Payasam is a sort of milk pudding from South India, it is similar to North Indian kheer.

It’s usually made with rice noodles or rice, flavoured with cardamom powder and garnished with roasted cashews and golden raisins.

As I don’t have a scale here in India, I will make an exception and give the recipe in cups.

To make the recipe dairy-free, substitute the milk with almond or soy milk.

recipe adapted from


If your jaggery isn't clean, you'll need to make a syrup and strain it. To make a syrup, simply add the grated jaggery to a saucepan with 1/3 cup of water and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook until the syrup thickens. Strain to remove impurities and let the syrup cool down before using to make payasam.

Payasam rice is brownish in color. Rinse it until the water is clear and the rice white. If you don't have payasam, use the same rice you'd use to make rice pudding like arborio for example.

Let the rice soak in clear water for about 30 minutes.

Rinse a pan with water and add the milk.

Bring the milk to a boil.

Drain the rice and add it to the boiling milk. Stir a few times while cooking on low-medium until the rice is well cooked and slightly mushy.

If need be, adjust the consistency by adding more milk. Traditional payasam is quite liquid but I prefer it with more rice which is the recipe I'm giving.

If you're adding milk, bring back to a boil then turn the heat off.

Add the jaggery (or syrup or molasses or demerara) and the cardamom powder. Stir well.

To make the garnish: heat up some ghee or butter in a frying pan, add the cashews and cook until starting to become golden, then add the golden raisins and cook until they swell. Let cool down a little and add to the payasam.

Serve payasam warm or cold.