Monday, November 5, 2012

Appi Payasa | Fried cream of wheat kheer

I have some distinct memories associated with some dishes. From the time I can remember, I always fascinated cooking but never took the initiation to cook, until I had no other choice! During my teenage days, whenever I got a chance to attend the weddings, upanayanam or any family functions, I used to venture into the kitchen. I used to talk to the cook & get to know the recipe of a dish with a fancy name!! I have been doing this till date. The only difference is, now I try to write down the recipe.

Appi payasa/payasam is one such dish learnt during a conversation with one of the cooks. Here is how "appi payasa" is made. A tight dough is made with cream of wheat. They are rolled & deep fried in ghee like pooris(Deep fried Indian bread). These pooris are crushed & added to the milk.

Though I don't have a sweet tooth, this is one of the kheer/payasam to which I can never say "no". Absolute delish!! It is also known as happala karda payasa (Thanks to blogger world!).

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)
For the happala/flat poori:

  • Cream of wheat/Chiroti Rava/Fine rava: 1 cup
  • Cold water: Less than 1/4th cup
  • Ghee/Clarified butter: 2 tsp
  • Salt: a small pinch
  • Ghee/Oil: As needed, for deep frying the pooris

For the payasa/kheer:

  • Full cream milk: 1.5 litres
  • Sugar: Around 3/4th cup, adjust according to your family needs
  • Chopped dry fruits: 2 tbsp (I used almonds, cashews & pistachios)
  • Saffron: a big pinch

Mix the cream of wheat, salt & ghee together.
Slowly add the cold water & make a stiff dough. Cover the dough & let it rest for at least a couple of hours. More the better...
Once the dough is well rested, divide the dough into big grape sized balls. I got 7 dough balls.
Dust a very little flour & roll it thin using a rolling pin. (just like a poori). 
Heat the ghee/oil on a medium heat. When ghee is hot, deep fry the pooris on both the sides until golden brown. Remove it on a paper towel to remove the excess ghee from the fried pooris. Repeat with the remaining pooris. Let it cool.

Meantime, boil the milk on a med-high heat. Keep stirring in between. When the milk starts boiling, reduce the heat.
Add sugar & allow the sugar to dissolve. 
When the sugar is dissolved, crush the saffron in between your palm & add it to the milk. 
Crush or roughly tear the cooled pooris & slide them onto the boiling milk. Add the chopped nuts.

Turn off the heat & let the payasam cool completely.
Once cool, mash the crushed pooris gently. 

You could serve this payasam, warm or cold. 
I generally warm it again & serve as my family prefers it that way!


  • It is very important to make a stiff dough to ensure crunchy pooris. Soft dough will absorb more ghee & become soggy.
  • The more you rest the dough, the more elastic it becomes. It will be easier to handle a well rested dough. (You can see little cracks on the edges of my poori. That is because I did not rest the dough! Do not do that)
  • Roll the pooris very thin. Thin pooris wont puff up & become soft. They will become crunchy!
  • If your poori is still puffing up, gently prick it in 4-5 places with a tooth pick before frying them.
  • This is unlike other kheer that demands milk quantity to be reduced by boiling. The crushed pooris will absorb the milk & the kheer/payasam thickens gradually.