Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Elaneer Payasam - Tender Coconut Cooler!

Elaneer Payasam
- A delightful mildly sweet tender coconut cooler!

A Facebook foodie friend’s ‘status’ yesterday was that she had made yummy Elaneer (Tender Coconut) Payasam. This is only the second or third time I’ve heard of this, although regular coconut based payasams are well known! She went on to tell me that Elaneer is suddenly the "in" ingredient, in India. Elaneer payasam is making it in wedding reception menus,  and she had in the past few months  tasted Elaneer souffle, Elaneer cheesecake and even Elaneer Halwa!!

Tender Coconut water or Elaneer!
For me Elaneer screams HOLIDAY TIME! In our school days, every trip between Bangalore and Mysore would never be complete without the mandatory stop near the road-side  Channapatna vendors. I remember Dad, Grandad and Uncles insisting with the vendor to ensure that we got the Elaneer’s with the maximum water, and most tender vazhukkai (tender coconut flesh).
Tender Coconut Flesh or Vazhukkai scraped with a 'coconut spoon'!
Elaneer’s are also the welcome drink in our native village Seeplaputhur. The size of the Elaneers in our village are very tiny, almost like an orange! However, the water is very very sweet, and the vazhukkai most delicate – although just a teaspoon per coconut! You can easily have 4 or 5 of these at one go!

Flash forward – Sydney supermarkets selling Fijian Elaneers with a colourful label promoting weightloss through this nature’s miracle drink!!! These don’t taste quite as great, but better than canned stuff anyday!!

My friend's post was timely last night, as I was left with some fresh home made coconut milk, after making some yummy Thai Green Curry for dinner, and I decided to make this quickie dish asap!
I now understand why it’s a party dish, and yet so simple to make.

Ingredients
Full Cream Milk – 2 cups
Thick Coconut milk  – ½ cup  (This post contains the method for extracting coconut milk)
Condensed Milk – 1.5 Tbsp
Elaneer with flesh – Puree in a mixer. It need not be smooth, as its nice to have some vazhukkai bits in the payasam
Optional Flavourings and Garnish
Cardamom Powder – ½ tsp
Saffron – few strands
Few raisins and cashews fried in ghee.
Elaneer Payasam, ready to be chilled!

Method1. Boil milk, until it has reduced to half the quantity.
2. Add in condensed milk (you can add more if you like it sweet, however this tastes best if its mildly sweet), cardamom and saffron.
3. Add coconut milk. Stir and simmer for few minutes.
4. Switch off the flame and allow mixture to cool
5. Mix in the Elaneer water and pulp mixture, and chill.
6. Serve chilled, garnished with fried raisins and cashews.

Note: The dish tastes great even without the optional flavours, as you simply get yummy Elaneer flavour.