Printable version here.
Cabbage Payasam sounds weird, to say the least. That’s what I also thought the first time I saw the recipe. The credit for this recipe goes to Vasantha Moorthy, whose “Cabbage Rabadi” from the book “The Vegetarian Menu Book”, I have adapted to make this payasam.
The first time I ever made cabbage payasam, I was quite skeptical about a how a vegetable like cabbage (more famous among cabbage haters for its “smell”) could be a part of something so nice. This payasam has, however, been a hit every time I’ve served it for its great taste and always elicits surprise and disbelief from our guests when they discover that there was “cabbage” in their payasam!
It’s my birthday today. I’m a year older and hopefully, a lot wiser.
Traditionally, birthdays are not big celebratory affairs except the first one. Birthdays start with offering prayers at a temple and then a more elaborate meal than usual where the sweet dish is always a payasam (a milk or coconut milk based sweet, usually made with rice or sometimes lentils or fruit like ripe plantain or jackfruit).
So today’s payasam was Cabbage Payasam and this is how I make it. Do ensure that the cabbage you use is as fresh as you can get it, with greenish leaves and tender. Payasam can be made with skim milk, but to get the full flavour of this preparation.
1¼ cups finely chopped cabbage
1 litre milk (I used ½ L of 3% fat and ½ L of 4.5% fat)
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp chopped almonds
2 tbsp chopped pistachios
5 pods cardamom, powdered
Pour the milk into a thick bottom or heavy pan. Bring the milk to a boil, then add the cabbage. Allow to come to boil, turn down the heat and simmer till the cabbage has cooked and is soft.
Keep stirring frequently while the cabbage is cooking to ensure that cream does not form on the sides or the top and that the cabbage does not catch at the bottom of the pan. The milk in the pan should have reduced by more than a third of the original quantity.
Add the sugar and the chopped almonds and 1 tbsp of the chopped pistachios. Cook further till the milk-cabbage mixture is a little thicker. Add the cardamom powder, mix well and take the payasam off the heat.
The consistency of the payasam should be such that you can drink it from a glass. If you would like it thick enough to serve in dessert bowls, just before adding the cardamom powder, mix about 1 ½ tbsp of rice flour in 3 tbsp of cold milk and add this to the cabbage-milk mixture while stirring constantly. This will cause the payasam to thicken a little. Pour into individual bowls and garnish with the remaining 1 tbsp of chopped pistachios.
Serve chilled. This recipe serves 4 to 5.
I have to apologise for the quality of my picture as it really doesn’t do justice to the payasam. Please don’t let it discourage you from trying it out. Hopefully, next time I shall be able to take better ones to replace this.