Southern India

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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The most emblematic South Indian sweet dish is payasam, a pudding of rice and milk or coconut milk, sometimes with dal, fruit, raisins, and nuts. It often has a pinkish color because of the long cooking time that caramelizes the milk. In Kerala, the king of payasams served at festive occasions is ada pradaman, made from a special pressed rice, coconut milk, jaggery, coconut milk, coconut flakes, ghee, cardamom, cashews, and raisins.

In Tamil Nadu, a favorite sweet is pal payasam—small puris dipped in sweetened kheer and served hot or cold. The most important festival is Pongal, which is also the name of the dish served at this time: a mixture of boiled rice, dal, milk, jaggery, ghee, nuts, raisins, and coconut.