Anna Payasam

Whenever I heard the word payasam, I was visualizing jaggery payasam (made using rice & lentil) aka anna payasam during my childhood days. It was a delicious staple dessert prepared in our family whether to treat our guests, or ourselves on our birthdays/ festivals, or simply to offer to deities at home on Fridays. However we gradually switched to other payasam made of rice adai, vermicelli (semiya), tapioca pearls (javvarisi), jackfruits, etc.  Nevertheless we still follow the tradition of feeding the traditional anna payasam to babies in front of the deities at home or in a temple when solid foods are introduced to them for the first time.

IMG_4577-2 Anna Payasam
Anna payasam, the first solid food for babies

Anna payasam is prepared using rice, lentils, jaggery & dried ginger powder. Initially, I assumed that anna payasam was chosen to feed the babies mainly because of the protein in lentils, but later I learnt that while taking lentils along with rice it provides a complete protein with all essential amino acids required for growth. It also offers essential minerals needed for the overall well being. Jaggery is added for being one of the best alternatives for sugar and ginger powder aids in digesting protein in this payasam.

Anna payasam recipe:

IMG_4586-1 Anna Payasam
Traditional payasam

Let us look into the recipe for traditional anna payasam:

Time Taken: 40 min

Yields : 2 Ltrs.

IMG_4608-2 Anna Payasam
Anna payasam


  1. Raw rice (pacharisi) – ½ cup
  2. Green gram lentils (paasi paruppu or moong dal) – ½ cup
  3. Water for cooking rice & lentils – 4 cups (800 ml)
  4. Salt – 1/8 tsp (a pinch of salt)
  5. Cane jaggery (vellam) – 1 cup
  6. Water for making syrup – 500 ml
  7. Coconut milk (or cow’s milk) – 200 ml
  8. Ghee – 1 tsp
  9. Cashew nuts – as desired
  10. Raisins – as desired
  11. Ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  12. Cardamom – 2 Nos.
IMG_4458 Anna Payasam

How to prepare anna payasam:

  • Heat a pressure cooker in medium flame.
  • Add lentils and roast until they begin to change the color.
  • Then add rice and wash them.
  • Add water (800 ml) and bring it to boil.
  • Close the pressure cooker and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
ap1 Anna Payasam
Cooking rice & dal for payasam
  • Meanwhile prepare the syrup by boiling water and jaggery solution and keep aside.
  • Grind dried ginger & cardamon seeds using mortar & pestle.
  • Fry cashew nuts & raisins in ghee and keep aside.
IMG_4515-tile Anna Payasam
  • Immediately after opening the pressure cooker, mash the mixture nicely with the back of a ladle.
  • Pour jaggery syrup little by little and combine together in medium flame.
  • Then add powdered dried ginger powder & cardamom and mix well.
  • Add fried cashews & raisins and then pour coconut milk.
  • Finally pour coconut milk and mix well before removing from heat.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.
ap2 Anna Payasam
Anna payasam recipe

Recipe notes:

  • I have used equal measures of rice & lentil, but you may adjust lentil according to your preference. You may also add Bengal gram along with green gram.
  • I used store bought coconut milk here, you may use fresh home made coconut milk or cow’s milk instead.
  • You can use edible camphor (pachai karpooram) only when this payasam is not intended to feed the baby.

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    1. Aw! It is one of my favorite silk sarees, sarees are 5-yard traditional garments still being worn by Indian women ! 🙂

  1. Such a beautiful and traditional payasam, love these kinda payasams, tasty and healthy too?

    1. Yes, it is so fascinating to find that when various ingredients are put together it turns out to be a wholesome dish. Thank you!

  2. This sounds so delicious. I should make this – definitely be making. One question though, I don’t get good jaggery where I live (it has a funny smell). So I hope dark brown sugar can be used as a substitute? That is what I do for sweet pongal and come out good.

    1. Thank you. I find deep brown sugar tastes slightly bitter that goes well with chocolate. But if you like this for sweet pongal then you will like it here as well. You may also try other unrefined cane sugar for the color, or coconut sugar for the flavor & color.

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