Dessert, Food, Kerala cuisine

Paal Payasam

I had this succulent dessert for the first time at a friend’s sisters marriage. The dollop of pinkish payasam served at the end of elaborate Kerala Sadhya was to die for.

Second time I had it was at my bestie place, she had called me over after relocating to Bangalore and had cooked for me. And that when I was introduced into the world of pressure-cooker paal payasam. Otherwise labours task of reducing the milk into half by constantly ‘torturing’ the milk is made so easy. I have since cooked it multiple times and shared recipe with great result.


  • Milk(full cream) – 5 cup ~ 1 liter
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Rice – big handful

How to

  1. Wash and soak rice for 15-20mins. Drain and pulse it in mixie. Just to break them down.
  2. Mix milk, sugar, broken rice in pressure cooker. Just heat and stir till the sugar dissolves in milk. Needn’t boil.
  3. Close the lid and put on weight and cook it on the lowest flame for 25-30 mins. You can see steam coming by side of weight, but pressure shouldn’t be realised at any point. If you think the pressure will release switch it off for a while and switch on again. Even if pressure realises needn’t panic, just switch it off.
  4. Once you have switched it off, wait for another 30 mins or more before opening the pressure cooker. The longer it stands the better it gets.


Using full cream makes it extra creamy and rich. Will have to cook 10-15 mins longer if it’s normal milk.

I have cooked with both white rice and basmati rice. It’s best to use rice with no special flavour.

Quantity and quality of rice is to add thickness and volume to the payasam. Using starchy rice will make it even more thick.

I use a 3L pressure cooker to make 1L payasam. Using bigger cooker helps retain the pressure longer.

Needn’t add ghee or nuts or raisin. This on its own of luscious.

Since the quantity of milk isn’t reduced to half this will yield around 5 cup payasam.

You can turn leftover paal payasam into popsicle and they taste great even when frozen. You get to linger on the caramelized milk dessert even longer. This taste very close to kulfi minus the Malai.

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