Payasam is an essential part of a Vishu Sadya (feast) being the main dessert. It is also called as Kheer in some parts of India. In Kerela, we make so many varieties of payasams. One of our favorite is the Chakka (Jackfruit) pradhaman which is usually made during the vishu season when jackfruits are in abundance. Pradhaman is a payasam variety from Kerala where the base is coconut milk instead of milk.
In this part of the world it is difficult to get fresh jackfuit in season, hence we have to innovate with what we get. So instead of the chakka pradhaman, I make the kaitha-chakka (Pineapple) pradhaman. Caramelized pineapple brings its own distinct flavor to the payasam and it is one that we all love to have. So go ahead and try this one and you will love it.
- Pineapple - 1/2 (1 cup chopped)
- Coconut palm sugar - 3/4 cup
- Homemade coconut cream - 1/2 cup (see notes)
- Homemade coconut milk - 2 cups (see notes)
- Homemade light coconut milk - 2 cups (see notes)
- Ginger powder - 1 tsp
- Himalayan pink salt - a pinch
- Cardamom - 6 (skinned and crushed)
- Homemade ghee - 1 Tbs
- Ripe banana - 1/2 (chopped)
- Peel and remove core from pineapple. Chop into really fine pieces.
- Add chopped pineapple with a pinch of himalayan salt into a saucepan and start cooking on low medium heat. Cook covered so that pineapple cooks on its own liquid.
- Once the pineapple is really soft and most of moisture is reduced, add coconut sugar and ground ginger. Continue cooking on low medium heat stirring frequently till pineapple is kind of caramelized, in about 20 minutes.
- Add light coconut milk and continue cooking on medium heat, stirring frequently till liquid is reduced to half, in about 15-20 minutes.
- Add coconut milk and continue cooking on medium heat, stirring frequently till liquid is again reduced to half, in about 15-20 minutes.
- Add cardamom powder and coconut cream and switch off.
- Heat ghee in a small pan, add chopped banana and sauté till golden. Add to the payasam.
- Let the payasam stay on the warm stove top for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Enjoy warm!!
Notes for coconut milk and cream:
- You can substitute coconut palm sugar with equal amount of powdered jaggery.
- Substitute ghee with coconut oil for a vegan version.
- For garnish, instead of chopped banana try finely chopped coconut pieces for a crunchy bite in your payasam.