Any Kerala Sadya/Feast is incomplete without a payasam/kheer. Semiya/Vermicelli or rice payasams are more common variety which you can find in most part of India. But as the name suggests, Ada Pradhaman is the king of all payasams and if I am not wrong, a signature dish you will find only in Kerala 🙂 So you might ask, what does it mean afterall!! Well, Ada is nothing but thin flat rice cake. That’s the best definition I can come up with. In olden days, everyone used to make Ada at home. Though I am not very sure about the recipe now, I am sure it is an easy thing to prepare 😛 Traditionally it is made by steaming the batter/flour wrapped in a banana leaf. But these days, its easier to buy it from the grocery stores. You should be able to find this in the same section as Vermicelli. So now you know what Ada is. Pradhaman in Malayalam means ‘the First’ or ‘Foremost in position’. So it translates to being the foremost among payasams.
And the good part about Ada Pradhaman is that it is healthier than its counterparts 🙂 The reason being, it doesn’t contain sugar at all. The sweetness of this payasam comes from Jaggery. For those of you who are not sure about the health benefits of jaggery, let me brief you with some of them. Jaggery is, so to say, unrefined sugar and is the best sweetening agent. It helps in digestion and also purifies blood. That’s enough reasons to make this wonderful and yummy payasam. I was never a fan of brown payasams, but after knowing the health benefits of jaggery, I am sure that going forward, I am going to make these more than the good looking ‘white’ ones 😛
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml
Jaggery(dark brown) – 230 gms
Ada – 200 gms or 1 cup
Coconut milk(thick) – 300 ml
Ghee – 3 tbsp
Cashew – 2 tbsp
Raisins – 2 tbsp
Cardamom powder – 3/4 tsp
Dry ginger powder(optional) – ¼ tsp
Cumin powder(optional) – ¼ tsp
Coconut slices/thenga kothu(optional) – 1 tbsp
1. Bring 2 cups water to boil. Add 1-2 tsp of ghee to the water. This will prevent ada from sticking to each other. Add ada and boil it in medium high flame till the ada gets soft. Stir occassionally. It will take about 15-20 mins for the ada to cook well. I had crushed the ada using a pestle and mortar to make it look uneven and small. That is just my preference. You can use the ada as is.
2. Running cold water over the cooked ada also ensures that ada doesn’t stick to each other. Drain and keep aside for using later.
3. Meanwhile, heat ghee in a sauce pan. Add half sliced cashews and sauté till they become light brown. At this time add the raisins and fry till raisins are blotted. If you are using coconut slices, fry the coconut slices till it turns brown. Transfer the fried cashews, raisins and coconut slices to a plate for using at a later time.
4. In the same sauce pan, melt jaggery using some water(apprx. 8 cups). Taste the water to decide how sweet you want your ada pradhaman to be. If you want it sweeter, add more jaggery(20-30 gms)
5. Once jaggery melts, add thick coconut milk to it and stir well. Once you pour the coconut milk, cook in medium flame and stir often. Otherwise the coconut milk might split.
6. Add the cooked ada to it and stir well. Add cardamom powder, cumin powder and dry ginger powder now(I used only cardamom powder). Bring it to a thick consistency by stirring frequently for about 10 mins.
7. Once done, add the fried coconut slices, cashews and raisins. Serve hot/chilled.
Note: 1. If you want your ada pradhaman to be dark brown, use only half the quantity of coconut milk and instead use water. The more you add white(coconut milk or milk), the more it gets lighter in color. Quite obvious huh??!! 😉