Recipe: Palada payasam | Kerala’s classic rice kheer

Another sweet favourite from the land of coconut milk!

Palada served in a copper bowl, placed on a copper plate with flowers.
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Palada Payasam is a fixture during Kerala’s Onam festivals, along with the other classic Ada Pradhaman. Palada Payasam is lighter than the latter, thanks to the use of granulated sugar. This is probably one of the few differentiators between the two, but it’s a big one. Palada veers more into Kheer territory, but with a South Indian twist thanks to the Rice Ada. 


Rice ada is essentially rice flour mixed with ghee and sugar. If you’re buying the packaged variety, which is easily available in leading supermarkets, they might have added ingredients. It’s naturally gluten free and feels more like a pasta. It’s absolutely delicious, and in dishes like this Palada or Ada Pradhaman, it adds a lovely chew to every bite. Have we convinced you of Palada’s hoogah-ness yet? Then make some!

Palada Payasam

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Eat - Desserts
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
2 hours
Yield: 4


  • ½ cup Ready Made Rice Ada (store-bought )
  • 1 ½ ltr Milk (full fat )
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 4 - 5 cups Water
  • Salt (a pinch )
  • Fresh Cardamom (crushed, optional)
  • Dry Fruits (ghee roasted, optional)


  • Cooking pot (small & large )


Making the ada

  • In a small cooking pot, pour water and bring to a boil over medium flame
  • Add the ready made rice ada and stir well so it doesn’t stick to the pan
  • Cook it for 2 minutes over a medium flame, and then turn off the flame
  • Cover the vessel with a lid and leave it aside for 15 - 20 minutes. The ada will cook in this water.
  • Once done, rinse the ada with cold water a couple of times to wash the stickiness away.
  • Strain the ada and keep aside.

Making the payasam

  • In a large cooking pot, boil milk on a high flame.
  • Once it has boiled, reduce the flame to medium-low and add ¼ cup of sugar. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes
  • Add the rest of the sugar, and stir continuously for around 30 minutes. The milk can boil easily, to make sure to keep stirring the put throughout.
  • Add ghee, and keep stirring the mlk.
  • Add the strained ada and a pinch of salt, while mixing the entire payasam. The ada might stick to the bottom or sides of the pan, so it’s vital to keep it moving.
  • Cook the payasam for another 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
  • Depending on how thick you want the payasam, you can adjust the time you cook it for accordingly - increase the time to make it thicker or reducing it to make it slightly thinner or runny.
  • Add crushed cardamom powder and ghee roasted dry fruits to garnish, if you like!
Palada served in a copper bowl, placed on a wooden tray with handle. Brass bell is placed in the background.
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Palada served in a copper bowl, placed on a wooden tray with handle. Brass bell and one copper plate with flowers is placed around.
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  • The payasam is delightful when served hot and cold! If the weather outside demands something warm, then pour into bowls immediately after making them, and enjoy. It’s a homegrown hoogah that allows you to experience dishes from across the country! Try something new this festive season, and surprise your family with this South Indian specialty.

  • The palada payasam is best served when you add some toasted coconut pieces on top

  • You can also make the palada payasam rich by adding some ghee roasted cashew nuts or raisins

  • The palada payasam can be served along with other Onam Sadhya dishes to make it a complete meal

  • The palada payasam tastes fresh when it is made that day. But if you like to store it, then keep it an air tight container and store it in the fridge for a maximum of three days. 

  • Just before serving, you can mix some cold milk to reduce the thickness or heat the payasam again by adding some more milk to it. 

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