Recipe: Ada Pradhaman Payasam | Kerala’s Sadya Kheer

God's own country made this delectable jaggery payasam.

Ada pradhaman placed in a copper bowl, which is placed on a wooden tray.
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Ada Pradhaman recipe is a rich, coconut milk, jaggery & rice ada dessert. It’s bound to make your heart sing with delight. The dark jaggery gives it a beautiful caramel flavor. Ada pradhaman is an integral part of Onam, vishu and weddings. But hey, you can make it any day of the week! Cravings have never felt so easy to quell.

Ada pradhaman placed in two copper bowls. They are placed on a wooden tray, with a plate of flowers next to it.
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Kheer or payasam is a colloquial term often used for any milk-based pudding. Pradhaman (in Kerala) refers to a coconut milk based pudding. 

Purists swear by the homemade ada. However, for us normal mortals, we are happy with readymade ada 🙂

Ada pradhaman placed in two copper bowls. They are placed on a wooden tray, with a plate of flowers next to it.
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Ada Pradhanam

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Eat - Desserts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
2 hours 20 minutes
Yield: 4


For ada pradhaman

  • 100 grms Rice Ada , Pasta Bits (readymade)
  • 4 ½ cups Water
  • 1 cup Coconut milk (thick, 1st extract)
  • 1 ½ cup Coconut milk (thin, 2nd extract)
  • 2 cups Coconut Milk (thin, 3rd extract)
  • 200 grms Jaggery (grated)
  • Salt (a pinch)

For garnish

  • 2 tbsp Clarified Butter / Ghee (at room temperature)
  • 10-12 nos. Cashewnuts (roughly chopped)
  • 10 nos. Fresh Coconut (thinly sliced)
  • ½ tsp Green Cardamom Powder
  • ½ tsp Dried Ginger Powder


  • Cooking pot
  • Saucepan


Cooking the ada

  • Boil water in a large thick-bottomed cooking pot over medium heat.
  • Add the ready-made rice ada into the boiling water and let it cook for 5 minutes over a medium flame
  • Keep stirring occasionally to prevent the ada from sticking to the vessel
  • Remove from heat and strain the ada using a metal colander. Keep aside and let it cool

Roasting of nuts and coconut

  • Heat a separate pan, add 1 tbsp of ghee and add cashews from the garnish list and roast it till it turns golden brown. Once done, transfer to a small bowl and let it cool
  • Repeat the process by heating another tbsp of ghee and add thinly sliced coconut to it this time, roast them till it is light brown. Transfer to a bowl and keep aside

Making the payasam

  • Heat a large saucepan, melt jaggery by pouring ½ cup of water and jaggery, heat it for few minutes on a medium flame
  • Strain the melted jaggery over a muslin cloth or a strainer to get rid of the syrup from any impurities
  • Once done, pour it back into the saucepan. Add in the cooked rice ada and mix completely over a medium flame
  • Keep stirring while the sweet ada gets cooked and starts to separate from the sides
  • Add the remaining ghee to this and continue to stir. Pour the 3rd extract of coconut milk and add a pinch of salt
  • Allow the milk to thicken and reduce in quantity, once it does add the 2nd extract of coconut milk
  • Continue to heat it as the second addition also reduces. Add the 1st extract of coconut milk and pinch of salt and stir but don’t let it boil
  • Turn off the flame after roughly 5 minutes
  • Add the roasted coconut and cashew nuts, cardamom powder and ginger powder as garnish
  • Close the pan with a lid for 5 minutes and serve hot!
  • One of the classic Onam sadya recipes. Never complete without it

  • This ada payasam is a perfect dessert recipe  for south Indian meals

  • Well, this payasam is so yummy, you don’t need a reason 😉

  • Make it vegan: Just omit the ghee in it

  • Add a touch of edible camphor if available

  • Add sago (tapioca pearls) along with rice ada. All you need to do is to soak the sago for 2-3 hours and then boil it with jaggery and coconut milk 

  • Make similar versions of this payasam using yellow moong dal (parippu payasam) and green moong dal (payar payasam)

  • ‘Ada’ are the flat rice bits which are used in Kerala –  used in the payasam or kheer

  • They are usually made with rice flour (gluten free)

  • The rice ada can be made at home as well

  • Forms of rice ada:  Ribbons (Long strands) OR Ada rice pieces/pasta bits,

  • Some brands of Rice ada –  Double Horse brand, Nirapara (available on Amazon or at your local supermarket )

  • Finely grate a fresh coconut using a coconut grater

  • If you do not have a grater, remove the coconut out of the shell and cut into small pieces

  • Finely grind using a high-speed blender, add (1/2-1) cup water (preferably lukewarm)

  • Types of coconut milk

    • Ondram Paal (1st extract) -Thick coconut milk. Finely ground. Strain it over a sieve

    • Rendam Paal (2nd extract) – medium strength coconut milk. Add pressed coconut back into the mixer. Add 1 cup water. Repeat process in an another bowl

    • Mundram Paal (3rd extract) – Thin coconut milk. Repeat process. Set aside in the third bowl

  • 2nd / 3rd coconut milk extracts can be boiled or simmered

  • 1st extract should not be boiled or simmered or it will start to curdle

  • The type of jaggery definitely determines the color of the payasam

  • Traditionally the ada pradhaman is made using darker jaggery known as the Karupatti Vellam. which gives the dark brown colour

  • However, feel free to use the jaggery available near you

  • The smaller ada bits cook quickly. Don’t overcook it. Follow package instructions

  • Payasam tastes best with homemade coconut milk

  • If not, use store-bought coconut milk, coconut milk powder, coconut cream. adjust thickness with water

  • Payasam consistency should be semi-thick as it thickens with time

  • You can add little milk later to alter the payasam consistency while serving

  • To adjust sweetness levels, add coconut milk or jaggery according to which way you want to go

  • Traditionally made in a uruli (A wide vessel comes in aluminium or brass)

  • Add toasted coconut pieces,  cashew nuts , raisins

  • True Keralite swears by pairing Ada Pradhaman with crispy papad and sweet plantains (Nenthrapazham)

  • Traditionally they also sprinkle a few petals of Kanikonna (Yellow Flower) on top of the payasam before serving

  • Serve it on a banana leaf for an Onam Sadhya 

  • Can be served hot or chilled

  • Best consumed fresh on the same day

  • Refrigerate in an airtight container for 2-3 days

  • If the ada pradhaman is quite thick, add some coconut milk and reheat it again

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