Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Coconut milk pudding with vermicelli (Kobbari palu payasam)

An incredible thing happened last week. My mother-in-law had an evening snack. Now before you start wondering if i might be a little crazy, you need to listen to me some more. She never has an evening snack. In her own words "even if you give me gold, i will not eat anything between lunch and dinner". And this rule she has been diligently following for as many years as she can remember, probably more than a decade. When i give her samples of my cakes, cookies or other speciality foods i make, she will eat them as part of her main meal, lunch or dinner, reducing the rice portion. She usually has one cup of tea in the afternoon (substituted by milk earlier this year because the doctor advised her to eat more when recovering from a serious illness). Even at that stage she staunchly refused to eat anything between lunch and dinner. Then last week, coconut milk pudding happened. Every time i cook something new, i get my feedback from her. And I couldn't stop smiling when she told me how she broke her rule of no evening snacks, how the aroma lured her to taste one spoon, how she came back for a second spoon within minutes because she was now distracted with how good it tasted, how she finally relented and served herself a cupful, and how my father-in-law followed suit. It was incredible, people!
Payasam, traditionally, is a milk pudding and is a very common sweet dish in Andhra households. It is almost compulsorily made for all festivals and festive occasions. Now how do you make Payasam when the only other person in the house dislikes milk with a passion, and if you yourself slightly share that passion (hot milk smells weird, people). A normal person probably thinks of a different dessert. But somehow on my husband's birthday last month, a brainwave hit me. Could i not have that same dessert with a substitute for milk? And i decided coconut milk was not a bad idea. On that day i only had half a coconut at home, having used the other half for this earlier in the week. I brought out my mixer-grinder, turned the half coconut into coconut milk and made this sweet dish. The cooking time is about 15-20 minutes and its a simple delicious dessert, especially if you buy the coconut milk. My mother-in-law said she had never heard of this dessert and asked me for the recipe. And then the husband asked me to make it again last week - this being the first time ever he asked me to prepare a sweet dish. He is a 'fresh fruit is dessert' person. I was jumping with joy when i was asked to make this a second time. Also because most of my food experiments usually get the remark - this was okay this time, but i don't want it again; and those stories don't reach you. This, however, is a dessert you will want again and again, my friends. Do try it out once.
Serves: 6
Cooking Time: Under 30 minutes
1 whole coconut (or) 3 cups thick coconut milk + 2 cups thin coconut milk
2 cups vermicelli (I used Bambino Vermicelli 175 gram packet)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons cashews
2 tablespoons golden raisins

If you already have coconut milk, you can proceed to the next paragraph. If you have a coconut, break it in two and drink any water that comes out. Now if you have a coconut grater at home, grate the coconut, mix 3 cups of water into the grated coconut in a bowl, mix thoroughly with your fingers and strain the milk. This will be your thick coconut milk. Now add two more cups of water to the strained coconut pulp, mix again and strain out the thin coconut milk. If, like me, you don't have a coconut grater, then scoop out the coconut flesh into small pieces carefully using a knife. Now grind the coconut pieces with water into a paste. The first three cups of water used to form the coconut paste can be strained out for the thick coconut milk and the next two cups will give you thin coconut milk.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil (or ghee if you prefer) in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the cashews, fry till golden brown and remove to a plate. In the same oil add the raisins, fry till they puff up and remove to a plate. Add the remaining table spoon oil and tip in the vermicelli. Fry till golden brown and add the thin coconut milk (or just plain water). Continue to cook on medium heat till all the liquid is absorbed. Now add the sugar. Once the sugar melts into the pudding, add the thick coconut milk and cook for a couple of minutes until the vermicelli is soft. Turn off the heat and garnish with cashews and raisins. Serve hot or cold.
I found that there are a few celebratory events in the food blogging world this december and that this pudding will be eligible for a few. It especially fits in perfectly for "Desserts with coconuts" hosted by Raksha, which is Raven's event.


  1. Super flavourful payasam,simply inviting..

  2. Yummyyyy! I can taste it right off from the screen. I will make this, this thursday for my Puja.
    You must be so happy to be appreciated for your efforts.
    Once I make this, I'd let you know how it turned out.

  3. I've always thought of this, never actually made it. Somehow, coconut milk sweets in my experience have always sounded nicer than when I made them. I'd still like to try yours, though!
    Enjoyed reading the story, La

  4. wow...looks very very gooooooood..I'm salivating here..;P
    Tasty Appetite

  5. Thanks all.. Anita and Sra, do let know whether it worked for you.

  6. that looks special... i have never try that before..

  7. This is calling me to taste it. Love the pics dear.
    Thanks for your lovely comments. I may not reply everytime but I love them a lot.
    As for the ragi part try adding a little of the flour in thalipeeth, rava dosa. little everyday say a tblspn.
    I am very interested in ragi ladoos please share the recipe.

  8. Thanks Archana.. i too share your thoughts on the comments part.. About Ragi laddoos, i will ask mom and try to share soon :)

  9. first time in your space....wow...the cocnut milk pudding looks so delicious.....simply mouthwatering...I'm ur new follower now....do visit my space in ur free time :-) wishing u n ur family merry christmas !

  10. Thanks so much for participating in Jingle All The Way. I’ve posted the Roundup here. Do have a look.
    Also, I’m hosting Kid's Delight - Something Sweet for Jan 16th-Feb15th 2012. I would love to have your posts linked there. :-)
    Kavi (Edible Entertainment)


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