Onam Special: Lentil and Coconut Pudding (Parippu Paayasam)

IMG_1639A hearty and Happy Onam to all those who celebrate! To all us ‘Mallus’, Onam equates to ‘pigging out’ as that’s one festival (although not much unlike most other festivals! 🙂 ) where ‘food’ is the main attraction. And Onam sadya or the feast takes center stage. My childhood Onam memories are that of my parents working in the kitchen starting in the wee hours of the morning to have a plethora of vegetarian dishes- atleast 12-15 different ones as well as the mandatory  ‘paayasam’ ready by lunch time!. The sound of amma using the coconut scraper would be what would wake me up! She would easily use up at least 4-5 entire coconuts for the sadya! For the sadya we usually would have many ‘non-mallu’ friends as guests and hence it was not just the variety of dishes that needed to be made but they also needed to be cooked in large quantities! So all the large utensils which otherwise would be relegated to the top shelves of the kitchen would suddenly find themselves being put to good use!

My husband and I have also started this same tradition in our home for the last few years and it gives us immeasurable joy to prepare and administer the sadya! Although I must state that I am eternally grateful to the company that makes and markets ‘fresh frozen grated coconut’! 🙂 I would not be half as enthusiastic if I had to scrape coconuts by hand using the scraper like my mom used to do! This year Onam is even more special for us since my dad is visiting with us and so I have the benefit of learning from the Master Chef himself. Dad’s ‘parippu paayasam’ is ‘much sought after’ in our family and so today I took detailed notes as I watched him make the paayasam and for once I was happy to be the ‘sous chef’:) I should mention that dad has an entire set of sweet teeth and hence the only argument we had was over how much ‘jaggery’ needed to go into the paayasam!  “Paayasam wont be paayasam unless you add twice the amount of jaggery as the lentils” he said. I scoffed and squirmed- ‘Really, do we need that much’? Then upon further thought, I decided to keep quiet – it was after all quite pointless arguing about the hazards of eating too much sugar with someone who had lived for twice as long as I had and with one who had a really healthy track record.  It was best to give in and appreciate! 🙂

So here’s the much treasured ‘Parippu Paayasam’ recipe from our family to yours! Btw, this recipe is for a sadya – makes about 20 servings so you may want to halve or quarter the recipe if you don’t have a crowd coming over! 🙂

The ‘pookalam’ or the floral rangoli is courtesy – Hubby and my dad! Also is a picture of the spread / sadya items for tonight’s Onam Sadya – I made Sambhaar, Avial, Moru kootan, Kumbalanga pachadi, cabbage thoran, kadala and kaaya thoran, matanga erisseri, inji pulli and parippu. Oh boy, feels nice to take a break to write this post! 🙂 Btw we will be serving all these dishes over banana leaves – yes we get fresh frozen ones at our Asian grocers! All the recipes that I haven’t yet posted I will be posting them soon! I am also bringing this Onam Special feast to Fiesta Friday this week. 🙂

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  1. I love learning about other cultures, especially ones that I haven’t been introduced to before, such as this Keralan festival of Onam. How wonderful! I love that stunning floral pookalam, looks so festive. Thank you, Indu, for sharing this with us at the fiesta, and thanks for your dad’s recipe as well. <3

  2. Happy Onam! Congratulations on such a beautiful spread, and how nice that you had two men in the family to help out with cooking and decorating. I’m sure your guests will enjoy it all, and those of us at FF have a new festive dessert we can learn to make ourselves.

    • thanks Hilda! Yes isn’t it nice to have the men helping out too! We women in our family have been lucky – most men in our family do help out a lot! Yes the lentil payasam is really yummy although you may want to add less jaggery (brown sugar) than in my dad’s recipe! 🙂 Happy FF to you and thanks so much for stopping by!

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