Fruit Payasam is delicious kheer from the Chettinad region of South India. The kheer is creamy, fruity and enriched with nuts.
Fruit Payasam is famous as Chettinad Pazha Payasam and it is the speciality of Chettinad Cuisine. The kheer is rich in nuts and has the goodness of fresh fruits. Almonds are ground to a paste and added to this South Indian Payasam, whereas the North Indian kheers have chopped nuts. The ground paste makes the payasam very creamy and gives it a unique nutty flavour. The fresh fruits make it very refreshing.
When we talk of Kheers, we normally refer to the North Indian style of rice pudding, while Payasam’s depict the South Indian style. Kheer or Payasam is an Indian pudding made with milk, rice and sugar. Rice can be substituted with either millets, pulses or even fruits. The variations are enormous. I have tried making kheer with Indian sweets too, check out the Gulab Jamun ki kheer or the Boondi ki kheer.
Back to the Fruit Payasam, you must soak the almonds for a good 4-5 hours. I have read recipes where they have soaked Cashews too, but I prefer almonds and hence used just those. The almonds will swell up and the skin would become soft. Just peel it off. Now is the time to make a fine paste of these almonds and keep it aside.
The next step is to boil milk, and while the milk is boiling, peel and chop the fruits. Do not chop into chunks, make sure they are chopped in medium-sized pieces. We should refrigerate these fruits till the time we need to serve the dessert.
Once the milk has boiled, we should add the almond paste, now is the time to keep stirring the milk, else the almond paste will settle at the bottom and this can result in burnt kheer/payasam.
After the milk has reduced to half, add sugar. It is advised to use less sugar as the fruits are sweet too.
Ever since I made this Fruit Payasam for Chettinad cuisine my folks have got hooked on it and ask me to make it often. The taste of this payasam changes with the fruits that we use. We love mangoes in the payasam, but truly each fruit used here has a lingering and delicious flavour, thus making the Fruit Payasam very desirable. Thanks, Valli for sharing this wonderful recipe.
1 litre Milk
15-20 almond, soaked in water and skin removed
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 cup sugar or as per taste
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup green grapes
1/2 cup black grapes
Soak the almonds for 4-5 hours, I prefer to soak them overnight.
Peel the almonds, wash and grind to a smooth paste.
Peel and chop all fruits, add a tsp of honey and place them to chill in the refrigerator while we cook the payasam.
Place milk to boil, let it boil for 4-5 minutes.
Simmer the flame and add the almond paste, stirring constantly.
Cook on slow flame till the milk has reduced to 3/4 in quantity.
Make sure that it is stirred at regular intervals.
After the milk has reduced add sugar and cardamom powder.
Cook further till the milk is reduced to 1/2 the quantity.
Switch off the flame and let the milk come to room temperature.
Place the milk to chill.
Add the chipped, chilled fruits to the chilled milk and serve immediately.