Method Payasa, payesh or pudding is a dessert essentially made with rice and milk. However payasam in India is dominantly made with noodle like tiny strands of vermicelli and of course milk. Payasam has grown in popularity to such an extent that it`s no more a festive delicacy. It`s paved way as an easy dessert for parties or get togethers. The dessert calls for a handful of ingredients but demands careful attention to get right results.
Soak the sago in water for about half hour or till it doubles in size with a pinch of salt. This would help reduce the cooking time.3-4
Saute the vermicelli in ghee for a few seconds or till its brown and roasted.3-4
In a heavy bottom pan add sago and keep stirring till it`s cooked and transparent.
Add a little more water and the vermicelli and stir again till vermicelli is cooked.
Add the crushed cardamom pods.
Add sugar and mix well till dissolved.
Adding sugar will make the mixture thinner but that`s fine.
Once the mixture comes to boil reduce heat and add milk.
Give a quick stir and let that simmer for another five minutes till the milk reduces a bit or the consistency of the payasam begins to thicken.
In a small tempering wok add some ghee and heat, to it add the garnishing ingredients except saffron strands.
Once golden brown and crisp, remove from heat.
Add the garnish to the payasam.
Remove from heat and serve hot with saffron strands sprinkled on top.
You could add the silver or gold foil to add an oomph factor to this otherwise humble dessert and make it deliciously rich.
Notes: 1) The sago will continuously absorb the liquid in the payasam. After a while whatever the consistency of your payasam was in the beginning will definitely thicken to a certain extent. Hence if you need your payasam to be in a liquid form and not thick keep aside some milk to thin it down.
2) The salt acts as a taste enhancer and brings out the balance with the sugar. Some add the salt while adding the milk which could result in the curdling o the milk hence the safest method to do that would be adding salt with sago.
3)Sago is mostly used in southern parts of India while making payasam, it is not mandatory, however, it definitely makes payasam taste better.
4) While cooking sago, keep stirring constantly, else it would stick to the bottom of the vessel and would become lumpy. You will need sago to be cooked separate and not clustered. The end result of your payasam would taste bad with lumpy sago.