Cottonseed milk is the traditional vegan milk used by the people in the villages near Madurai, my home town, for making nutritious desserts. As a part of my college education, I served as an NSS (National Service Scheme) volunteer. We used to camp in the surrounding villages during summer vacation to understand the living conditions of the people and also help them improve their standard of living. We were always greeted with a glass of delicious cottonseed milk dessert in almost every household in those villages. Normally they used to grind large quantity of cottonseeds everyday and used as a fodder feed particularly to milking cows. Apparently cottonseed milk is beneficial to lactating mothers as well. Besides it is useful to everyone during summer to keep the body cool.
Benefits of cottonseeds:
According Ayurveda cottonseeds are considered as
- Sheeta (body coolant)
- Sthanyavriddhi (increases lactation)
- Hrudbala karini (heart tonic)
- Vatanashini (treats vata imbalance)
- Kaphakara (increases kapha)
Before moving onto the recipe for paruthi paal payasam, lets see how cottonseeds milk is extracted. I used 1 cup (200 ml) of seeds and extracted 400 ml of thick milk and 400 ml of thin milk.
- Wash & soak cottonseeds overnight.
- Discard the soaking water and grind seeds into smooth batter after adding enough water.
- Pour the batter through a fine sieve and squeeze thick milk out.
- Take the remains back to the grinding jar and grind again to squeeze thin milk out.
- Discard the waste and pour the milk again through a filter to remove any residue.
Now the recipe for paruthi paal payasam: Here I have used foxtail millets (thinai) to prepare payasam, but authentic recipe calls for millet flour (thinai maavu) to prepare thin koozh (porridge).
Time taken: 30 min.
Yields: 800 ml
- Foxtail millet (thinai) – ¼ cup
- Powdered palm jaggery (karuppatti) – little more than ¼ cup*
- Thick cottonseed milk – 200 ml
- Thin cotton seed milk – 400 ml
- Ghee – 1 tbsp
- Coconut – 5 pieces (each 1″)
- Dried ginger – 1 No. (½”)
- Cardamom – 1 No.
*Since cottonseed milk is not as sweet as any other milk it may be required to add the sweetener liberally.
Mise en place:
- Powder cardamom seeds & dried ginger using mortar & pestle and keep aside.
- Heat a small pan with ghee in medium flame.
- Fry the chopped coconut pieces in ghee and leave aside.
- Heat a sauce pan with thin cottonseed milk in medium flame.
- Add powdered palm jaggery into the milk.
- Remove from flame when jaggery is completely dissolved.
- Boil millets in a cooking pan in high flame.
- When the water begins to boil reduce the flame to medium.
- Pour thin cottonseed milk into the pan and cook until soft.
- Now turn off the heat and mash cooked millets using potato masher.
- Stir in jaggery syrup and cook for a couple of minutes in low flame.
- Add powdered dried ginger & cardamom seeds and mix well.
- Pour thick cottonseed milk (200 ml) into the pan and combine together.
- Add fried coconut pieces into the pan and mix well.
- Serve paruthi paal payasam warm or chilled.