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Pradhaman Payasam

Pradhaman (Easy Payasam for a feast)

Pradhaman is a popular payasam (kheer/pudding) served as a dessert in traditional Kerala feasts.

If you have lived in the South Indian state of Kerala, or if you know a Malayali (a Kerala native), you’ll know that the biggest festival in this part of the world is Onam. Though this harvest festival has its origins from the Hindu mythology, Onam has become a part of Malayalis‘ cultural identity and is celebrated by all Malayalis irrespective of their religion, caste or creed, or where they currently live!

According to the legends, Onam celebrates the annual visit of Kerala’s benevolent asura king Mahabali who was banished to the underworld, or patala, by Vamana. Mahabali is welcomed with celebrations spread over a period of ten days culminating on the last day “Thiruvonam“.

There’ll be a variety of activities happening over this festive period which includes boat races, floral arrangements (pookkalam), and many dances and martial art forms. One of the biggest attractions of Onam is the festive feast called Sadya. It’s a traditional vegetarian fare served on plantain leaves with a great variety of savoury dishes and desserts.

I have shared some of the popular Onam Sadya classics on this blog before (Avial, Theeyal, ErisseryThoran). Those were all savoury dishes, and this time we are moving over to a dessert to conclude your sadya on a sweet note!

This pradhaman is a variety of payasam (pudding) made with rice, jaggery, coconut milk and a touch of ghee (clarified butter). It’s topped off with some fried cashew nuts, raisins and coconut chips, and finished off with a dusting of cardamom powder.

Pradhaman – The lip-smacking payasam for a sweet ending

I have used Sprig’s whole green cardamom from Idukki in this preparation. They are fresh, aromatic, and loaded with bold flavour notes.

Whole Green Cardamom from Sprig
Whole Green Cardamom from Sprig

About this recipe

We’ll start by pressure cooking some rice. Melted jaggery is added to the cooked rice along with some ghee and slow-cooked to a sticky consistency. Thin coconut milk is added and simmered till it reduces. And finally, thick coconut milk is added, cooked for a couple of minutes before finishing off with the fried cashews, raisins, coconut chips, and cardamom powder.

Pradhaman – Rice pudding cooked with jaggery, coconut milk, cashews, raisins and cardamom

Thank you Team Sprig for sponsoring this post.

Pradhaman served with a garnish of fried coconut chips, cashews, raisins, and cardamom
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Pradhaman (Easy Payasam for a feast)

Pradhaman is a popular payasam (pudding) served as a dessert in traditional Kerala feasts. This delicious treat is made with rice, jaggery and coconut milk.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Kerala
Servings: 6 servings


  • 1 cup rice I have used red rice
  • 2 cups jaggery
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cup thin coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons Cashew nuts
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons coconut chips
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4-5 cardamom


  • Wash the rice and soak it in water for 10 minutes. Pressure cook the rice with a little more than double amount water.
  • You should slightly overcook it. When you press a rice bead between your thumb and index finger it should easily get smashed.
  • Add jaggery* to a sauce pan. Melt it to a thick sauce by stirring with a little water on a low flame. There shouldn't be any lumps in it.
    Jaggery is melted with some water
  • Bring to boil and switch off.
    Jaggery sauce brought to boil without any lumps
  • You could strain it through a sieve to get rid of any stones in the jaggery.
  • Transfer the cooked rice and jaggery sauce to a pan. Add a tablespoon or two of ghee** and mix well.
    Cooked rice, jaggery and ghee mixed together and simmered
  • Reduce on a medium flame while stirring frequently. Cook until most of the water content is reduced and the rice gets sticky and coming off from sides of the pan.
    Reduce till all the water content vanish
  • Now add the thin coconut milk*** (2nd extract), mix well, and reduce on a medium flame.
    Thin coconut milk added to the mix
  • If you want your pradhaman to be really thick, reduce till it's almost dry.
  • In the meantime heat some ghee in a pan and fry the coconut chips.
  • When they start turning brown add the cashews and raisins. Fry for one more minute to golden brown, switch off and keep it aside.
    Cashews, raisins and coconut chips fried till golden brown
  • It's difficult to grind cardamom in small quantities. Grind cardamom with some sugar in a mixer.
    Cardamom is powdered with sugar
  • You wouldn't need all this cardamom**** for our pradhaman.
    Powdered cardamom is ready
  • By now the pradhaman in the pan would have reduced to your required consistency. Now add the thick coconut milk (1st extract), stir well, and cook for a couple more minutes.
  • You don't have to bring this to boil. Switch off, garnish with the fried coconut chips, cashew, raisins, and a dusting of the cardamom-sugar powder.
    Add thick coconut milk to complete the cooking
  • Serve hot. Ideally, pradhaman should be served on the same banana leaf towards the end of the Onam sadya. Alternatively, you could serve it in mugs/glasses as well.


This post has sponsored links.
* As a rule of thumb, use double the amount of jaggery (compared to the amount of rice). You could add more if you want to make your pradhaman sweeter
** If you are not a big fan of ghee, keep it to a minimum (1 tablespoon in this recipe)
*** If you are using shop-bought coconut milk, mix 1/2 cup coconut milk with 1 cup water for the thin coconut milk. Mix 1/2 cup coconut milk with 1/2 water for the thick coconut milk
**** You can store the remaining cardamom-sugar mix in a closed container and it'll stay fresh for a long time.


  1. 5 stars
    Very authentic !

  2. 5 stars
    I am a Malayali who has lived out of Kerala for a very long time. But, by heart, I am still very much a Keralite and I am proud to be one. I always wanted to make payasam out of jaggery and was looking for a simple easy to follow recipe.
    This page has simple steps to follow and one cannot go wrong making it. My payasam which I am offering to my mother today is turning out good. I hope she loves it.


  3. 5 stars
    Loved the recipe. We had our wedding anniversary fall during this lockdown and I was able to make this with all the ingredients available at home, except for the red rice. I’m sure it will taste great with that, can’t wait to try it! Also a big fan of your Khow suey recipe, it makes it to our breakfast table once a week. Thank you

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi Anupama,
      Thank you very much! 🙂 🙂 Did you make the payasam with the regular white rice then? I am sure that would have tasted great too.

      Khow suey is one of our in house favourites too. It is a great melange of flavours and ingredients but never losing its simplicity.
      Thank you for your generous feedback! 🙂

  4. Meera Seshadri

    5 stars
    I just made a vegan version of this using vegetable ghee. It was yummy!!!

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi Meera,

      Thank you 🙂 Happy to hear that you loved the payasam 🙂
      I have never cooked with vegan ghee. Could you please tell which one you used?

  5. Looks so good !
    Exactly what i was looking for.
    Thank you !

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Thank you very much, Shalini. 🙂
      I am sure you will like the pradhaman. Let me know how it goes.
      One quick tip: Always serve it warm/hot so that the ghee doesn’t settle.

  6. Hi there! Can I use Kerala navara rice to make this payasam? What else can I use in place of red rice?

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      I have never made payasam with Navara rice, but I think it’ll work. It’ll probably add a nice colour too. If you are looking for red rice substitutes, then the various varieties of Kerala raw rice will also fit the bill.

  7. Love this all time..looks delicious..

  8. A brief but beautifully written post on Onam and the story behind this festival. The payasam looks delicious.

  9. The pradhamam looks delicious! Bookmarking this, I plan to make it at the earliest.

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Thank you Sujata! Please share your feedback after you have tried it. I am sure you’ll like it. 🙂

  10. This is a sheer beauty & well described. Any Keralite wouldnt be able to take their eyes off this post !! Cheers mate!

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Thank you very much Vidya!! Absolutely!! Back home, this is a special made only for Onam and Vishu lunches! We always ask mom to make this for sadya! 🙂

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