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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Pumpkin Milk Kootu

Today we have another of the rare Indian recipes that use milk. This recipe is one that can substitute the milk for coconut milk if that is more to your taste.

In India, milk is usually reserved for desserts, and in Ayurveda the consumption of milk with vegetables is not encouraged. In this recipe, I imagine that home cooks would use milk thickened with rice flour in place of coconut milk if that was not available.

It is best made with Indian tender pumpkin, but I have also made it with a number of our pumpkin varieties and quite love it. It is a very simple dish – pumpkin, seasoned, in milk with a simple tadka. But simple is best, no?

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See – very traditional Tamil recipes. You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar dishes include Cluster Beans Kootu, Green Bean Kootu, and Brinjal Asadu.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and all of our Pumpkin dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Saffron Rasayana for the Weary

Are you weary? Stressed? In need of some relaxation? I have a rasayana for you – saffron in milk with honey and ghee. Amazingly, this drink relaxes and destresses. You feel your breath ease and deepen and worries vanish.

The art and science of rasayana is about lengthening the lifespan, and individual rasayana recipes can be considered as tonics or something that enhances well being. Rasayanas not only include food but behaviours and practices.

This is a very precious recipe.

Similar recipes include Dates and Saffron in Ghee, Dates Milk to fight Fatigue, and Saffron, Date and Almond Rice.

Browse our Rasayanas and Ayurvedic recipes. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Creamy Potato Cheese Gratin

Normally cheesy gratin dishes would be Winter fare in this house, but it is late Spring as I write, and we have the heating on and three layers of clothes. It is cold and wet. It might be 10 days from Summer but it feels like mid Winter. It HAS to be potatoes and cheese. Plus the oven warms the kitchen nicely.

Are you looking for similar dishes? Try Garlic Herb Potatoes, Gratin Dauphinois, Pommes de Terre Maxim, Parmesan Potatoes, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini, and Gratineed Sweet Potatoes.

Other Potato dishes include Saag Aloo.

You can browse all of our Gratin dishes and all of our Potato recipes. Or simply explore all of our Late Summer dishes.

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Fiona’s Beautiful Chai

A recipe that has formed a chain as it goes from one person to another

Fiona was a twitter friend some time ago. As often happens, life changes, and it had been some time since we have connected,. But a quick search located her in Berlin! Today I came across her recipe for Chai which she sent to me in 2009! It seems so long ago. Fiona made a note that this recipe was given to her by her friend Peta. I love how food and recipes create this chain of people across the world. I am now making you a link in the chain!

So, with great memories of Fiona, I made her chai again this afternoon. The recipe is for a mix, which you can then use to make your chai each day. It is unusual in that it includes dried orange peel and a vanilla bean as well as the usual spices.

Are you looking for more Chai recipes? Try Lemongrass Chai, Sri Lankan ChaiChai Masala for Relief of Colds, Peppery Chai, and Illaichi Chai.

You might like to browse our other Chai recipes – we have a few. Or explore our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. You might also like to browse our easy Mid Spring recipes. I hope you enjoy them.

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Indian Chai Variations

Chai – a sweet, milky black tea with spices – begins the day for many Indian households. The spices and herbs added to the tea adds flavour but an oft-ignored benefit is that it also increases medicinal benefits. The daily supplement – better than popping a pill.

From Chai Masala, to a simple Chai with Ginger, the variations are endless. Here are some common ones to experiment with.

Because of the health giving properties of turmeric, we recommend adding a little turmeric to each cuppa chai that you make – about a pinch per cup.

Are you looking for more Chai recipes? Try Liquorice and Spice Chai, Fiona’s Beautiful Chai, Spring Chai, Chai Masala for Relief of Colds, Heavenly Gentle Chai, and Ashram Chai.

You might like to browse all of our Chai recipes, and our general Tea recipes. All of our drinks can be found here. You might also enjoy our Late Winter recipes here and here.

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Potatoes and Cheddar Gratin

As Winter marches on, we want dishes that we can cook in the oven, to add another source of heat to warm the kitchen. Baked dishes are also usually hearty, so they warm and nourish the body in a way that we only seek in Winter. Gratin dishes are so perfect, ticking every box.

This dish layers potatoes with cheese, covers them with milk and cream, and bakes it until bubbling and golden. Delicious!

Are you looking for similar dishes? Try Cheesy Eggplants baked with Saucy Tomatoes, Parmesan Potatoes, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini, and Gratineed Sweet Potatoes.

You can browse Gratin Collectionall of our Gratin dishes and all of our Potato recipes. Or simply explore all of our Early Winter dishes.

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Old Fashioned Baked Rice Pudding like My Mother Made

Rice pudding is such a traditional dish, born from Mother’s, Grandmothers’  and Great Grandmothers’ Winter collections of recipes. I always know when the best of Glorious Autumn is over because I bake a rice pudding. It varies every year – sometimes it is as early as early April, and sometimes as late as mid May here in the Southern Hemisphere. A dish of extreme comfort and warmth, there is something about it that connects me with my great line of ancestors.

This old fashioned, rustic dish is rather dark from the cinnamon and the brown sugar. Use white sugar if you prefer a lighter version.

Are you looking for Rice Puddings? Try our Warm Rice Pudding with Star Anise Sauce, Pandan Rice Pudding with Lime Syrup, Greek Rice Pudding and Bengali Rice Kheer. Or try some of our other desserts – Sago Payasam, Baked Apricots with Honey and Orange, and Baked Strawberries.

Looking for more? Explore all of our Rice Puddings and all of our  other Desserts . Feel free to browse other vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006 in the Retro Recipes series. Or try our easy Mid Autumn recipes.

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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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Sevadevi’s Ashram Chai

Made with Love

Long ago, my beautiful friend Sevadevi and I were talking about Chai, and she shared her recipe with me. Today I share it with you. Her Chai takes time, and it is in the time that the spices and tea release their flavours and your love and attention is infused into the chai. Make it while you are pottering around in the kitchen in the morning.

Are you looking for more Chai recipes? Try Peppery Chai, Yogi Chai, Cutting ChaiHeavenly Gentle Chai, and Illaichi Chai. There are Chai Variations here.

What about Cardamom Spiced Coffee? Or for a herbal tea, there is Ginger and Tulsi Tea.

You might like to browse our Chai recipes here, or our general Tea recipes here. All of our drinks can be found here and our Indian Recipes are here. You might also enjoy our Late Winter recipes.

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