Parippu payasam / Moong dal payasam – Enjoy a healthy dessert experience with this sweet pudding featuring nutritious green gram, jaggery and the goodness of coconut milk. The classic pairing of jaggery and lentils makes this a “special occasion” dessert, and most of all, totally addictive.
There are so many reasons to add lentils to your diet. Packed with nutrition, versatile, and low in calories. What’s not to love? I know, lentils are very popular in savory dishes. But, I love the fact that they make brilliant desserts, too. Without a doubt, they are the true champions of the culinary world.
Today’s recipe is, in fact, a ‘back to childhood’ recipe. This green gram (moong dal) pudding (kheer) or parippu payasam is a quintessential part of the elaborate feast enjoyed during the festival of Onam. If you’re not familiar with Onam, it’s the harvest festival of Kerala (one of the southern states of India). Want to know more about this festival? Check it out here.
As I mentioned, the main feature of Onam is an elaborate vegetarian feast complete with 25-30 dishes and 4-5 desserts. Growing up, I wasn’t a huge fan of the first vegetarian course of the feast. But I always looked forward to the dessert menu.
This payasam is made with simple ingredients that you use in everyday Indian cooking. Green gram, jaggery, coconut milk, and a few spices.
The main element of this parippu payasam (moong dal kheer) is split green gram. You know, the ones that don’t have the green skin and are yellow in color. And the best place to find them is your local Indian grocery store.
Start the recipe with sautéing green gram in plenty of ghee. You know, ghee is loaded with nutrition, and it’s super good for you when used in moderation. Moong dal is ready when it gets a slight color change, and make sure you don’t burn it by sautéing for a long time.
Then just add plenty of water to cook the dal until they’re mushy. This will take around 15-20 minutes. If you want to speed up the cooking process, transfer dal to a pressure cooker, and cook for one whistle. This is such a delicious option when you’re time poor. Once cooked, mash moong dal really well.
Now it’s time for grated jaggery. I added grated jaggery straight to the parippu payasam. However, if the jaggery contains impurities, you might want to melt it, strain, and then add to the pudding. I also have a detailed post about “how to melt jaggery”. Please check it out here.
Next up, coconut milk. Here you have two options. You can either extract milk from fresh grated coconut, or use store bought coconut milk just like I did. If you want to go with the first option, go through the detailed instructions in the “notes” section of this parippu payasam recipe.
The second option is my go-to version for making this payasam. Again, we’ll need two extracts of coconut milk- first thick coconut milk and second thin coconut milk. And here’s my super simple way to get two kinds of coconut milk. Use coconut cream for the first thick extract, and coconut milk for the second thin extract. Brilliant!
So, you’ll add the coconut milk (second extract) first, and cook for few minutes. Then add the coconut cream (first thick milk), and the spices – ground dry ginger, ground cumin and ground cardamom. Do not boil the payasam after adding the coconut cream. Cook over a low flame. When done, remove from heat, and stir in fried raisins, cashew nuts and coconut slices.
So, get ready to be amazed by the intricate sweet flavors in this classic parippu payasam, and add more sweetness to your Onam celebrations.
Wishing you all a happy and prosperous Onam!
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1 cup split moong dal (split green gram or cherupayar parippu)
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup grated jaggery
- 1 cup thin coconut milk, second extract
- 1 cup thick coconut milk, first extract (or coconut cream)
- ¼ tsp ground dry ginger (dry ginger powder)
- ¼ tsp ground cumin (cumin powder)
- ½ tsp ground cardamom (cardamom powder)
- 2 tbsp raisins, fried in ghee
- 2 tbsp cashew nuts, fried in ghee
- 2 tbsp coconut slices, fried in ghee
- Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add green gram, and sauté for 5-6 minutes or until the lentils start to change color. Add water. Cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the green gram turn mushy. Alternatively, transfer green gram to the pressure cooker after adding water. Cook for 1 whistle.
- Once green gram is cooked, mash well using a fork or potato masher. Add grated jaggery. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until jaggery is melted. Pour thin coconut milk (second extract). Stir. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low. Stir in thick coconut milk (first extract). Add ginger powder, ground cumin and ground cardamom. Stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture is thickened. Do not let the payasam boil. Remove from heat.
- Stir in or garnish with fried raisins, cashew nuts and coconut slices. Enjoy warm or chilled.
- The color of this parippu payasam depends on the color of the jaggery. For instance, dark colored jaggery gives your payasam a deep dark brown color.
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