January 23, 2007
Paliayakka/ Sago or Tapioca Pearls Payasam
Thanks to all you who made me smile throughout the day with your near correct, imaginative, funny, not anywhere near correct combinations. I never there would be such a response. Makes me almost want to create an event about guessing! And all because I was too lazy to write the recipe down and so just posted the picture!
I thought it would be sadistic if I kept up the secret today too so while I don't have the time for the full recipe now, let me just introduce you to another Malabar speciality.
It is indeed Sago Payasam, called Paliayakka, a probable corruption of the word Pal-Vayakka (Milk-Plantains). It is made of sago pearls(Tapioca pearls or sabudana),sugar,fennel seed powder, coconut milk,and plantains.
The sago pearls are cooked till transparent in the second milk of coconut and then the first milk, sugar and ripe plantains are added and allowed to simmer just until the plantains barely cook. When is is hot, it has a silken texture with all the bubbles and milk and when it is cold, it sets into a pudding.
It is also called Bubble Payasam by my son. He doesn't care for the bananas but its the bananas and fennel seed powder that gives its unique taste.
I will surely add the recipe today. Meanwhile, do check out our post on some luchboxes at the Daily tiffin.....
You will Need:
Sabudana or Tapioca Pearls-1 cup
Thick Coconut Milk-1cup
Thin Coconut Milk-2 cup (or 1-2 cup coconut grated)
Sugar-8 tbsp( adjust as per taste)
Ripe Plantain-1 cut at an angle into 5 thick pieces.
Fennel Seeds-1/2 tsp
1. Grind the coconut with the fennel seeds, cardamom, shallot and 1 cup warm water. Extract the thick first milk and keep aside. Add one more cup of water to the coconut, grind again and extract as much of the second milk as you can. If you are using frozen coconut, ensure that the coconut is defrosted and soaked in warm water
to maximise the milk. If you grind it without defrosting properly, it will curdle into oil. If you are using coconut can milk(don't :( ),mix one quarter of the can with water to thin it. Grind the seeds and shallots seperately and add to this half of the milk and strain it through so no bits remain.
2. Cook the sabudana in the second milk (or even water) in a pressure cooker and allow only 2 whistles. When it cools, open it and check if all the bubbles look tranparent. If they look white in the middle,there is some cooking left so add more liquid and let it simmer for another 5-8 minutes.
3. Now add the sugar, the plantain slices and the thick milk. Adjust the quantity of the milk so that it looks really fluid.
The payasam will thicken later and is best eaten hot, so when serving later, you may need to microwave it.
The liquid need is approximately 3 times the quantity of the sabudana. The sugar retards the cooking, so add that only after the sabudana is fully cooked. There is a very thin line between fully cooked sabudana and over cooked sticky, gummy sabudana so take care as it nears completion.
This is my son's version of the payasam. Cook the sabudana with 1cup milk thinned with 1 1/2 cup water in the pressure cooker for 2 whistles. Add 1/3 cup(or more) condensed milk and 1 cup milk to the cooked sabudana. Add either cardamom powder or vanilla essence to flavor it. The payasam should be really liquid so adjust the quantity of milk. Serve hot or cold.
There is a egg added pudding version of this, sold as Tapioca Pudding in Grocery stores, which everyone in my family loves. It involes adding warm beaten egg to the cooked pearls but I haven't mastered that so no recipe for that as yet.