Childhood memories are probably the fondest and naturally there’s a concern when some of the reasons for such memories disappear over time.
One such thing facing extinction is the ‘unda payasam’ a typical Kerala dish. It’s a true Kerala dessert as a key component is the ‘ethakka’ the Kerala banana.
I used to like Unda Payasam, equal to or more than the ‘Ada Pradhaman’ the numero uno of all payasams.
That’s why I thought of making it when I got some ethakka. Of course, I am drawing from memory and taste as to how it would have been made.
Ingredients: 1. Kerala banana ( ethakka) 2 medium size, 2. Rice powder 1 cup, 3. grated coconut 1/2 cup, 4. Coconut Milk (thick) 1 cup, 5. Jaggery 1/2 cup, 6. Ghee 1 tablespoon, 7. Cardamom seed powder 1/2 teaspoon, 8. Salt.
Mix rice powder with grated coconut and some salt and add hot water to make into a smooth paste.
Take 3/4th of the dough and make into small balls. Make small balls as it will slightly expand on cooking. Place them in a steamer and steam for about 15 minutes.
Cut the Kerala banana into small pieces. Heat the ghee in a pan and roast the banana in it. Roasting for a few minutes is sufficient.
Take the rest of the dough in a hard bottom vessel. Pour about 4 cups of water and place on the burner. Add grated or powdered jaggery according to the sweetness required. Allow the mixture to come to boil.
Add cardamom powder and mix well. Add the steamed undas and roasted ethakka and allow the jaggery to get absorbed in them too.
When the payasam assumes a slightly thick constituency, add the coconut milk. Reduce the flame and allow to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
Unda Payasam is ready. The sweet and slightly sour ethakka is giving the payasam a unique and delicious taste. Also the rice undas make it a rare pleasant feeling.
Mighty pleased at recreating the fond memory and in reviving this traditional dish. Simply yummy and absolutely satisfying.