Palada pradhaman/Palada payasam is a delicious creamy Keralite dessert generally made as a part of sadhya or other festivities and also as an offering to God. It is a kind of pudding or kheer made with ada or rice chips, milk, and sugar.
In those days the ada for the payasam was made at home and used fresh. It is akin to the pasta that most people are familiar with today but made with rice batter.
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But since it’s a laborious process and due to lack of time, most of us use the dried readymade ada that we get from the stores. In Qatar, it is available in all shops dealing with Indian products.
Traditionally the ada is slow cooked in milk and sugar in an uruli which is a bronze vessel specially used for making payasam or kheer. The sugar gets caramelized naturally and gives a mild pink or brown hue to the pradhaman.
The easiest way that I have found to make the pradhaman brown is to simply use brown sugar 😀 . So the color naturally comes coz of the molasses in the sugar.
It does take some time to cook the ada in milk, which is necessary too for that traditional taste, still. Also, I make it a point to add a cup of milk finally after the addition of sugar.
This brings it all together and gives that creamy look, else after you add the sugar the pradhaman turns kind of runny and doesn’t seem creamy.
Always use raw milk and not the scalded or boiled one for making payasam or kheer. By this, I feel the milk will not curdle which happens at times when sugar is added.
Traditionally the palada is not tempered, ghee is just added while cooking. But if you want you can temper with ghee and a few cashews and raisins. Even otherwise, I avoid tempering as kids do not like cashews and raisins in payasams.
Palada pradhaman is almost always a must for sadhya. You may not like everything that is served on the Sadhya leaf, but you will not refuse the pradhaman. And for a Malayalee, it’s beyond just a dessert.
Try making this for Onam, which is just around the corner and you would have learned to make yourself one of the most popular and traditional Keralite desserts.
O’er to the recipe…
- ½ cup ada (rice bits)
- 3 cups water
- a pinch of salt
- 3½ cups milk
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp raw unprocessed sugar/brown sugar
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- 2 tbsp ghee
- Measure out the ada, wash it a few times, drain the water and keep it aside.
- In a vessel heat up 3 cups of water with a pinch of salt. When it comes to a boil add the ada, boil for 2 minutes and turn off the flame.
- Keep it covered for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes drain the water in a strainer and pass a cup of cool water over it.
- In an uruli or a heavy-bottomed pan, take 2 cups of milk and bring to a boil. Add the drained ada and let it come to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes till the ada becomes completely tender.
- Next, add ½ a cup of sugar and the cardamom powder. Let it come to a boil in simmer. Keep stirring every now and then.
- Add the remaining milk and keep simmering for another 10 minutes or till it thickens to the required consistency.
- Top with 2 tbsp of ghee and turn off the flame.
- Patient slow cooking gives the best results.
- The addition of sugar is up to personal preference. I had to add a tbsp more.
- If the pradhaman thickens too much, add more milk and sugar accordingly.
- You can completely skip the sugar and add condensed milk as needed too if you prefer. But traditionally condensed milk is not used.
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