Wishing all our readers a very very HAPPY VISHU…Nanmayum samridhiyum niranja Vishu ashamsakal….
Vishu is another festival unique to my teeny-tiny state which is celebrated by Malayalees all over the world regardless of our caste or religion. Vishu, meaning 'equal' in Sanskrit, denotes the astrological new year of India. It is also Kerala's unique salute to the sun god as he transit's to the zodiac Mesha (Aries), which according to Indian astrology denotes vernal equinox. This event is celebrated by different names in different parts of India. In kerala, the highlights include: 1) Vishu Kani- the assortment of auspicious articles that your eyes wake up to 2) Vishu kaineetam - a ritual that involves handing over coins by the elders to the young ones. The coins have now been replaced with 50-1000 Rs notes and, who knows, will be soon replaced by rechargeable debit cards 3) Abundance of crackers- the new generation of kids are kind of sacred of them and have what we call 'sissy' fire works which is mild and just more colors. For us, it used to be sound, sound and more sound using variably sized oola padakkams (palm leave covered fire crackers) 4) aaannnnnndddd a grand Sadhya (feast)........
This entry is dedicated to this great festival of ours and the recipe is for Palada, a payasam with a stellar reputation that can be matched only by Pazha pradhaman. They say that palada tastes its best when it is made from scratch, that too, on a grand scale. Well, that's true, but it doesn't hurt to try though our kitchen is small and with ready made rice ada, does it? So here is our humble take on this rock star of Sadya ..Enjoy...
Rice ada ¾ cup (available as ready made adas in Kerala grocery stores, I used Taste of Kerala brand)
Milk 3 cups
Sugar ¾ cup
Condensed milk 1 TBSP
Cardamom powder a pinch
Cashew nuts 1 TBSP
Raisins 1 TBSP
Ghee 2 tsp
Water 2 cups
Boil water in pan till rolling boil. Switch off flame and add the ada. Stir and keep it for 15 minutes. Drain the ada and wash under cold running water for 5 minutes.
Now in a pressure cooker, add ¾ cup sugar, 3 cups milk, washed ada and cardamom powder. Cook to one whistle. Switch off stove and allow pressure to release by itself. Open pressure cooker and switch heat back ON. Cook at medium high heat for another 30-40 minutes, stirring continuously. By the end of 30 minutes, the palada would have attained a light pink color and a thick consistency.
Heat ghee in another pan, roast the cashews and raisins till golden brown and add to palada. Enjoy!!!