It is also made for Bhagawati sevai puja, a religious function performed for the good of the family and the home. This puja is performed annually by my sisters family. I remember her mother-in-law making the decadent and delicious nei payasam in a huge metal urali(vessel/pan) placed over a kerosene stove. The whole family taking turns to stir the payasam, it was a collaborative effort and the whole family came together to help. The mere thought has me drooling for some.
|Garnished with powdered cardamom(Elaichi)|
Knowing how much I loved it, mom improvised the long, hard and time consuming recipe to a much simpler one. So here goes, Nei payasam in my dysfunctional cooking style.
- 3 to 4 tbsp - Ghee(nei)
- 2 cups Jaggery(grate for easy melting)
- 1 cup water (to melt jaggery)
- 1 cup cooked basmati rice (any variety, cooled and separated)
- 1/4 cup golden raisins(kismish)
- 1/4 cup broken cashews or slivered Almonds
- a pinch or two of elaichi (cardamom) powder
- Heat the water and jaggery and bring it to a slow boil. Allow the jaggery to melt completely, stir continuously otherwise it will burn (2-4 minutes)
- Continue stirring on medium heat until it starts to thicken (4-5 minutes)
- In another pan (wok) heat 2-3 tbsp ghee and stir in the rice
- Stir fry for a couple of minutes
- Add in the jaggery and stir well
- Cook while stirring continuously until the ghee starts to glisten on the surface as seen in the picture (7-8 minutes)
- Heat a tbsp ghee in a small pan, first roast the raisins, remove them with a spoon and add to payasam
- Roast the cashew in the same ghee and add to payasam.
- Top with the elaichi powder and mix well
- Enjoy delicious Nei payasam. It is very rich so you can't eat a lot like sweet pongal. it will stay good for a week or two in the refrigerator
|Served and ready to eat..|
Notes: You could garnish with coconut slivers roasted in ghee and a pinch or two of dry ginger powder have seen mom use them on occasion. I like the cashews and raisins to be soft and incorporated so I add them halfway in step 6 so they could also absorb some of the moisture.