Tag Archives: Nadi Town

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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Introducing Mama’s Pizza – Fiji’s very own home grown pizza. http://webmedia-staging.com/mamas/

It was a Wednesday night and since I was not in the best of health and was quite lazy to do anything else as we had quite an eventful day with Dan’s Sky Diving and then we went to this horrible horrible Kebab Place near the hotel, a name that I just cannot seem to remember but trust me its not worth remembering as the Kebab’s were lousy.  Later I found out it was owned by a Malaysian.  So there you go!

As Angela had a heavy day and we were not too keen to go out to eat again, Angela brought home Pizza.  Fiji’s own Mama’s Pizza.  I had seen Mama’s Pizza in a few places as we were driving around Nadi (Pronounced Nandi).

Now let me be straight with everyone here, I AM NOT  FAN OF PIZZA!

I may eat a tiny bit if it is a Pizza Margherita but I would scarcely touch normal pizza from the Pizza places around. I would eat a little from Italian restaurants but with moderation.

So when Angela walked in the door after her Parents Teacher Meeting at Meretalai’s school, I notice it was a very large box she was carrying.  The size I had not seen for a long long time not even in most of the Aussie Pizza places I have eaten at.

So she opened it and announced it was a Meat Lovers Pizza and half was Hawaiian and the other half was Ground Beef, Ham, Pepperoni & savory sausage with BBQ Sauce. I was quite shocked that they did not stinge on ingredients as food ingredients especially importer food ingredients is expensive.

I was curious, so I took a piece and after 5 pieces later I had to declare it was a very nice family made pizza.  None of those pretentious nonsense we get with mozzarella cheese folded into the pizza bread and triple and double crust nonsense. It was filled to the brim with meat, and not stingily too. The ration of meat and pizza bread was perfect unlike the ones we get in other places where more dough means we’re filled up faster.  I must confess though, when Angela and I were in school, we actually used to fight for the crust!

Mama’s Pizza is a Pizzeria Café, so you can dine in, take away and even get it delivered.

Malaysia should start a home grown pizza place with no pretense and fluff. Mama’s Pizza has stood up to giants like Pizza Hut in Fiji, and with what we ate, I reckon Pizza Hut would have a good fight.

Mama’s Pizza opened 26 years ago, by a single mum who needed the cash back then for her kids and the rest is history.  A success story, and a lot of success to come.  I am stressing this to Malaysians simply because we are so blinded by American Pizza and even Canadian, and look what this local woman did 26 years ago which was probably the same time we started getting into Pizzas. This should be made an example to young entrepreneurs out there.

Anything is possible, you dish out good food, even the giants cannot fight you.  And in the case of Mama’s Pizza, I believe the giants won’t be able to.

By the way I forgot to mention the pizza  was 45 cm across.  We were all “pizzaed” out, we gave some to the teachers at the school later on.  I would have loved to have gotten my hands on Mama’s Pizza’s Menu and actually dined there to feel the ambiance and just smell the whole restaurant.

Read their history at their website.

And to Robin Ragg the original Mama of Mama’s Pizza… You Go Girl!!!!!!