Vella Payasam| Rice Kheer With Jaggery

Happy, happy new year, people! I hope you had a lovely holiday season. šŸ™‚ We sure did, and I’m now finding it so tough to get back to my regular routine! Anyhow, I’m here to tell you about this lovely Vella Payasam we enjoyed for New Year’s Eve.

Payasam or kheer is somewhat of a staple in our house on every festive occasion. Figures, because it is such an easy dessert to put together and you can have so many varieties! Vella Payasam – or Rice Kheer with jaggery (‘vellam‘ is Tamil for ‘jaggery’) – is one of our favourite types. I’m going to show you exactly how we make it at home, in this post. Do make it this festive season and share your feedback!

Most kheer varieties we prepare use sugar. The jaggery used in this Vella Payasam gives it a unique colour and taste. I use powdered organic country (Nati) jaggery which has a dark brown colour. You can use any other type of jaggery you prefer in the same recipe – Nolen Gur (liquid date palm jaggery from Bengal) or Karupatti (blackish palm jaggery from Tamilnadu) make for wonderful substitutes.

Vella Payasam or Rice Kheer With Jaggery

Other kheer varieties on the blog

There are quite a few different versions of kheer on my blog. You might be interested in checking them out:

What goes into Vella Payasam?

This is a very easy payasam to make, requiring only a handful of ingredients. In fact, there are just 5 basic ingredients that are used in this recipe – full-fat milk, ghee, rice, jaggery and cardamom powder!

We prefer keeping this kheer very simple, and do not use raisins or nuts. You could, if you want to, but there’s really no need – the flavours of the jaggery and thickened milk together make this a very special dessert as it is.

It is quite common for milk to curdle when jaggery is added to it. However, there’s a technique to prevent that from happening while making Vella Payasam – read on to know!

How to make Vella Payasam

Here’s how to go about it.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

1. 1/2 tablespoon ghee

2. 2 tablespoons rice

3. 1 litre full-fat milk

4. 1/3 cup jaggery powder or to taste

5. 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (elaichi) powder


Top left: Step 1, Top right and below: Step 2, Bottom right: Step 3, Bottom left: Step 4

1. Wash the rice well under running water. Drain out all the water from it, then place it on a cotton kitchen towel and rub out all the moisture.

2. Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the rice. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute for about 2 minutes on medium flame or till the grains of rice puff up slightly.

3. At this stage, add in the milk to the pan. Mix well.

4. Still keeping the flame at medium, allow the milk to come to a rolling boil. Reduce flame to low-medium now.

Top left, top right and below: Step 5, Bottom right and left: Step 6

5. Allow the milk to cook on low-medium flame till the grains of rice turn soft and break between your fingers, as shown in the picture above. This might take 30-45 minutes. Keep stirring intermittently, scraping down the cream that forms on the sides of the pan back into the milk. By the end of 30-45 minutes, the milk would have thickened considerably. Switch off gas at this stage.

6. Allow the milk to cool down till it is slightly more than lukewarm in temperature. Now, add in the jaggery powder and cardamom powder. Mix well. Do not add the jaggery while the milk is still hot – this can cause curdling.

Your Vella Payasam is ready – serve it warm or at room temperature.

Related event: Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I’m sharing this recipe in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is a group of food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every month. The participants are divided into pairs, and each pair secretly exchanges two ingredients, unknown to the rest of the group. These two ingredients are used by each pair to prepare a dish that fits into the theme of the month. Looking at a picture of the finished dish, the group members try to guess the two secret ingredients that each pair has used.

The theme for December 2022 was ‘festive foods’, which was suggested by Priya Vijayakrishnan of Sweet Spicy Tasty.

I was paired with Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds for the theme. I suggested she use ‘asafoetida’ and ‘ginger’ as her secret ingredients, and she did so beautifully in this Tri-Colour Quinoa Pongal. Kalyani gave me ‘milk’ and ‘rice’ to work with, and I chose to use them in this family favourite Vella Payasam recipe.

Tips & Tricks

1. Always use a heavy-bottomed pan to make this payasam.

2. We use Sona Masoori rice to make this Vella Payasam. Basmati, Kollam and Gobindobhog rice are some other substitutes which work well too.

3. Jaggery powder is nothing but powdered jaggery, commonly available in several departmental stores. This melts easily, and is perfect for making the Vella Payasam. I have used the Nati variety, which has a dark brown colour. If you are using regular jaggery blocks, make sure it is well chopped before adding it to the milk. Adjust the quantity of jaggery as per taste.

4. Full-fat milk is an absolute must, for a rich and creamy payasam.

5. It is very important to allow the milk to cool down before you add in the jaggery. If you do not allow time for this, the milk might split when the jaggery is mixed in.

6. The right consistency of the milk mixture when the flame is switched off is thick and creamy, but still runny. Remember that it thickens up further with time. If the mixture has become very thick at this stage, add in some more full-fat milk as needed and cook for 7-8 minutes.

7. Do not vigorously heat the Vella Payasam after the jaggery has been added in. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

8. Keep checking on the rice intermittently while the milk is cooking. The grains of rice should break between your fingers when done.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!


18 thoughts on “Vella Payasam| Rice Kheer With Jaggery

  1. Delicious and yummy and especially when using jaggery, add so much rich flavor to the dish. Tempting it is.


  2. This is one of our traditional payasam that we make in our home. This is a great kheer recipe and no festival celebration is complete without kheer on the menu.


  3. Payasam and festivals are inseparable. I normally make jaggery based sweets for most festivals and this velll paysam wil be a new addition to my list . Perfect tip for beginners on how to add jaggery so as to not curdle the milk.


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