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 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
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
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
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
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
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: