Pal Payasam (Kheer)

Pal payasam (or kheer, payesh) is made for neivedyam (offering to god) on special occasions. The best taste for pal payasam is when the raw rice is cooked in milk on slow heat in a heavy bottomed vessel (like one called an uruli in Kerala). However, that one is time-consuming, so we generally opt for a quicker version.

Here’s my version that takes the help of the pressure cooker 🙂




Rice: ½ cup (Any variety can be used – I used the sona masuri rice)

Sugar: 5-6 tablespoons (or you can vary the amount to your taste)

Milk: 3 cups (Tastes best with whole milk – But I used 2% – tastes good as well)

Cashewnuts: 1 teaspoon chopped into small pieces

Pistachios: 1 teaspoon chopped into small pieces

Raisin (kismis): 1 teaspoon

Cardamom (elaichi) powder: ½ teaspoon

Ghee: 1 teaspoon


*I use water in addition to milk so that the milk and the payasam do not stick to the vessel while cooking.

* You can vary the amount and type of nuts or dry fruits used to your taste.



  1. In a vessel that can be used in the pressure cooker, wash the rice well 2-3 times to remove any white powdery residue. Add 2 cups of milk and a cup of water to the rice. Place in a pressure cooker and cook for about 5-6 whistles (or a whistle or two more than that for regular rice). Turn off the heat. Wait for the steam to be released from the cooker.
  2. Heat the ghee in a thick-bottomed pan/pot. Reduce the heat to low.
  3. Add the chopped cashews, pistachios, and raisins. Roast till the cashews and pistas turn light brown and the raisins swell.
  4. Add the remaining milk to the pan and stir well. Increase the heat to high so that the milk reaches a boil. Keep stirring.
  5. When boiled well, add the cooked rice and reduce the heat to low. If the rice is almost dry, you might also need to add half a cup of water to empty the rice to the pan.
  6. Cook till the payasam is to your desired consistency – this is as per your convenience as some people like their payasam in pouring consistency (so that we can drink it from a cup), while others like it thick in dropping consistency like honey (to be eaten with a spoon). Stir constantly to ensure that the mixture doesn’t stick to the vessel and does not boil over. Don’t cover the vessel as this could make the mixture boil over!
  7. Gradually add the sugar and cardamom powder, then mix well to dissolve. You may even mix in a teaspoon of evaporated/condensed milk to give the slow-cooked and reduced taste and color.
  8. Cook for about a minute more to blend the flavors. Keep in mind that the payasam further thickens as it cools, and we don’t want a solid lump.
  9. Turn off the heat and serve. You can enjoy this payasam hot or cold.

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