Elaneer (coconut water) payasam
A crowd pleaser, especially in the summer months. There is the “doing this from scratch” way and then there is a shortcut (which I will give at the end). This is a rich payasam with an underlying taste of elaneer and little bits of the tender coconut which provides for a lovely textural contrast.
Full fat milk – 1 litre
Tender coconut – 2
Coconut milk – 1 cup (from half a mature coconut)
Jaggery – 1 cup
Powdered cardamom – 1/2 tsp
This needs some prep work before you begin.
In a small pan melt the jaggery with quarter cup of water and set aside when it has fully melted. Remove the water from the two coconuts, filter it and keep aside. The vazhuval or tender part of the flesh of the coconut needs to be removed and cut into small 1/2 cm cubes. Meanwhile, get thick coconut milk from one half of a coconut and set aside.
Heat the full fat milk in a thick bottom pan and allow it to become thick, almost like basandi. Use a hand blender and blend it to get a smooth consistency. Add the cooled jaggery syrup by filtering it to remove any impurities. After a minute or so, add the coconut water and continue stirring. Lastly, add the coconut milk and vazhuval pieces, the cardamom powder and remove from stove. Can be served hot but tastes even better when cold. Serves 6.
Now, for the shortcut. This requires condensed milk, elaneer and tender coconut bits like above. All you need to do is add the elaneer to the condensed milk till you get the required sweetness. I have tried this and found that for one full container of condensed milk you will need at least 6-7 coconuts. So you may end up with a lot of payasam. So reduce the condensed milk accordingly. Using a hand blender mix the two, well, add the tender coconut bits and cardamom powder. No cooking required. This has a very different taste to the traditional recipe, but is also delicious and refreshing. .