Palada Pradhaman is a type of kheer made using bits of dried rice pasta (called ‘ada’ in Malayalam). Also called Palada Payasam, this is a milk-based delicacy that is quite common in Kerala. It is, in fact, a popular part of the sadya or banana-leaf spread served during Onam. My mom-in-law hails from Kerala, and she often prepares this kheer for other festive occasions like Diwali, Vishu, Janmashtami, Tamil New Year and Ganesh Chaturthi. It is a delicious sweet treat, and I am sharing our family recipe for the same, just in time for the upcoming festivals.
What exactly is ‘ada‘?
Like I was saying earlier, ‘ada‘ refers to rice pasta. In Malayali families, ada is traditionally made from scratch by making a thin rice batter and then steaming it in a banana leaf. This freshly made ada is then used to make payasam. However, considering this is a bit of a time-consuming process, many Kerala-based brands now offer ready-to-use dried ada packets. These dried ada can also be used to make payasam the same way as the fresh one is.
Here, I have used ready-to-use dried ada from the Double Horse brand (the package calls it ‘rice pasta bits’). Some day, I will try to share the recipe for rice ada made from scratch, the traditional way. For now, let me share with you all how to make payasam using a store-bought version.
What goes into Palada Pradhaman?
Apart from the store-bought rice ada, milk and sugar are the two most important components of this payasam. Many families keep this payasam really simple, sans dried fruit and nuts or ghee, but my recipe uses all of these. I have used a small amount of ghee and some cashewnuts to make this dessert even more flavourful. I have also used a bit of cardamom powder and rose essence, for that extra zing.
Palada Pradhaman is different from Ada Pradhaman, another festive delicacy from Kerala. Both desserts use rice pasta aka ada, but the other ingredients used and style of preparation are different for both. While Palada Pradhaman is made using milk and sugar, Ada Pradhaman uses jaggery and a generous amount of coconut. Taste-wise, the two are completely different.
How we make Palada Pradhaman
Here is how we go about it.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
1. 1 litre full-fat milk
2. 2 tablespoons ghee
3. 12 cashewnuts
4. 1/4 cup ready-to-use rice ada
5. 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of sugar or to taste
6. 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
7. 4-5 drops of rose essence (optional)
1. Chop the cashewnuts roughly. Keep ready.
2. Heat the ghee in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Turn the flame down to medium and add in the chopped cashewnuts. Fry them till golden-brown, taking care not to burn them. Transfer the fried cashewnuts to a plate and keep aside.
3. Now, still keeping the flame at medium, add the rice ada to the pan. Fry them in the residual ghee till they slightly puff up. Take care not to burn them.
4. Now, add in the milk. Mix well. Increase the flame to high.
5. Let the milk come to a boil on high flame. This should take 6-7 minutes.
6. Again, reduce the flame down to medium. Add in the sugar. Mix well.
7. Cook on medium flame for 10-12 minutes or till the milk thickens and reduces to almost half of its original volume. Switch off gas at this stage.
8. Mix in the cardamom powder.
9. Mix in the rose essence, if using.
10. Add in the fried cashewnuts. Mix well. Your Palada Pradhaman is ready. You can serve it hot, warm, at room temperature or after chilling it for a couple of hours.
Tips & Tricks
1. Use full-fat milk for best results. I have used full-cream milk from Nandini here.
2. Adjust the quantity of sugar as per personal taste preferences. I have used regular refined sugar here.
3. Keep the consistency of the payasam as thick or runny as you prefer. Remember that it thickens up further upon cooling.
4. Use a heavy-bottomed pan for making the Palada Pradhaman. Make sure the rice ada and cashewnuts do not burn.
5. You may add in some more ghee if required. For best results, use good-quality, fragrant ghee.
6. The rose essence is purely optional. However, I like adding it in as it adds a beautiful touch to the payasam.
7. Allow the Palada Pradhaman to cool down completely before you refrigerate it (if you decide to serve it chilled).
8. You may use some chopped almonds and raisins along with the cashewnuts.
9. Make sure the milk is at room temperature when you add it to the pan.
Other payasam recipes on the blog
I have quite a few recipes for payasam (kheer) on my blog, which you might want to check out.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!