Sharkara payasam with brown rice and bananas

Sharkara payasam with brown rice and banana

Being brought up as a Malayali girl, me and my family used to visit Aiyappa's temple on special auspicious occasions. In any Kerala temple, one item which you will always find was sharkara payasam also called Ambalam payasam along with other prasads (religious offerings). Sharkara payasam is a very sweet rice pudding normally made with red rice, jaggery, coconut, ghee, cardamom and ginger powder. 
I have put my own spin on the recipe making it more healthy by adding few more ingredients. Red rice is not easily available ouside Kerala, so I have used brown rice. I have added ripe bananas and chia seeds in the pudding. By adding ripe bananas, I am not only adding a great flavor but also it decreases the use of sugar or jaggery. Normally in sharkara payasam we add lots of ghee but I have added just about a Tbsp of ghee. The reason I have added ghee at last is because it add lots of flavor without being used too much. 
This recipe came to me when I saw i have too many ripe bananas which nobody wants to eat. Though the first thing which comes to anybody is baking banana bread but this time i thought why not add it into payasam. And my husband was happy i tried this recipe.
I think in every house we always have ripe bananas either laying around in fruit basket or frozen sometimes, so this time instead of making usual banana bread or muffins, try this payasam and let me know what you think.

Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients of sharkara payasam:-

  • 3/4 cup of brown rice, raw
  • 4 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 8 oz of jaggery (unrefined cane sugar)
  • 12-15 cashews, cut into pieces
  • 2 Tbsp of chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of coconut pieces
  • 1/2 tsp of cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp of ginger powder
  • 1 Tbsp of ghee (clarified butter)

Method of sharkara payasam:-

  1. Boil 4 cups of water. When the water becomes hot, add rice and let it cook uncovered for 30-40 minutes.
  2. When the rice is cooked, drain the water. 
  3. In a another pan, melt jaggery in 1 cup of water. When the jaggery melts, strain the water to remove impurities.
  4. Pour the jaggery water over the cooked rice and cook further for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the mashed bananas and mix well and cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. Add cashews, chia seeds, coconut and mix well. Cook until the payasam becomes thick. Add ghee and mix well.
  7. Switch off the heat and mix well cardamom and ginger powder. 
  8. Let it cool down a bit and sharkara payasam with brown rice and bananas is ready. 

Serve payasam warm or cold. Most people like it warm but I like it cold.

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