Cabbage Payasam sounds weird, to say the least, and isn’t something that sits easy in one’s mind if you know Indian sweets and desserts. Cabbage is a vegetable, a sort of “stinky” vegetable and definitely not the thing you would normally choose to make dessert out of. More so when you know just how delicious Indian payasam or kheer (Indian pudding like sweet usually made with milk, sugar, cardamom and nuts) can get.
That’s what I also thought the first time I came across Vasantha Moorthy’s recipe for “Cabbage Rabadi” in “The Vegetarian Menu Book”. My recipe that follows this post is adapted from the book.
As I was saying, I was quite skeptical how a vegetable like cabbage could be a part of something so nice. Yet the sheer unusualness of it all had me marking it down to make at the first opportunity. As it turned out, this Cabbage Payasam has 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!
So it’s my birthday today. I’m another year older though I’m not sure a lot wiser.
Traditionally, in my community, birthdays come and go and are not celebrated or made much of except the first one ever. Birthdays in general start with offering prayers at a temple and then a more elaborate meal than usual, called a “Sadya”, is served 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)
I thought of the Cabbage Payasam and that’s what I’m celebrating with today. It also happens that I’m one of those few who actually likes cabbage, provided it’s fresh and cooked savoury.
It’s important to keep a couple of things in mind when making a Cabbage Payasam. Please, please please, make sure to use really fresh cabbage, and look for cabbages that are green rather than white. The whiter cabbages and the those that are not fresh tend to develop the hallmark “stink” and will lend that to the Payaysam. Now that is something you do not want!
You may use skim milk, but full fat always gives you that really creamy and milky taste that Payasam made with milk should have.
Cabbage Payasam/ Kheer - A South Indian Style Cabbage & Milk Pudding/ Sweet (GF)
- 1 1/4 cups cabbage finely chopped
- 1 litre milk (I used xbd L of 3% fat and xbd L of 4.5% fat)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar depending on preference
- 5 pods cardamom , powdered
- 1 to 2 tbsps almonds chopped
- 2 tbsps pistachios chopped
- 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 thick but 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 1/2 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.
Vegetable payasam , wow sounds very interesting. But Cabbage has a weird smell i am wondering ur sweet smell 🙂 Looks pretty Aparna
many happy returns of the day, Aparna…and that is definitely a different recipe 🙂
Mishmash ! says
Many many happy returns, Aparna 🙂 yeah the title did sound weird to me 😀
Curry Leaf says
WARM BIRTHDAY WISHES,I am curious abot the taste of this dish.fusion of veg and sweets
Divya Vikram says
Looks just delicious..Am bookmarking this..Thanks for the recipe..And my birthday wishes to u Aparna..
Belated B’day wishes to you, Aparna. Payasam with cabbage? I am sure I wouldnot have bothered to give it a try if I had read in a cookbook. But now with your assurance, I might give a try.
Belated ‘Happy Birthday’, Aparna, and thanks for the cabbage payasam – who new the humble cabbage had such inner qualities:)
Birthday Wishes to you Aparna!A very novel payasam atleast to me 🙂 Have a great year ahead and many more to come…
Happy birthday dear Aparna..may you enjoy many more with family and cook lots of such weird dishes for us..heheheh…but seriously the picture looks very elegant!..won’t have guessed its cabbage…
never in my wildest dream i would have thought of using cabbage in payasa.wishing u many many happy returns of the day girl 🙂
Priya Suresh says
Wishing u many more happy returns of the day Aparna…too tempting paayasam..bookmarked..
Belated Happy Birthday, Aparna! I saw a recipe for Cabbage Kheer pinned to a notice board in my gym, shuddered silently and walked away hurriedly! But then, I’ve heard of brinjal and onion halwas as well, this has got to be better! Yours looks as normal as payasam can be!
wishing you a belated happy birthday! the cabbage payasam looks nice, I am really tempted to try it out. but yes i do worry how well it will go down with others, but i think my mother might be game!
Hi Aparna, Happy Birthday to you (come on sing it again).. Needless to say that I was surprised to see cabbage in a dessert but you picture is just fine.
Happy Birthday Aparna…the payasam looks wonderful…I would have never ever thought of using cabbage in payasam…
Happy Birthday dear! I hope you have a wonderful year. Really? Cabbage in a dessert? That just sounds unbelievable!
Belated happy birthday Aparna. I have to try cabbage payasam one day.:)
Belated b’day wishes Aparna. I’ve also heard about this before, but did not get the courage to try it. I have made payasam using ridgegourd though.
happy birthday, dear aparna. i’m really sorry you had to eat cabbage, though. 😀 i refuse to believe this didn’t stink.
Cabbage payasam??? I Don’t think I’ll ever muster up the courage to try this, but I hope you had a wonderful birthday.
Thanks for all those wonderful birthday wishes. Like I said, I had the same reaction when I first saw cabbage in a sweet dish. But believe me its very nice. Tastes and looks a lot like palada pradhaman.And Bee, thanks for the commiseration, but I actually like cabbage.:)