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Paal Payasam or Rice Pudding

Paal Payasam or Rice Pudding

A slow cooked traditional South Indian style festive rice and milk pudding with cashewnuts, raisins and flavoured with cardamom and ghee.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 servings


  • 1/2 cup raw rice
  • 1 litre milk whole milk is best; I used 3% milk
  • 1 cup milk whole milk is best; I used 3% milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 to 5 pods cardamom, powdered
  • 2 tsp ghee optional
  • 1 tbsp each broken cashewnuts and golden raisins optional


  • Wash the rice and put it in a deep dish. Add 1 cup of water and the 1 cup of milk and cook it in the pressure cooker till very well cooked. Otherwise cook the rice in the microwave in half milk and half water.
  • In another heavy bottomed/ thick-walled pan, pour the one litre of milk and bring it to boil. Add the cooked rice to it, stir well and then turn down the heat a bit. Allow the rice to cook in the milk for about 15 to 20 minutes or till the milk has reduced, in volume, to about half.
  • Now add the sugar and stir till it dissolves. Allow the milk-rice-sugar mixture/ payasam to cook for another 10 minutes till it thickens slightly. Take it off the heat.
  • Once it cools to room temperature, it will thicken a little more. The milk in the cooked payasam should be slightly thicker.
  • Add the powdered cardamom and stir well. You may also add some ghee if you choose. Otherwise, heat the ghee and fry the golden raisins in it till they puff up. Remove them and then fry the broken cashewnuts till golden, in the same ghee. Pour this and the raisins into the payasam and stir.
  • Serve warm, if serving as apart of a meal. Otherwise, chill and serve as dessert. This recipe will serve 4 to 6 people.