Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Kadum Payasam,& Pongalapayasam

Nivedyam/Naivedyam are the offerings made to God.It is not just an offering made to God during the Pooja,chanting "Nivedyam samarppayami...",but rather is a symbol of our self surrender before God.Nivedyams could be the grains,sweets,
milk,curd,ghee,honey,fruits etc.God is the universal provider,what are we trying to feed him,one might ask!! Well,we can never 'feed' Him,we are just symbolically surrendering our 'Aham',ego at his feet in the form of these symbols and at the end of the pooja,it becomes 'prasad', the cleansing of our soul....

Rice has a very important role and a broader meaning in the way of life of Keralites (rather for most of the Indians,I should say!) in their social and religious ceremonies- in their very culture..For example a traditional Hindu wedding in Kerala takes place in front a
'para' (A wooden barrel traditionally used as a measure
for rice)filled with un-hulled,unhusked rice(Nellu)and decorated with
a Coconut flower stack(ThenginPookula).Akshatha(rice),is sprinkled at the newly weds as blessings.Choroonu(Annaprashanam)is when kids are fed the first morsel of rice,6 months after the birth.On any celebration rice is served on plantain leaves with all the mouthwatering curries as Sadya...Rice is not just associated with the celebrations of life,it is also associated with rituals associated with death,like 'bali tharpanam' for instance, where rice balls are offered to the departed souls...

It is quite strange to notice that, while offering rice in various forms to God is a way of worship,denying oneself rice on certain days of religious observances(ekadashi,tiruvatira vrat etc) is also a way of worshipping!Even today in certain parts we have the tradition of Nagarapradakshinam,in which the idol of the deity of the temple is carried on top of a decorated (nettipattam)elephant to the homes and devotees present the deity with paras filled with Nellu(unhusked rice),Pepper,Turmeric etc.

In temples and even at home rice is offered to deities in various forms as Padachoru,Paalpayasam(Guruvayoor,Ambalappuzha etc),Kadum payasam,Neipayasam,Pongalapayasam,Appam,Ada etc. Often for making these Naivedyam hand pounded short grain rice,called as Unakkalari,(considered to be the most aristocratic of rice varieties!)is used for preparing temple offerings. Unakkalari has a very sophisticated flavour and a consistency that cooks to the right creamy texture.In certain families a small packet(pothi) of Unakkalari is given as a symbol of prosperity to people going abroad,to newly wed bride etc,....I too had my packet with me,which I use often for making naivedyam...In the market it is available as 'aged rice'(I have been told that they almost match the unakkalari,short grain rice).If you dont have these varieties you may try with any short grain variety.

Padachoru is nothing but plain rice,unakkalari, cooked.

Kadum Payasam
Kadum Payasam is a very common naivedyam in most of the temples in Kerala...and we do it at home as well.It is called Kadum payasam because of the extreme sweetness, we add more jaggery to make it.It is so sweet that u can almost feel the 'kick' if u eat it more!!Here is the recipe for it:

Unakkalari/Shortgrain rice- 1cup
Water-2 1/4 cups
Ghee-1/2 cup
Sugar candy/Kalkandam-100g
Dehydrated Coconut/Kottathenga-1/2(You may use copra or dessicated coconut)chopped

All these naivedyams are traditionally done in a heavy bottomed bronze vessel called
  • Uruli
  • .Instead you can use any heavy bottomed vessel.Wash the rice well and cook it with the rqd water.When it is almost done,add brown sugar and ghee.(If you are using cubes of jaggery,melt them in a vessel on slow fire with a little water added(1 tbsp) and sieve it for impurities).Now mix everything well and let it cook well.Keep stirring.Now heat ghee in another small wok.Add the chopped Kottathenga(dry coconut/copra).When it becomes golden brown,add raisins.Add this to the payasam.Finally add powdered sugar candy,and cardamom.Mix everything well.Kadumpayasam is ready.
    If you add less (half the qty)jaggery and no sugar candy,it becomes Neipayasam .At home, for neipayasam we add cashews as well.


    Not only Kannan(Lord Krishna)but also most of his devotees love palpayasam...How can we celebrate this 'Makhan Chor's glory without his favourite Palpayasam!Palpayasams made in
  • Guruvayoor
  • and
  • Ambalappuzha
  • are not only famous for their sweetness but also for the great lores attached to them.

    Unakkalari/shortgrain rice-500g
    Sugar-1 kg
    Milk-2 ltr
    Water-as rqd(~2litre)
    Cardamom powder-1 tsp
    (At home I add 1/2 tin condensed milk and reduce the milk and butter ratio accordingly)


    Mix milk and water and allow it to boil.Once it starts boiling,reduce the flame,add washed rice.Keep stirring.When rice is almost done,add sugar.Mix well and continue to cook on medium flame, and when the qty has considerably reduced,add butter (condensed milk too ,if u r adding).Mix well and cook it further for 3 or 4 minutes.Finally add raisins and cashews roasted in ghee and cardamom powder.Mix well.Palpayasam also ready!!


    Pongala payasam is nothing but chakkara pongal cooked with banana and coconut and is of slightly more fluidy consistency as compared to chakkarapongal.It is usually associated with offerings made to Devi/ Durga/Gowri like the famous
  • attukal pongala
  • .

    Raw rice – 1 cup
    Split moong dal – 1/2cup
    Jaggery – 2 cups (powdered)
    Milk – 2 cup
    Ghee – 3tbsp
    Cardamom –a pinch-powdered
    Cashew nut – 25g
    Raisins – 25g
    Water – as reqd
    grated coconut-1/4 cup

    Make Jaggery syrup,adding one cup water,to a syrupy consistency.Keep it aside.
    Heat a tbsp ghee, fry rice and moong dal separately.Cook rice and moong dal with 2 3/4 or nearly 3 cups of water till the rice-dal gets soft and mushy(say 4 or 5 whistles).Add boiled milk,chopped banana,grated coconut and jaggery syrup to the cooked rice and allow it to boil further.(Remove the lid).Now heat 1tbsp ghee in a small wok.Prepare the seasoning by roasting cashews,raisins till they become golden.Add the seasoning to the payasam.Mix well.Finally add a tbsp of the remaining ghee on top.Pongala payasam ready.
    Panchamrutam & Trimadhuram

    Panchamrutam is one of my favourite naivedyam.As a child I remember I used to wait eagerly for the pooja to get over to scoop out the panchamrutam...more than the God,panchamrutam was made for myself!!Can anything beat the sweetness of
  • Palani
  • Panchamrutam?...Panchamrutam is basically combining 5 'amrutams' and is made by mixing equal quantities of milk,sugar,ghee,honey and curd.But sometimes panchamrutam is made by mixing banana,jaggery,milk,ghee and honey. In some other Panchamrutams,people add even pitted dates.But the basic concept is a mixing of 5 amrutams(Amrut=Ambrosia).

    So Trimadhuram is obviously a mixing of 3 different sweetness.Usually a mixture of honey,powdered sugarcandy,and ghee.

    Naivedyams are not just a feast for the God,it is often a feast in the name of God for all his devotees...a gesture of sharing the divine grace and the cleansing...

    Pl check out the naivedyam/festival food from the following blogger friends:
  • Madhuli'sSweet Pongal

  • Karthi'sChakkaraPongal

  • Sailu'sNaivedyam

  • Indira's Naivedyam

  • Shilpa'sFestivalfood

  • Ashwini's Nevryo

  • Manisha'sChavde

  • Inji'sPesahaAppam

    KrishnaArjuna said...

    Great write up Shynee
    rice is an important part of every south indian's meal I guess and yes our love affair with rice does start at a very early age :-)
    Sri Krishna's idol looks really beautiful..

    Ashwini said...

    Such a nice informative post Shynee

    sudhav said...

    Shynee, what a beautiful write up....and lord krishna's idol looks very good..t

    Anonymous said...

    Can you post the recipes featured on your previous post?

    Priya Bhaskaran said...

    Shynee, was so nice to read about Naivedyams:) I learned something today:)

    Menu Today said...

    Hi Shynee,
    Thanks for your information about "Naivedyams".

    Vasundhara said...

    My oh my....so lovely! :-) Thanks for sharing it.

    indianadoc said...

    >Thanx KA...very true for all the South Indians,Rice is a never ending addiction...We start getting withdrawal symptoms if we miss it for a while!!
    >Thanx Ashwini..
    >Thanx Sudha..
    >Anony,do u mean recipes of venpongal,mango rice and elayada?I did not post them assuming that they are quite common...modak and the other sweets are already posted...shall definitely try to post the other recipes too...thanx...
    >thanx Priya,MT...and happy to know that the post has been informative to u...
    >Vasundhara...thanx for dropping in...and for the compliments....

    wheresmymind said...

    I think you should rename your blog "Aristocratic rice"...very informative post to a gringo like moi :)

    Monisha said...

    Hi Shynee -

    Thank you for the very detailed and beautiful post on Naivedyam, I will be coming back to this post often !

    Shankari said...

    Very well written,you have a lot of patience..hats off to you

    V N said...

    സമയം ഉച്ചയ്ക്ക്‌ 12.30 മണി. വിശപ്പ്‌ ഉച്ചസ്ഥായിയില്‍. ഇവിടെയാണെങ്കില്‍ ചക്കയടയും പൊങ്കാലപ്പായസവും!!

    കോളേജ്‌ കാന്റീനിലേയ്ക്ക്‌ ചെല്ലട്ടെ. ഉണക്കച്ചപ്പാത്തി കാണും!! :(

    gattina said...

    oh thanks for the info! I love to read them!

    indianadoc said...

    WMM(Where did u lose u'r mind!!),thanx for visiting my blog...Aristocratic Rice?...Hmm...only rice is aristocratic,not me!! I'm a bad potpourri always!! ;)Happy to know that u found the post informative...
    >Pl do come again Monisha,happy to know tht u found it useful..
    >thanx shankari...hmmm...i love reading about culture and traditions...so thought i'll share too...
    >Mashey thangalude dukhathil njaanum panku cherunnu...Pandu pandorikkal njanum ee onakka chappathi thinna valarnnu valuthayathu!!Hmmm orunnal njanum...valarum valuthavum!!
    >thanx gattina for visiting my blog... and happy to know that u liked reading it...

    4:27 AM

    Prema Sundar said...

    Enjoyed reading ur write up on Naivedyams shynee..

    Chandrika said...

    Hi Shynee!

    I have recommended your blog for Blog Day 2006 at my blog.

    indianadoc said...

    >thanx a ton prema and chandrika...

    Sanjana said...

    Gret pictures of Lord Krishna. Thx for blogging abt neivedyam. the write up is good and the recipes great. Keep going.
    Chk here to know the significance of neivedyam:

    Jennifer said...

    thanks for the pongalapayasam recipe.. i will make this on attukal pongala this year. i guess plan -not sweet- pongala made for the temple festival is same minus the jaggery? thanks..