On this Vishu day I want to Wish all my Readers and Friends a Happy and Prosperous Vishu. Hope this Vishu (Hindu New Year) will bring you all the happiness and prosperity you longed for.
In Kerala, southern part of India the New Year is celebrated as Vishu, a harvest festival; in neighboring Tamil Nadu it is celebrated as Tamil Puthandu and in Punjab it is celebrated as Baisakhi and in Assam it is celebrated as Bihu.
During Vishu ( April-May, this year April 14th), Laburnums/Golden shower( Cassia fistula) flowers starts to bloom, glittering everything with its beautiful yellow color, even a special variety of cucumber shows off its skin in beautiful yellow. In Kerala, Jack fruit, Mango, Cashew trees are in full form starting to share their crop from top to bottom.
There is beautiful story behind those golden yellow Laburnms flowers/ Kanikonna. In a village there was a small boy from poor household who loved God Krishna a lot, and he always wished one day he can meet lord Krishna. One fine day lord Krishna appeared before him and asked him what he wanted, he told Lord Krishna I am happy, and I don’t need anything. But God wanted to him something, so gave him his midriff gold chain (aranjanam) as a present. Next day when temple priest came and saw that idol of Lord Krishna was without gold chain, people thought it was stolen. And when they say the boy with gold chain they called him, thief. His mom got upset hearing this and gave him a spanking and took the gold chain and throw it into the floor. Suddenly that chain turned into a beautiful golden Laburnms flowers/ Kanikonna. Laburnms tree wait for every year to flower in April May just before this festival and stop flowering after that.
Vishu always brings me a lot of nostalgia, waiting for the ruppee coins which appa would give us in the form of Vishukainettam. In the early hours of the morning we would get up to see Vishukani. And we pray to God to keep us safe, happy and prosperous. And a yummy feast would follow in the day. If you want to read ritual about Vishu, read hereand here.
Vishu is festival which startsm the harvest season, where as the other major festival Onam is more like a Thanksgiving festival for a honest king who ruled the country long years ago. Both north and south Kerala celebrate Vishu with Vishukani (First sight in the morning), kaineetam (coin giving to younger ones by elders as a simple act of sharing the prosperity) and a feast, where as in central and northern it is celebrated along with fire crackers.
Vishu feast is always about having seasonal harvest flavors, Mango, Jackfruit, Cashew nut tree, cucumber, and fresh fruits and vegetables. It also has traditional recipes like Vishu Kanji (a porridge made with rice, coconut), Vishu Katta, and Vishu ada. I need to try all these, I haven’t tried yet.
As usual for this Vishu too, we will have a vegetarian feast along with this tasty Payasam/ pradhaman and our Vishukani and Kainettam . Do you know among the pradhaman, who is the king? No doubt it is Ada Pradhaman/ Ada Payasam/ Pudding made with homemade rice flakes. I already made that. I am in quest for discovering the magical taste of traditional Kerala recipes. So when I saw a video of Aranmulla vella sadya recipes, I naturally got fascinated and wanted to try it. If you want to know more about Aranmulla Vella Sadya read my post here. Normally in pazham pradhaman, it is made with Nendran pazham/ Sweet plantains. Plantains are cooked first and then fried in jaggery/refined sugar to a thick paste and then again cooked with coconut milk and finally mixed with ghee and spices. No rice is used.
However in Aranmulla version, rice is cooked first and then thickened with jaggery / refined sugar then it is again cooked with coconut milk, when it 3/4 done, there is addition of mashed banana with little sugar and cooked for a few minutes. Finally after switching off the flame are added roasted cumin powder, cardamom and dry ginger. Trust me it is really tasty, full of banana flavor. If you are looking for a vegan option skips the final addition of ghee. In the traditional recipe, kadali pazham is this red bananaor rasa kadaliis used. Since Rasa kadali pazham looks like our apple banana/Manzano banana, I used that to make this recipe as rasa kadali pazham is not available here in US.
Print Recipe from here
Pazham Pradhaman/ Pazham Payasam/ Apple Banana Rice Pudding: Aranmula Vallasadya Special
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 serving
Payasam rice/ Unakalari/ Broken Matta rice: 1/3 cup / 90g
Jaggery/ Unrefined Sugar: 2/3 cup/ 167g
Water: 3 1/4 cup
Coconut milk: 3/4 cup ( I used Thai Kitchen)
Manzano/Apple Banana:3 no
Sugar: 1/2 teaspoon
Ghee: 1 tablespoon ( if you want a vegan free version skip this one)
Roasted cumin seed powder: 1/4 teaspoon
Cardamom Powder: 1/4 teaspoon (around 3 crushed cardamom)
Dry ginger/ Chukku podi : 1/8 teaspoon.
How I made
- Wash and pressure the cook the rice with 2 cup of water for about 10 minutes or until 2-3 whistles. Switch off and set aside.
- While the rice is cooking melt jaggery with 1/2 cup water and strain for impurities and set aside.
- Add this jaggery water into the rice and cook for about 10 minutes or until everything gets thickened well.
- To this add 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup water and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Mash banana with sugar and set aside. Add this mashed banana into the cooked rice and jaggery mixture and cook for another 4 minutes.
- To this add thick coconut milk and cook for 1 minute. Then switch off flame and add cumin powder, cardamom powder and dry ginger powder and ghee. Enjoy warm.