Paruthi Paal

Paruthi paal is a cottonseed milk dessert popular in the villages near Madurai, my home town. People, esp. the villagers, prepare a nutritious dessert using cottonseed milk, a traditional vegan milk. 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 paruthi paal in almost every household in those villages. Normally they used to grind a 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. Others consume this dessert during summer to keep them cool.

IMG_0071 Paruthi Paal
Paruthi paal payasam

 Health benefits of cottonseed milk:

According Ayurveda cottonseeds have the following properties:

  • Sheeta (body coolant)
  • Sthanyavriddhi (increases lactation)
  • Hrudbala karini (heart tonic)
  • Vatanashini (treats vata imbalance)
  • Kaphakara (increases kapha)
IMG_0007-1 Paruthi Paal
Paruthi kottai (Cotton seeds)

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.

IMG_0015 Paruthi Paal
Cottonseed 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 sieve to remove the residue.
csm Paruthi Paal
How to extract cottonseed milk

Paruthi paal recipe:

Here I have used the whole foxtail millets (thinai arisi) to prepare payasam, but the authentic recipe calls for millet flour (thinai maavu) as a thickening agent. They prepare this dessert in a thin koozh (porridge) like consistency and serve as a beverage.

Time taken: 30 min.
Yields: 800 ml


  1. Foxtail millet (thinai) – ΒΌ cup
  2. Powdered palm jaggery (karuppatti) – little more than ΒΌ cup*
  3. Thick cottonseed milk – 200 ml
  4. Thin cotton seed milk – 400 ml
  5. Ghee – 1 tbsp
  6. Coconut – 5 pieces (each 1″)
  7. Dried ginger – 1 No. (Β½”)
  8. Cardamom – 1 No.

*Cottonseed milk is not so sweet as coconut milk, but it is mildly bitter like soy milk. So we may have to add the sweetener generously to mask its earthen flavor.

IMG_0017-horz-1 Paruthi Paal

Mise en place:

  • Crush the cardamom seeds & dried ginger using mortar & pestle and leave the spice powder aside.
IMG_0039-horz-1 Paruthi Paal
Ginger cardamom powder
  • Heat a small pan with ghee in medium flame.
  • Fry the chopped coconut pieces in ghee and remove from pan.
IMG_0038-horz-1 Paruthi Paal
Ghee roasted cococunt chunks
  • 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.
IMG_0032-horz Paruthi Paal
Palm jaggery syrup using thin cottonseed milk

How to prepare paruthi paal:

  • 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 a potato masher.
  • Stir in jaggery syrup and cook for a couple of minutes in low flame.
  • Sprinkle the spice powder into the payasam and mix well.
  • Stir in thick cottonseed milk (200 ml) until incorporated.
  • Add fried coconut pieces into the pan and mix well.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Serve paruthi paal warm or chilled.
csmp Paruthi Paal
Paruthi paal recipe

98 comments on “Paruthi PaalAdd yours →

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  1. A new thing for me as well. I wonder where I could get cottonseed here in Quebec… Will have to investigate. πŸ˜‰

  2. We tried paruthi paal aka cottonseed milk for the first-ever time on our trip to Madurai last year, and all of us absolutely loved it. I bought back home a packet of ready-to-use cottonseed milk – I wonder if I could use that to make this recipe. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, you can very well use this for making paruthi paal. And I still remember your posts on Madurai. πŸ™‚ Thanks much.

  3. Wow, I learned a lot about cottonseed milk from this post. I have never made it before. I am sure it is delicious! Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, I do get these whenever I visit my home town. πŸ™‚ Thank you!

  4. Fantastic post and glad to know a bit more about you. This recipe is a treasure, totally loved it with that gorgeous colour.

  5. This one is unique, Megala and very new to me. Firstly I was not even aware that cottonseed was edible and then to extract the milk and make a desert out of it is simply amazing. I am not sure I have seen anything of that sort here, need to find out though. Thank you for sharing, Megala. It is so good to know.

    1. I do take pleasure in introducing something unique and unusual. Thanks so much for all your support and encouragement.

    1. Yes, I did feel the same when I heard for the first time. Thanks so much.

  6. Very interesting recipe and I have not heard this before. I never thought cotton seed (milk) can be used to make this delicious payasam

  7. I read about this traditional and authentic milk of Tamilnadu, but never get a chance to taste it☺ I bet it must be delicious ?

  8. I’ve not heard of this before your marvelous post, Megala, I’ll have to investigate where I can buy the cotton seed. I have tried many ‘milks’, but haven’t found one that really suits my needs… You are such a wonder-woman! πŸ™‚

    1. Just now another blogger commented that cottonseed milk is available in powder form also. Hope you could find a source nearby. Thank you so much for your kind appreciation, and I’m delighted to hear these from such an amazing lady ! πŸ™‚

  9. wow!! I saw cotton seed milk powder being used by my aunty in Perth as substitute for Milk when visiting last year. Did not realise we used this in India as well. Thanks for Sharing.

    1. Yes, it is a traditional dessert popular in a particular region only. Thanks so much.

  10. Such a unique and interesting recipe. Thanks for introducing us to such new recipes which many of us, I am sure haven’t heard of Megala ?

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