These payasam recipes are for my mom to give her an idea about sugar-free Indian desserts. Whenever my mom prepares any traditional sweets on festivals, my dad will sometimes miss out on all the sweets, especially during festivals like Diwali. Since Tamil New Year is around the corner, I am hoping that my mom would prepare these for my dad for the New Year. I am reposting the moong dhal payasam recipe also in the same post. The two kheer/payasam recipes posted here are sugar-free. I have used agave nectar instead of jaggery here. When going for sugar-free substitutes, I go for ones with natural ingredients like agave nectar or Truvia in the raw, since natural ingredients are devoid of any side effects and ideal for long term use.
I would also like to say a few of my random thoughts which I have observed from some of my friends and family members. Generally when a person is diagnosed with diabetes, they start cutting out on sugars, which is really good for blood sugar control. Sometimes people go to the extremes saying that “I am getting used to not having any sweet at all, even fruits and these days I am even used to the taste of drinking my tea without sugar”. These words were said by a close family member of mine and I felt that I should definitely say something about this in my blog. From my own experience, this type of extreme diets will result only in cravings for sugary foods and will result in overeating the same. I feel that there is no necessity to go to these extremes and cutting down on everything. These days, sugar-free and fat-free alternatives are available everywhere ranging from ice cream, jam, fruit juices, cereals to even mouthwash. We have to read the labels and choose the right ones with natural ingredients. These sugar-free substitutes have a carbohydrate value of 1 g or lesser than that, hence they are no-carb or low-carb. There are even products, which are sweetened with fruit or fruit juices, so if anyone is a little skeptical about using artificial ones, they can always go for these kind of products, all we need to do is check the ingredients in the labels. Please beware that sometimes sugar-free products are also sweetened with sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols can lead to stomach upsets and gastric issues, so that if there sugar alcohol is one of the ingredients in a jam or ice cream, just go for a different one.
Coming on to the recipes, I am sending these two kheers to Kheer Festival conducted by Shama.
I modified the rice payasam a little bit by using brown rice instead of regular rice.
1. Brown rice,1/4 cup.
2. Milk, ½ cup.
3. Fat-free half and half, 2 tablespoons, (optional).
4. Grated or dry coconut, 1 tablespoon.
5. Jaggery or agave nectar or any sweetener of choice, ¼ cup or more.
6. Cardamom, 2.
7. Raisins and nuts like cashews, almonds, and pistachios, ¼ cup. They can be chopped or left whole.
8. Ghee or unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon. (I used a low-fat version).
Crush the cardamom coarsely. Cook the rice separately and let it cool. Once the rice is cooled, pulse it coarsely using a blender or food processor. Heat a pot with the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the raisins and chopped nuts and fry for a few seconds and until the raisins are plumped up and the nuts turn golden brown. Add the milk, half and half, crushed cardamom, coconut along with 2 cups of water and the rice and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Once the mixture starts to thicken add the sweetener and let the kheer simmer for a few more minutes until the desired consistency is reached. Serve hot or chilled.
MOONG DHAL PAYASAM
1. Split moong dhal, 1 cup.
2. Agave nectar/brown sugar/any sugar substitute, 1 cup.
3. Cardamom pods, 2.
4. Ghee/butter 1 tablespoon (I have used Promise Activ Butter here).
5. Dry fruits, raisins, and mixed nuts like cashews, pistachio etc chopped, around ½ cup.
6. Milk, 1 cup.
Crush the cardamom pods coarsely. Wash the dhal well and transfer it to a microwave-safe dish. Add enough water to cover the dhal, add the cardamom powder, and microwave it on high for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are cooked and soft. Meanwhile, heat a small pan with the butter or ghee and fry the dry fruits and nuts until good aroma comes from the mixture. Pour this over the cooked dhal, add the sugar or sweetener and milk, mix everything well and microwave for 5 more minutes. Some water can be added for the desired consistency, add extra ghee if needed and enjoy hot or cold.
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