December 13, 2013

Mulayari (Bamboo Rice) Payasam

Bamboo rice sounds special and is a delicacy, it is the rice taken from the bamboo grains. As some of you might know, bamboo is a grass just like rice, just that it grows very tall and flowers only once in 12 years. So the bamboo rice a rare variety of rice. I remember when I was young, the tribal folks in our village used to collect bamboo rice, wild honey and rare things like that, and we used to cherish it. As people got prosperous and started enjoying the 'modern' food they started forgetting the old wild gems. There is good news though, we are slowly realizing the value of those old gems and are going back to them, eating more natural and wholesome food. During our last trip to India, it was the year the bamboo flowered in my hometown and a lot of small shacks were selling bamboo rice.  Bamboo rice can be cooked and consumed just like any other rice. Since I got only a little of it, I am just using it for special desserts like this one.

Payasam is an essential part of the 'Sadya' (feast) in Kerala. There are 2 basic versions of payasams, one made with cow's milk and the other made with coconut milk. There are different subsets within these two, depending on the ingredients, consistency and occasion. The recipe here is a variation of 'Idichu pizhinga Payasam' which literally means payasam made with 'crushed and squeezed' coconut milk. The original version is made with milk from fresh coconut, and I have customized it as we don't get good coconuts all year through and hence substitute with the best alternative.

  • Mulayari (bamboo rice) - 1/2 cup
  • Coconut palm sugar - 3/4 cup 
  • Fresh ginger grated - 2 tsp (adjust according to preference) 
  • Himalayan salt - a pinch
  • Homemade coconut cream- 1/2 cup (see notes) 
  • Homemade coconut milk - 2 1/2 cups (see notes) 
  • Homemade light coconut milk  - 2 cups (see notes) 
  • Cardamom - 8-10 pods (skinned and powdered)

  • Soak bamboo rice overnight.
  • Drain and cook rice with 1 cup of water (use pressure cooker or a saucepan).
  • In a heavy bottom deep pan, add cooked bamboo rice and coconut sugar along with finely grated ginger and Himalayan salt.
  • Cook on medium heat stirring frequently till sugar is melted well, for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add light coconut milk and simmer on medium heat till the liquid is reduced to half, for about 20-25 minutes. 
  • Add coconut milk and simmer on medium heat till the liquid is reduced to half, for about 20-25 minutes. 
  • Switch off and add cardamom powder and coconut cream. Let if stand on warm stove top for 30 minutes or so. 
  • Serve warm or refrigerate and serve chilled as per preference. Our family prefers warm payasam :-) 

Notes for coconut milk and cream: 

  • I make my coconut milk with organic dried shredded coconut.
  • Get coconut milk recipe here.
  • For this recipe I make coconut milk in 2 batches, one batch I use as is.  
  • Second batch is made earlier and kept refrigerated so that cream separated on top.
  • You can remove cream from top using a spoon and remaining will be your light coconut milk.


  1. very useful really good information thanks for posting such a good information it will hepls the people a lot keep it up , Regards,
    chakkara pongal recipe

  2. Nice.. Your blog need horizontal scrolling.. reduce width


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