Daily Archives: October 28, 2010

Payasam – A step by step process of a very easy Indian dessert

I have always liked this Indian dessert called Payasam. But funnily enough, every time I have eaten it, it is always a big disappointment.  The taste would be wrong, not rich enough, not enough ingredients, or it would be thick mush. It is like they could never get it right although it is so easy to make.

I had nice payasam strangely enough in Fiji at Raju’s Healthy Hash Café. Now let it be known, Raju is actually Doctor Raju, who owns a large two storey building in Nadi Town and I think he is rather clever too as there are no Indian restaurants around that I noticed and it is a place where its simple dining and they serve rather nice roti and an assortment of curries which are different then what we get here in Malaysia.

His café is upstairs facing the street.  Now at lunch time the place suddenly filled up so quickly so we left so others could have place.

Each tray was for one person

While it is suppose to be a vegetarian café, somehow they seem to have snuck in some chicken curry for the meat eaters as well.  The photos you are seeing are some of the curries we ate that day with roti. I will do a step by step recipe for roti. I just love the stuff and it is quite easy to make so I am told.

And the payasam part of it came by accident as they happened to be making some and my friend Angela who is well known and a regular over there took us in so we each had a small cup. And for the first time, the payasam was perfect. No stinging on ingredients, not thickened with sago, it was just right. And from that day on I have been craving for payasam.  So yesterday, while Eda was cleaning the cupboards, out come a box of Payasam Vermicelli that was going to expire in two days time. So I did not waste anytime and got into making it.

Here is the step by step as there is no particular recipe.

The payasam vermicelli is from AKS – do check www.aks.com.my

So here goes:

  1. As the box indicated, dry fry the vermicelli as shown.  It should be on low flame and not too hot or the vermicelli will burn.  Dry fry till it become a darker yellow.  I did not see any difference, but that is what the box said.
  2. Soak 1 cup full of sago pearls.
  3. Heat a frying pan, with a dollop of ghee, and slow fry a handful or cashews, remove from heat and then fry a handful of raisins. Golden raisins are a better choice as it looks more pleasing instead of black bits all over your payasam.
  4. Now it the left over oil, you are suppose to add in three or four cardamoms and let it pop before pouring in 1 litre of milk.  I just poured a whole box it. By the way I forgot to add in the cardamoms so I will show it later.
  5. Next I threw in the noodles and the raisins. I also forgot to show it clearly but I think you get the picture.
  6. I added in sugar to taste, roughly about 4 soup spoons.  Once it is boiled, simmer on low flame.
  7. Add in the sago pearls, and stir through to prevent burning.
  8. Since I forgot to add in the cardamoms, I heated a pan with a bit of ghee and three in a few cardamoms. I let it pop and then poured it over the payasam.
  9. Continue cooking till sago pearls are clear and vermicelli is cooked
  10. It will take about 30 to 40 minutes.  And you may have to add in some water to prevent it from thickening. The gravy should be a nice thick and pourable consistency, much like thickish batter.  Add in a pinch of salt.
  11. Serve it hot
  12. Mum asked for more…. There was none! I had all of one bowl, they ate the rest.
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Nick’s Quirky Cooking Quotes

Cooking is like Sexthe hardest is the preparation, the cooking is five minutes long…maybe six…..and then you wash up!

Macaroni Mania Continues… Today’s special – Vegetable Combo Macaroni

Today I wanted something different but I still had to have lemon grass in it for some reason. So today’s recipe once again has lemon grass three days in a row.  Vegetables was the essence of today’s dish.  I wanted heaps of mushy and also fresh looking vegetables and I did still have balance Basil Leaves since Yus my helper gave me a whole tree yesterday.

What I found from the flavors was something rather interesting. And as I am typing this, I have lips that feel like they have been botoxed!

You see, I wanted something a tiny bit spicy, and as most of you know I cannot have spicy food but still the Asianess of me does make cameos from time to time so today, Eda was food processing chilly and she always keeps the last bit and mixes it with water so we do not waste all the chilly that gets stuck in the bottom, so guess what I did.  So now I have an upper lip that could give Angelina Jolie a run for her money!

My ingredient list does look funny and I would like to see if anyone can guess what vegetable is on the left hand corner of the cutting board.  And yes… I even added some orange peel in today’s recipe.  I wanted something Thai, but did not what something Thai,  you know when you want something but don’t want it.  So no limes and calamansi, I decided on orange peel.

I added some black soy sauce, something I almost never do unless I am making black sauce chicken or noodles and that too I have had complains that it is not black enough. My friend Sarah Carol calls me a Racist Chef!  I just do not like my food black.

Today my brother ate too so hence the portion is much bigger.  So here is today’s recipes.

Macaroni                                  1  cup  – boiled till al dente

Vegetable List:

Bean Sprouts                            1 handful

Leeks                                       a small bunch – to be cut into 3 cm lengths.

Mystery Vegetable                   a few pieces – TELL ME WHAT IT IS

Basil Leaves                             ½ cup

Tomato                                    1 large – sliced

Lemon Grass                            2 stalks – to be sliced

Orange Rind                             1 tbsp

Olive Oil

Chilly Water                             to your liking

Garlic                                       2 or 3 minced

A pinch of sugar

Fish Sauce                                to taste

Thick Soy Sauce                      1 tsp or a bit more – don’t like blackened  food.

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a wok, add in garlic.
  2. Add in chilly water. Once it boils, add in Mystery Vegetable.
  3. Leave Mystery Vegetable to cook as it takes a while to soften. (Clue One)
  4. Once it is softened, add in orange rind and lemon grass. Season at this stage.
  5. Leave to simmer and then add in tomatoes. Add in a bit of Thick Soy Sauce.
  6. You can smash the tomatoes in the pan.  If there is no liquid, then add a little water. Add in leeks and Basil leaves.
  7. Add in Macaroni, and stir through. You may increase the heat at this time.  Season again if necessary.
  8. Add in bean sprouts, give it a toss or two and its done!

My brother reckons, I should have added some meat or prawns. Well you try it and see.

And to the person who can be the first to tell me what the mystery vegetable is, I will bake you a set of Chocolate Muffins and you can pick it up from my house.