Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Gasagase payasa - sure ticket to an afternoon siesta

We had a quiet New Years eve and New Year's at home and kept trying to reach family back home in India. All the phone lines seemed to have jammed and no luck until late in the evening. Finally talked to everyone and wished a Happy New Year. While 2012 had many personal hits, there were also misses - things I didn't get to or just became lazy to follow up on which I plan to take up this year and do better.

I made some small changes to make my blog user friendly and you can now search the blog posts by labels on any page. I will keep working on the labels and intend to keep this dynamic, all suggestions are welcome. Let me know what you think. Also, I want to let everyone know that I do not typically entertain anonymous comments with vague looking web links in them to keep my blog safe and spam free. If you are trying to reach me and do not want your email to be published, my email id is available on the top right corner of the page, let me know your intention and I will respect that completely. Also, I do not publish your email ids to my other readers and keep it private.

When we were still in grade school, one of my older cousins got married and as it happens the new family got invited for lunch. Nammamma as usual made lots of goodies and one of them was gasagase payasa. An uncle of the bride, a professor at the University had some 4 or 5 cups of the payasa and said, 'whoever made this payasa, should be awarded a Nobel Prize'. Me & younger brother were at the age that knew how big a deal a Nobel prize was but had no information on all the different categories a Nobel prize could be awarded and coming from a University Professor, we believed in our childish innocence to be the ultimate truth. So we waited patiently for the Nobel Prize to come in sometime following that lunch and were all ready to be part of the glory. When nothing changed for a while, the 2 smart alecs we were, we concluded that the gluttonous professor drank too much of the payasa and fell asleep to recommend our mother's great payasa to the Nobel Prize committee :-), it didn't stop us from bragging our near miss of the Nobel prize in the friend's circle. Although I know now that there is no Nobel Prize category for cooking let alone Gasagase payasa, I believe nammamma's payasa was every drop worthy of it had there been one.
Nammamma would grind this in the traditional stone grinder, strain it multiple times in a thin dish cloth and take back any residue for further grinding. She repeats the grinding and straining until there is absolutely nothing that stays on your tongue except for the smooth & silky texture of the payasa.. I do not go into that but have found some short cuts to make the process a little less time & energy consuming. If you have access to a coffee grinder, roast the poppy seeds and rice on low heat for 3-4 minutes and dry powder them before adding coconut and gridning them into a paste. If this is not an option, soak the poppy seeds & rice for more than an hour and grind it with very little liquid until the stubborn poppy seeds break up and becomes a paste, be forewarned that you need a work horse kind of an Indian mixer for this. The taste is not different either way though there is an enhanced flavor of poppy seeds in the roasted method.

You can drink this cold or warm and it tastes good both ways. My father loved this with soft, warm rice idlis (made with idli rava) and used to dunk idli pieces in a cup of gasagase payasa, let them soak up the payasa for a few seconds and down it with a smile on his face. My mouth is watering as I type this up and may be I will make that combo soon.
What do you need to make Gasagase payasa? 
3 Tblsp gasagase/khuskhus/poppy seeds
1 Tsp rice (regular sona masoori or long grain)
1+1/4 cup crushed jaggery or light brown sugar
4 cups milk
1/2 cup grated coconut
How do you make Gasagase Payasa? 
  • Roast poppy seeds and rice on low heat for 3-4 minutes taking care not to burn it, Rice turns translucent and poppy seeds start to give a nice aroma, switch off and let cool. 
  • Dry powder the roasted ingredients in a coffee grinder until poppy seeds are crushed well, take it to a mixer, add coconut and a couple Tblsp milk and grind it until it is a smooth paste. 
  • I usually run my mixer for 1.5 minutes, give it a break for a minute and repeat for 3-4 times until the paste is really soft and should melt between your fingers when you touch it. 
  • Add jaggery to milk and bring milk to a light boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent any burning. 
  • Add the ground paste and let it come to a good boil (keep the heat on low to medium), stir frequently. 
  • The color of the payasa changes slightly and the consistency thickens a little. 
  • Switch off and serve it warm or cold. 
  • If you want to adopt the alternate route, soak gasagase & rice in half a cup of water for 2-3 hours. Strain the soaked ingredients and grind it with coconut into a very smooth paste. Add a couple of Tsp of milk to aid your blender. 
  • In the dry roast and powder method, make sure you roast the poppy seeds and rice on low heat taking care not to overdo it or burn the poppy seeds. They should not even turn brown, just warming it up until you can smell the aroma lightly is sufficient. 
  • Color of the payasa depends on the quality of jaggery or brown sugar, it is typically very light brown. 
  • I do not add any flavoring agents such as cardamom or saffron in this payasa as it needs to have just the gasagase flavor. 
  • Jaggery and brown sugar varies in its sweetness, adjust the amount based on your preference.


Vani said...

Happy new year, N! To you and your family too. I love gasgase payasa - and this one does look Nobel prize worthy! Loved that story :)

Anonymous said...

Happy 1 year anniversary :)

NamsVeni Pothas said...

gasagasa paayasa is really very tasty and healthy also. yes. people say it is a sleeping dose. but is it true? very nice paayasa with bellam. i like all sweets with bellam. for a new year celebration very good sweet item.

LG said...

ahaaa..shavige matte gasgase payasa nodi bayalli neeru bantu Nagashree. Ondu lota payasa parcel maadi eekade.

prathibha Garre said...

very delicious payasa..Love it with ottu shavige,perfect combination for me..

Kannada Cuisine said...

Super dooper..love this one..happy tummy and of course a good night sleep :)

Julie said...

Delicious & yummy payasam!!
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Priya said...

Happy new year wishes to you and your family.Its been a while i had this payasam.