indian Desserts here, or the more general Dessert recipes here.

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Sweet Surnoli Dosa | A Konkani Recipe from Goa

A cousin to Eliappe, the Surnoli is equally as delicious

Talking about Eliappe prompted Moni Bharadwaj (who is the daughter of one of the authors of Festivals of India) to remind me of Surnoli. Surnoli is a Konkani dosa made from fermented rice batter in a similar way to Eliappe. How wonderful to have two very similar dishes, from different parts of India.

Surnoli is a Kokani dish from Goa eaten for breakfast or as a tiffin or even for dinner. Yellow in colour, they have a puffy texture with holes due to fermentation, and are eaten with home made butter. They can be sweet (as here) or made without jaggery for a savoury pikelet. When sweet, surnoli  have a porous and soft texture due to the jaggery, and they taste very good.

This dish uses poha, an Indian rolled rice. It is easily obtainable from your Indian shop. There are several different thicknesses of poha – Nylon (very thin and crisp), Paper, Thin, Medium, Thick and Dagdi (thick and chewy). There are also poha types made from red rice and brown rice. For this dish, use a white, medium or thick poha for better results.

If you like this recipe you should also try Methi Dosa, Eliappe and Crumpets. We have other Dosas – try Potato Dosa, Cheela, and Coconut Dosa.

Are you looking for other Poha dishes? Try Poha with Onions (Kanda Poha), Kolache Poha, and Poha with Banana, Honey and Coconut.

Are you looking for other Breakfast dishes? Try Baked Figs with Thyme, Bondi Bircher Muesli, and Rose Yoghurt with Fruits.

Would you like other dishes from Goa? Try Fried Okra, Fiejoada, and Beetroot and Carrot Subzi.

Have a look at our Sweet Dosa recipes. All of our Breakfast dishes are here. You might also like to browse all of our Desserts. Or check out all of our Poha recipes and Dosa recipes. All of our Goan dishes are here. Or simply explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Eliappe, Sweet and Delicious Pikelet-like Dosa

A delicious, surprising Indian pancake style dish

This recipe is adapted from Festival Cookbook by Vilma Patil. Eliappe recipes vary wildly. Some cook Eliappe in molds, some in a wok, some cook them free-form. Some ferment the batter, some do not. Some cook over a very hot pan, some cook them more slowly. Some include additional ingredients.

This is my interpretation of Eliappe, sweet and delicious pikelet-like dosa snacks. If you cook it differently, I would love to hear. If you like this, you should also check out the Goan Surnoli.

This is especially good for Pongal Festival in South India.

You might also like to browse all of our Desserts. Or you might be interested in our Poha (flattened rice) recipes. Explore our Dosa recipes too.

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Vermicelli Payasam

I have had this recipe since forever. It is the kind of dessert you want to eat on a night you are feeling a little vulnerable and out of sorts with the world. It will make you feel great again.

It is so easy, so simple, very wonderful, especially after a hot Indian meal. Given to me by an Indian friend, I believe this recipe is much much better than one published in a recent popular large book on India and Indian food. It is very special.

Nachi made this often and taught me to make it, although he was never too keen to have me cook it for him. He was very particular, and I was still learning, particularly about the precision needed in traditional Indian dishes. One cardamon pod either way, and you could spoil the dish. I had to lose my free-form, flexible Australian ways. We also often made his favourite vegetable dish, Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach Madras Curry.

Are you after more Payasam recipes? Try Kasa Kasa Payasam, Besan Payasam, Sago Payasam, Nachi’s Payasam, and Bengali Rice Kheer. You get two Payasams for one, here – Sago and Vermicelli.

You might like to browse our Payasam recipes here. Or our other Desserts here. All of our Indian dishes are here. Or simply explore all of our Late Winter dishes.

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Sakkarai Pongal | Sweet Pongal from Jaffna (without milk)

A dish for Thai Pongal especially, but also wonderful at home.

Pongal is a creamy rice and mung dal dish from South India (and from the Tamil cuisine in Sri Lanka) which can be made savoury and sweet.  In many ways, pongal is similar to the kitchari dish of North India.

Sweet pongal is made at home, but also made as naivedyam and prasadam – gifts to the gods during the different festivals. It is the essential dish for Thai Pongal, a festival each January where families cook sweet pongal over an open fire (if possible).

I love it for breakfast, particularly in the coldness of Mid Winter.

You might like to browse other Pongals, and some Kitcharis. Have a look at our other Naivedyam and Prasadam dishes, and other Thai Pongal dishes. Read about Thai Pongal, or browse other Rice dishes.

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Sevai Kheer | Vermicelli Payasam

A delicious dessert from a Parsi lady.

There is a fabulous cook in Sydney, a Persian (Irani) lady from the North of India, who cooks a mean yoghurt curry and this lovely dessert. She is an Ayurvedic healer and Bowen therapist and I love her work. You will enjoy this dessert.

You can browse our other Payasam recipes, and the Dessert recipes here. Explore our Summer recipes.

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Sweet Bananas and Coconut | Pazham Varattiyathu | Banana Halwa from Kerala

A 6-minute dessert with Indian flavours. Banana and coconut – a winning combination.

Here it is, Sweet Bananas and Coconut, a tempting decadent siren of a dessert. 6 minutes only to make — easy to whip up after a hot curry or when unexpected guests arrive. It is sweet and buttery, so a small amount is enough.

The recipe came from my pile of hundreds of hand written recipes collected over the years. The scribbled notes came from a cooking session with a Chef at the Leela in Kovalam, Kerala on the West Coast of India. It is a Keralite dish, also common in Tamil Nadu.

Are you after more Banana recipes? You might also like to try Pomegranate and Banana Salad, Banana and Berry Lassi, or Flattened Rice with Bananas and Honey.

Have a look at all of our recipes from Kerala or all of our Indian recipes. Explore some more information about Halwa. Our Banana recipes are all here. You can also browse our Dessert recipes. Or simply explore our Early Spring dishes.

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