ada payasam for onam (sweet flattened rice and milk pudding from Kerala)

Tuesday September 11 2001. Ten years. Gosh has it been that long? I am not from New York. I have never been to New York but I am sure like me, almost everyone around the world will remember what they  were doing that day. Early in the morning, I was in my college hostel room in India prepping for a test when my roommate rushed in with the day's news paper. I will never forget the look on her face. Shock, disbelief. Such a senseless tragedy that impacted so many innocent lives.

I remember asking my grandfather after a trip to the zoo when I was eight or so, which animal he was thought could be the scariest and he answered "Man". I understand today how much cruelty and at the same time, how much goodness man is capable of.

By contrast, September is the beginning of many celebrations in India. There are many religious festivals during this time starting with Ramzan to Ganesh Chaturthi to the week long Diwali celebrations in October and ending with Christmas and the universal New Year's festivities when the air is thick from the smoke of fireworks. In Kerala this weekend many Malayalis like me, whether they be Hindus or Christians or Muslims would have wished each other a Happy Onam although Onam is a Hindu festival unique to the state. They believe that during Onam the good king Mahabali visits the homes of his people and so special feasts are prepared and a carpet of flowers laid out to receive him. Today it is celebrated by one and all. Who would not like to share in a delicious feast? I wish we all can find more such happy reasons to come together.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Onam weekend. I enjoyed having my mom here in the US for Onam and the two payasams she made. The first is my favourite and very simple to make,  in fact I would call it beginner's payasam. Am sending this off to Divya who is hosting this month's edition of The Kerala Kitchen  as well as to Shulie for her Rice Love event :)

Payasam is a milk or coconut milk based pudding that is one of the traditional desserts in South India and Kerala and is served at the end of the elaborate vegetarian Onam Sadhya ( feast) There are different types of payasams and this one is one of the simplest to prepare using only a few ingredients.

Ada Payasam

Recipe source: My mom
Prep time: 10 mins to soak the ada Cook time: 30 mins Total time: 40 mins Yield: 4 servings approx

This simple sweet pudding is made with rice ada available in most Indian grocery stores but can also be made with most short grain rice.

  • Ada or flattened rice : 1 cup ( You can also substitue the ada with short grained rice. Please note that ada is not the same as beaten rice flakes like aval (Malayalam) or poha ( Hindi). It is a sort of steamed rice pancake that is then chopped and dried and most commonly used to make payasam. If you can't find ada you can substitute with regular short grain rice ) 
  • Water: 2 cups
  • Milk ( Preferably whole milk): 2 cups
  • Sugar: 1/2 cup 
  • Cardamom powder: 1/4 tsp 
  • Ghee/melted butter: 1-2 tsp ( Optional) 
  • Cashew nuts: 4-5 chopped ( You can substitute almonds if you don't have cashews)
*Note: this recipe can be easily veganised by substituting coconut, almond or soy milk for the regular milk and omitting the ghee or substituting it with smart balance.


  • Put the ada in a bowl
  • Pour hot water to cover the ada and let it soak for 10 minutes and then rinse it off
  • Cook the ada in 2 cups of water until soft. Mom pressure cooks it for one whistle and then switches off the flame and keeps the weight on until all the steam has released. 
  • The water would have mostly evaporated and absorbed by the ada.
  • Pour the milk and sugar  into the softened ada and heat on medium heat until it boils.
  • Now add the cardamom powder and reduce the heat to low and let it simmer stirring occasionally until the milk is thickened.
  • Heat the ghee or butter in a separate pan and roast the cashews until golden brown and add it to the ada.
  • Serve in bowls either warm or chilled.
  • Store in the fridge for upto a few days. 


  1. Belated Onam wishes.This is indeed an easy payasam.

  2. Belated onam wishes, super delicious and inviting payasam..

  3. I love Onam for the simple fact that everyone celebrates it irrespective of religion :) Hope u had a wonderful Onam. And the payasam looks lovely! Will try it out one of these days. I'm in Payasam-Paradise these days :)

  4. adipoli payasam..looks so creamy and delicious..

  5. Yummy payasam! Hope you had a great Onam..

  6. this is uper yummy payasam.. my frnd got me this yummy one on onam..

  7. That looks sooo sweet Rose! Even I made Pal ada payasam:-)

  8. Happy Onam to you Rose, and the payasam looks so mouthwatering!

  9. Thank you so much girls! This is indeed very easy and simple payasam but this one and semiya payasam are my favourites :) T likes the coconut milk based ones so Mom made ada pradhaman too!Hope you all had a fabulous Onam :)

  10. Yummylicious payasam, the festive day is being highlighted with the presentation dear. Happy to follow you. Payasam n vada makes my day cheerful:)

  11. Happy Onam to you, and the payasam looks so mouthwatering!

  12. Ooo... Ada payasam, also called ada pradaman right? its sooo yum!!! I had it when I lived in Coimbatore for studies.Huge kerala population there!

  13. Welcome to #RiceLove Rose. Love your entry of flattened rice and milk pudding from South India. Looks delicious!!

  14. Ada pradhaman is made with ada but jaggery and coconut milk instead of sugar and milk as in the payasam above :) Will post a recipe for it soon.

    Thanks so much Shulie, love the Rice Love event and hope to send in more recipes :)

  15. Thank you for visiting my blog. So glad to have found yours. This pudding looks lovely. I've never heard of flattened rice before? Love the sound of the creamy cardamom. Delicious!

  16. i love rice pudding! this looks so comforting right now! welcome to our #ricelove bloghop :)

  17. What a delicious rice pudding this is! I love how good it looks. This would make a hearty treat now that the weather is colder. Glad to do the rice love with you !

  18. Rice in all forms -flattened, puffed, powdered is all very common in Kerala cuisine Julia!Ada is a sort of pancake that is chopped and then dried so that it can be stored and cooked later- much like pasta.
    You would be able to find it in most Indian grocery stores, or just substitute with regular rice!

  19. Hmmm looks yummy. This recipe will come handy for this coming Onam Festival. I am not an Indian myself, or Keralite for this matter, but the culture and festive feel of the occasion fascinates me. I might try this recipe. Thanks for sharing ;-)

    More power and keep posting,
    Onam Wishes


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