Black rice payasam

This is traditionally made with the Chak Hao variety of rice that is grown locally in Manipur. Also called forbidden rice and used exclusively by royalty in the past, this lovely purple, glutinous rice is perfect for payasam or payash as they call it. The purple colour of the rice transforms into a bluish tinged, rich payasam that is a must in Manipuri weddings.

Chak hao rice – 1/2 cup
Palm sugar – 1/2 cup
Milk – 1.5 lts
Saffron – 15 threads
Bay leaf – 1
Cloves – 6
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
Raisins – 20
Cashews – 15
Ghee – 1 tsp

Soak the rice overnight in sufficient water to just cover it. In a heavy pot, boil the milk along with soaked rice, raisins, saffron, cloves and bay leaf. Continue cooking till the rice is done. This rice has a hard  exterior and will take about 15-20 mins to cook in the milk. The milk would also be considerably reduced by the time the rice is cooked and the payasam will have a rich and thick consistency.  Add the palm sugar and continue cooking till the payasam is nice and thick. Add cardamom powder and cashews fried in the ghee. This is a very flavourful payasam. Serves 4.

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