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.

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

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Nachi’s Payasam

Thankful to my friend for this wonderful dessert recipe

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.

You might like to browse our Payasam recipes here. Or our other Desserts here and here. Our collection of Indian recipes is here and here.

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Sakkarai Pongal | Sweet Pongal from Jaffna

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 here and here, and the Dessert recipes here and here. Explore our Summer recipes here and here.

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Indian Custard | Besan Payasam

This Payasam is better than custard.

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 would also be 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.

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