Whether Diwali/Deepavali is on a grand scale or not, the morning must start with the customary oil bath and prayers. We pray to Lakshimi, the Goddess of Wealth by lighting up oil lamp and offer flowers, fruits and traditional sweets like Semolina Ladoo. This year, I made dhal and sago payasam - a sweet delicacy made with milk, sugar and seasoned with nuts and raisins tempered in ghee. With the many varieties of payasam depending on area specific, seem like now payasam with less sugar, ghee and milk is preferred. So, sugar is served separately and palm sugar it is, said to be healthier and more nutritious. Giving a twist to the traditional payasam, this version is about the same yet sweetened with palm sugar and scented with cardamom and saffron strands.
Sago can be simmered till translucent and rinsed with water before adding to reduce the starch and to prevent payasam from thickening.
Coconut milk can be replaced with low fat milk or cream.
Instead of yellow moong dhal, you can use green peas.
Saffron strand is optional. A few drops of yellow colouring is nice for the vibrant colour.
1 cup split green peas/yellow moong dhal -soaked for 2-3 hours.
1/4 cup sago - soaked in water for 1 hour and rinsed
1 cup coconut milk
3-4 cardamoms- remove skin and crush the pods.
2 tbsp ghee (or as per taste)
2 tbsp cashew nuts - break into smaller pieces
2 tbsp dried black currants
1/4 tsp saffron strands
Palm sugar/white sugar as needed - simmer with water for a thick syrup.
Simmer peas with 2 cups of water till half cooked.
Slowly stir in sago and simmer.
Cook till peas are soften and sago becomes translucent,
Add cardamom, saffron strands and coconut milk.
Stir and before it boils, off the heat.
In a pan, heat ghee and temper cashews and currants.
Pour over payasam and stir in.
Served with palm/white sugar syrup
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