Paal Payasam or Easy Milk and Rice Indian Pudding with Bay Leaf Twist

Paal Payasam or Easy Milk and Rice Indian Pudding with Bay Leaf Twist

Ari Paal Payasam or Easy Milk and Rice Indian Pudding is a popular recipe of Kerala traditionally made with raw red rice or matta raw rice (broken) which is cooked in milk and sugar. Check out other regional Indian sweets in  #IndianSweets. Ari Paal Payasam or Easy Milk and Rice Indian Pudding is a traditional dessert recipe for an Onam Sadhya in Kerala,where it is served and relished from the flat banana leaf instead of cups

The payasam served in the Ambalappuzha Temple is famous among Hindu devotees.Ari Paal Payasam or Easy Milk and Rice Indian Pudding sweet, made of rice and milk,  has an interesting mythological legend behind it. It is believed that Lord Krishna reaches here daily at the time of Palpayasa Nivedyam to have it. Nivedyam/Naivedyam are the offerings made to God. Often for making these Naivedyam, hand pounded short grain rice, called as Unakkalari, is used for preparing temple offerings as it has a very sophisticated flavor and a consistency that cooks to the right creamy texture. Hence the temple paal payasam will have a pink hue and is served with no cardamom powder, cashews and raisin.

However, as I love spices and almost all my dishes including desserts will have atleast one spice in it, I have given this simple delicious rice pudding a small twist by adding dried bay leaf. Bay leaf has a sweet, spicy scent, reminiscent of nutmeg which when simmered along with milk and rice, gives the rice a slightly woodsy, herbal fragrance.

Paal Payasam or Easy Milk and Rice Indian Pudding with Bay Leaf TwistIf you can get hold of fresh bay leaf, you will get more excellent result, however I have used dried bay leaf in this recipe and the pudding came out just as delicious. To use the bay leaf in this recipe, you must put bay’s association for tempering meats or savory vegetarian items out of your mind 🙂 You will be surprised that bay leaf has a long history of being used to flavor sweet custards or rice pudding before vanilla became popular. Finally, I like to garnish my milk and rice pudding with the nuts warmed in ghee as they give a very nice taste to the Ari Paal Payasam but this is optional.

Paal Payasam or Easy Milk and Rice Indian Pudding with Bay Leaf Twist
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: SouthIndian
Serves: 2 people
  • ¼ cup red matta rice
  • 1.75 cup water to cook matta rice
  • 3 cups milk(skim milk)
  • 1 tbsp condensed milk ( optional)
  • 6 heaped tbsp sugar
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp sliced cashews and dry coconut
  • 2 tsp ghee (optional)
  1. Coarsely grind the matta rice in a mixer. Wash and clean it 2-3 times with water,using a strainer from preventing the broken rice to drain out along with water.
  2. Pressure cook the broken rice with 7/4 cups of water on medium heat till 2 whistles. Lower the heat and cook it further for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pressure cooker cool down.
  3. After the steam has cooled down, add the boiled broken rice into a heavy bottomed pan. Add milk and bring it to a boil on medium heat. Add the bay leaf . Lower the heat and cook stirring frequently until the rice is cooked soft and the milk thickens.
  4. As the milk thickens, add the sugar, condensed milk (if using) and the cardamom powder. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until sugar is completely blended with the milk.
  5. Remove Ari Paal Payasam from the heat and discard the bay leaf.Transfer Ari Paal Payasam into a serving bowl.
  6. Heat a small pan, add 2 teaspoons of ghee and saute the cashews and slices of dry coconut on low flame, till it turns light brown or golden in color. Add this as garnish to the Ari Paal Payasam.
  7. Serve the Ari Paal Payasam warm or cold.

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