Saturday, August 9, 2014

Quinoa Payasam (Quinoa Pudding). A traditional Indian dessert with a modern twist!

Finally, here is a recipe that I can claim complete an sole ownership to!! At least I think I can!  Often you assume that you came up with an original idea, but somebody else has already thought of it! That is a problem when you live in such a heavily populated world!But in my defense, I can truthfully state that I have never come across this recipe anywhere before. I came up with it by chance. I accidentally figured out the recipe and did not set out with the intent of finding it.

This is what happened... Payasam is a commonly made South Indian dessert, specially cooked on auspicious days. The base for Payasam is coconut milk and jaggery. Basically you cook either lentils ( split yellow peas, Chana  dal, moong dal) or  bulger wheat or  rice and put this in a sauce made of cardamom flavored coconut milk sweetened with jaggery and then garnish it with nuts and raisins. I set out to make moong-bean lentil Payasam. When I was almost done, I realized that I had miscalculated the amount of jaggery required and as a result my dessert was now too sweet. Neither do I nor do any of my family members like dessert that is too sweet. I started pondering about ways to fix this! Then I remembered having some cooked quinoa in my refrigerator. I decided to add it in and see what happens. The gamble paid off! Not only did I manage to fix the sweetness of the dessert, it turned out absolutely delicious! Everyone, including my family members and colleagues enjoyed it. I had come up with a nice healthy dessert!

Here is the recipe in detail:

Servings: 4-6


Quinoa: 1/2 cup
Moong-bean lentil: 1/2 cup
Water: 1 cup + 1 cup
Coconut milk: 1 can
Jaggery( palm sugar/coconut sugar): 3/4- 1 cup ( depending on the sweetness you prefer). If you don't have jaggery you could use brown sugar.
Cardomom powder: 1/8 tsp freshly ground from 2-cardamom pods.
Cashew halves: 1 tbsp( optional for garnishing)
Raisins: 1 tbsp( optional for garnishing).
Coconut flakes: 1/2 tbsp( optional for garnishing).
Ghee( clarified butter): 1/2 tsp to roast cashew halves and raisins.
Salt: pinch


Bring one cup water to a boil. Add the quinoa and salt, reduce the flame to low, cover and cook the quinoa for 12-15 minutes until you see the curls of the quinoa unfurl.Fluff it with a fork.

Cook the moong-bean lentil with 1 1/2 cups water over the stove-top until tender/ cooked.

Now in a pot, mix together the cooked moong-bean lentil, cooked quinoa and the jaggery. Simmer on low until the jaggery is all melted. 

Add the coconut milk and bring it to a boil. Turn off the flame.

Mix in the cardamom powder.

In a small frying pan heat the ghee, roast separately the raisins and cashews. Add it to the above pot.
Coconut flakes can be used as a garnish just before serving.

You could serve it hot or cold! I am bringing this dessert too to Angie@TheNoviceGardener  for her Fiesta Friday as I don't think that the Mango Ice-Cream that I took yesterday will be enough for all! ;) I definitely don't want our hostesses, the aussie dames, Margot and Saucy to be upset! Plus, I think they would enjoy a traditional Indian dessert with a modern twist!

Cooking made easy:

The above dish can be made with quinoa alone.

You can use any other lentil like split yellow-peas.

The moong-bean lentil can be cooked in the pressure cooker with 1 cup water for 3-4 whistles. Take it out only when the pressure is zero in the cooker.

Tip for healthy living:

Sugar Vs Jaggery.

Both sugar and jaggery are made out of sugarcane juice. Jaggery is made by boiling the sugar cane juice continuously until it forms a thick paste which is then cut into blocks. For sugar, after boiling the juice, it is set through bone charcol for crystalization. Sugar is the simplest form of sucrose while jaggery contain minerals, iron and some fiber in addition to sucrose. For time immemorial jaggery has been used as a sweetener in India. It is even used in tea and coffee instead of white sugar.White sugar is processed sugar. Jaggery is naturally processed and is much healthier and is also a source of iron. In India, jaggery is preferred as it is considered holy as animal bone is not used to process it.


Food for thought:

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. Voltaire

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