Pasi Paruppu Payasam / Moong dal Payasam Recipe

Pasi Paruppu Payasam / Moong dal Payasam Recipe

Payasam is a part of Onam Sadya which is a traditional Prasad thali in Southern India.

The best and most popular Payasam dishes are found in the temples of Guruvayoor and Ambalappuzha. In the Ambalappuzha temple, Payasam is served as part of a tradition, based on an ancient legend. The legend states that Lord Krishna (the eight avatar of Vishnu, playing a major role in the Hindu religion) took the form of an old sage and challenged the great king who ruled over that region to a game of chess.Being a true chess player and a master of the mind game’s tricks, the king gladly accepted the sage’s invitation. Asking what the sage wanted in case he wins the game, the king remained bedazzled by the sage’s request: an amount of rice grains for each square of the chess board, each pile having double the number of grains than the previous pile. So the first square would have only one grain of rice, the second would have 2 grains, the third would have 4 grains, the fourth would have 8 rice grains and so on, each pile growing at a geometrical progression from the past pile of rice grains. Hearing this request, the king was shocked that the sage wanted only what he taught were a few piles of grain, when he could have betted for his whole kingdom or the immense riches that he held.

Naturally the king lost, (because playing chess against a God is not that easy, mind you) so he started placing grain piles on each square, starting with only one grain. He soon realized that the sage’s demand was not entirely what he thought of, when the number reached one million grains of rice by the 20th square. By the 40th or so square, the entire kingdom’s rice reserve was depleted and when he got to the last square he calculated that he would have to pay the sage 18,447,744 trillions of tons of rice, which he could have never paid off. The sage then revealed his true form, that of Lord Krishna, and said that the debt does not have to be paid immediately, but the king will have to serve Payasam freely in the temple of Ambalappuzha, to pilgrims, homeless or whoever comes there for peace of mind and prayer or for those seeking shelter. This is how the Payasam became famous, integrating in the Hindu culture. The tradition of freely serving Payasam in Ambalappuzha still lives today and pilgrims all over India have an easier ride knowing that a hot bowl of the sweet dessert awaits them at the end of their journey.

There are various kinds of payasams.We made the moong dal payasam which is also known as Pasi Paruppu Payasam for my friend Divya’s babyshower. It was a hit:)

Pasi Paruppu Payasam / Moong dal Payasam Recipe


3 cups split yellow moong dal
5 cups jiggery
5 cups coconut milk
2 tbsp cardamom and ginger powder
5 tbsp ghee
1 cup cashewnuts and raisins

Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pan. Add moong dal and roast till it changes color to light brown.

Add water and cook the dal in pressure cooker.Now take another pan. Add jaggery and water. Let it boil.

Transfer the cooked dal to heavy bottomed pan and smash it properly

It should become like paste.

Now add half of the coconut milk in it.

Mix it properly.

Add the jaggery syrup in the moong dal and coconut milk mixture.

Mix everything well.

Now transfer this mixture to gas.

Add some ghee. Let it boil.

Keep on stirring frequently.

Now add the remaining coconut milk and continue boiling the mixture.

Take another vessel. Heat ghee in it.

Add cashwenuts and raisins.

Fry till they become light brown in colour.

Pour them in the moong dal mixture.

Sprinkle the cardamom and ginger  powder and mix everthing well.

Simmer the payasam on medium-low heat about 20 to 30 minutes, until it reaches thick, creamy consistency.

Serve warm or cold.