Vishu Festival and the Sadya meal this year was even more sweeter with the presence of an outstanding dessert or Payasam Recipe from the traditional Kerala Cuisine called Nendram Pazham Pradhaman or Kerala Banana Payasam Recipe. It is made using Nendran Banana Variety, also spelled as Nendthra Pazham, which is popularly known as Kerala Banana.
Pradhaman is Payasam or Kheer / Pudding in English. This is a warm dessert variety made with Kerala banana (they are taller length wise than the regular bananas). The bananas takes a while to ripe and usually when most part of the banana looks dark – it is best to consume as the sweetness is enhanced the longer it is left to ripe. I purchased the bananas couple of days prior to Vishu and wrapped them in a newspaper in order to quicken the ripening process.
The Nendram Pazham Pradhaman is made with ripe and steamed bananas, coconut milk, sweetened with jaggery and scented with cardamom. It is quite a simple recipe but needs TLC while cooking and some patience too. I made this delectable dessert for Vishu, our New Year and I must say, it was the show stopper of the entire Sadya Meal with the husband going for a 2nd cup of payasam.
Popularly this variety of banana is known for chips that is fried in coconut oil or the Pazham Pori which is banana fritters or pakoras made with sliced bananas dipped in batter and fried. They taste amazing and is always on my list to eat when I visit Kerala. Appams are also made by mashing and adding them to the batter and cooking them in ghee for festivals, specially.
For a Palakkad Iyer like myself, Nendram Pazham is sheer comfort food. Something my mother has fed me right since I was a 6 month old baby. Nendram Pazham is a popular baby food amongst Keralites. It is mashed and served to kids or dried and ground into a powder and served as a porridge too.
My husband adores this variety of banana and often has it for breakfast as Steamed Nendram Pazham. One of the most healthy ways to start your day is couple of these banana pieces and it keeps you full for longer.
If you have not tasted this variety of banana, then please do so. And buy some extra bananas to cook this delicious dessert. Trust me, a bowl of this delectable rich dessert is sheer Food Coma! Check out the recipe and the step by step pics below.
Recipe for Nendram Pazham Pradhaman / Kerala Banana Payasam Recipe with step by step pics
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Serves 3 nos.
- 2 nos. Nendran Pazham or Nendthra Pazham
- 1 cup Jaggery (250 ml)
- 1/2 cup water + 1/4 cup for grinding the bananas (250 ml)
- 1/4 tsp of Cardamom Powder
- A cup of coconut milk (200 ml)
- 1 tblsp ghee or clarified butter + 2 tsps of ghee extra
- 1 tbslp of sliced coconut
(1) Cut the top and bottom ends of the ripe banana and steam them for 15 minutes. Keep aside for cooling and peel them once cool.
(2) Grind the bananas into a thick paste using 1/4 cup of water and keep aside. It should have no lumps.
(3) In the meanwhile, heat a vessel with 1/2 cup of water, add jaggery and allow it to completely melt. Switch off the flame.
(4) Strain this jaggery liquid for any impurities and keep aside.
(5) In a non-stick pan or thick bottom kadhai, add ghee and once it melts, add the pureed banana mixture.
(6) Keep stirring this mixture on low flame until it loses excess moisture and thickens slightly.
(7) Now pour the jaggery liquid and keep stirring the mixture until it thickens and develops a caramel consistency and colour.
(8) Switch off the flame, remove pan from heat. Add the 1 cup of coconut milk slowly and mix well.
(9) Now put this payasam back on low heat and mix well until it reaches one single boil. Switch off immediately else the coconut milk with split. Add cardamom powder and keep aside.
(10) In a tempering pan, add ghee and sliced coconut. Roast them until brown and add this to the payasam. Mix once and serve immediately or after cooling a bit.
- This payasam tends to thicken after a while so you can add some milk (regular cow milk) and / or more coconut milk and warm slightly, serve.
- I have used canned coconut milk for this recipe. Traditionally, thin coconut milk is added first followed by thick coconut milk at the end before switching off the flame.
- You can add dry fruits like cashew and badam or almonds too but I prefer it with toasted coconut. It enhances the taste.
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