Today is celebrated as Onam in Kerala, Varamahalakshmi Pooja in Karnataka and for select communities its also the 'thread changing day' or 'suthaam punnav' or avani avittam. Whatever way you celebrate its the foods that show the festive spirit. And obviously the sweet desserts which come at the end of the meal but linger on till next year.
I tried a simple fruit payasam or kheer with healthy broken wheat, split yellow lentils and pineapple. The recipe from a magazine is pretty much traditional except I replaced the rice in the traditional avatar with healthy and easy cooking ingredients.
Broken Wheat /Dalia : 1 cup
Split Yellow Lentils: 1/4 cup
Pineapple chopped/grated: 1-2 cups or more as per your preference
Jaggery Syrup : 2.5-3 cups
Thin coconut milk/ Third extract: 6-8 cups
Medium thin coconut milk/ Second extract: 2-3 cups
Thick coconut milk/ First extract: 1 cup
Powdered Ginger /Sonth : 1/2 tsp
Powdered Jeera/ Cumin : 1/4-1/2 tsp
On medium heat bring to boil the thin coconut milk/ third extract and add in hte broken wheat and lentils. Let these cook on low -med heat until almost done.
Add in the chopped/grated pineapple and continue cooking till most of the liquid is absorbed.
Add in the second extract/medium thick coconut milk and jaggery syrup and continue cooking stirring periodically so that this doesn't get burnt.
Once the mixture thickens a bit or reaches your choice or the right payasam consistency, stir in the thick coconut milk and powdered spices. Stir well and take it off heat. It will thicken upon sitting.
Serve warm or at room temperature in bowls garnished with more pineapple.
You can use or add other fruits incase you are not a fan of pineapple, but its good for me. You can cook with rice or oats or mix of lentils and grains if you wish to experiment.You can even add cashew nuts or raisins along with pineapple. I kept it simple .. just the pineapple.
I am a pineapple fan and for your kind info , if you happen to visit Kerala in hotter months(!?) make sure you visit the area called ' Muvattupuzha'- its the heart of pineapple cultivation. Though it is available all year round, pineapple flourishes in hot season. By May you can feel the pineapple in the air as they perfume the air when they ripen. Imagine loads of pineapples... Its a feeling I have enjoyed.Hope you do too. You can even see several truck loads of pineapple being transported to markets etc...
Meanwhile enjoy the payasam... healthy delicious and obviously festive..