Friday, January 14, 2011
NEY PAYASAM / ARAVANA PAYASAM
MAKARA SANKRANTI is the auspicious day when thousands of devotees throng the sacred Shabari Malai to take a glimpse of one of the great celestial wonders -the MAKARA JYOTHI. This Jyothi bobbs up over the far away hills thrice as soon as the Pooja at the sanctum sanctorum is completed.
The Month of Makara has already set foot this evening. But we have to wait for the Sun God to rise and then offer prayers and pongal to Him. In the evening we happened to watch the live telecast of Makara Jyothi at Lord Ayyappa's abode. I was enthralled by the sacred visuals, while my husband with a sudden spurt of inspiration captured a few pictures from the live telecast.
As today happens to be the first day of Pongal I had prepared Ney Payasam as Prasadam in the morning, and was thrilled to watch the Makara Jyothi on the same evening.
Ney Payasam or Aravana Payasam is a special dish prepared as an offering to Lord Ayyappa, and to all deities in all other temples of God's Own Country - Kerala.
Rice ( I used Basmati Rice ) - 1 cup
Jaggery - 2 1/2 cups
Ghee - 4 tbsps
Cardamom - 4
Edible camphor - 1 pin head
Raisins - a few
Cashew nuts - a few
Copra( Dried coconut )chopped - 2 tsps
1. Wash and soak rice for 15 minutes and drain.
2. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the rice in it.
3. Pressure cook rice with 1 cup of water until three whistles.
4. In the mean while disslove jaggery in a cup of warm water and strain.
5. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in the same pan and blend in the cooked rice without mashing.
6. Add the filtered jaggery and start cooking.
7. Add ghee little by little until the payasam thickens.
8. The jaggery syrup should coat each and every grain of rice.
9. Fry cashew nuts, raisins and the copra pieces in one more tbsp of ghee and add to the payasam.
10. Mix in the powdered cardamom and edible camphor.