Random musings of a wandering soul

The guilty paayasam*

“What are you churning out in your kitchen for Onam**?” my friends ask me.

“Err…nothing special,” I admit sheepishly.

“Cut and chop a hundred veggies, make milk out of a willful coconut, convert it into  twenty different thorans and kaalans and olans***? You must be crazy to think I am that crazy, that too, all this trouble  just for the two of us, for one meal, ha!” I muttered to myself.

An s-o-a from office laid the final nail on the coffin in the Onam kitchen. Yet, that nagging voice somewhere in the back of my consciousness kept repeating , ‘Onam, Onam, Onam’. Before it turned into a north Indian chant that is doing the rounds these days,  (try saying onam, onam , onam repeatedly and quite fast…still don’t get it? then you might not get it at all, forget it) my flesh gave into the demands of the persistent soul. That’s when I remembered that long forgotten can of milkmaid that used to give me a woebegone look from behind the oft caressed tins of chocolate, baking powder, choco chips and the like. Maybe it was waiting for just such a day. every maid has her day, you see.

Looked around and found two bananas whose skin had stopped used Fair & Lovely and had gone out into the hot sun. Then some nuts and bolts…errr..raisins, better known as kissmiss, wonder how it got such a romantic name. Anyhow, into the pan went the milkmaid that was colored like a terrorist..well, aren’t terrorists supposed to be brown in color these days? Milk poured into the can three more times in an unsuccessful attempt to draw out the remaining liquid, added to the pan next. The bananas went nuts and added the raisins on the way to fatten themselves in shudh desi ghee****. Sounds like avial, you say? What’s in a name, I ask.

Some urgent work, a.k.a FB beckoned, got so engrossed in all the sadya chatter going around that I forgot my pursuit of getting past the  guilt nostalgia trip. As a funny smell wafted into the almost dysfunctional nose, I rushed back to my reluctant domain to see a greedy gas stove and counter top devouring half of my half hearted attempt. Having used up the last possible drop of milkmaid and thawed milk, I remembered, necessity is the mother of not mere inventions, but culinary innovations as well.

Some left over home made pudding mix was shaken out of its cozy comfort and in went 3-4 spoons into the mix. To add volume, what else but that eternal elixir of life , water. The end result was consumed with great relish, let me admit in all humility. You see, it is not love alone that can lay claim to that special taste, that non-definable something, that makes a dish special. Add a generous amount of guilt with total abandon, and you might end up with something like this. Hope all you people had a wonderful Onam.



* paaysam – traditional Indian sweet, usually made during festival, or whenever you feel like it

**Onam – Traditional Kerala harvest festival, so it is said.

***thorans, kalans and olans – vegetable preparations that accompany a festive meal in Kerala. Made from symmetrically cut pieces of veggies, with generous amounts of coconut in all shapes and forms added – grated, pieces, milked, oiled etc., etc.

**** shudh desi ghee – clarified butter


Comments on: "The guilty paayasam*" (22)

  1. I thought i saw some bits of tutti frutti in it

  2. Happy Onam to you and your loved one(s)!

    Thanks for sending me to the Internet slang page for checking out s-o-a (yes, I am that dumb and feeling increasingly so today morning, no wonder I failed on that puzzle or palindrome or whatever it is but as advised, I have forgotten it.) Your post today is so enriched with delightful imageries and symbolisms it reminds me of Nadeem Aslam. Plus I liked those ironies too.

  3. How the payasam got made kinda sounds like my type of story 😉 😛 Rotflol at saying Onam repeatedly. That was one classic joke!

    • he he he , these on the spur of the moment experiments mostly turn out to be much tastier than the well planned ones 😀
      As for the joke, its doing the rounds on FB these days 🙂

  4. Yummy post..loaded with iron(y) content 🙂 It really does not make sense to dish out for an army when there are only two just because of tradition.. So serendipity found its way and made a great payasam .Belated Onam wishes!!

  5. Happy Onam to you, too! 🙂

    Nice story behind (what looks like) a delicious banana pudding, if I may call it that. 😀

  6. I didn’t get the ‘Onam-Onam-Onam’ joke. Neither did I get what s-o-a means. 😦 Yes, I am dumb all right!

  7. That payasam looks tempting, Even I didn’t get the onam joke. I kept repeating it a few times from morning since I read your post 😀 😀
    Belated onam wishes Bindu 🙂

    • Thanks Tharani.
      Ok, here is the joke, apparently, Narendra Modi wished Shashi Tharoor a Happy Onam and asked him to repeat Onam 10 times, Onam, onam, onam onam, namo, namo, namo, namo….you get the drift?

  8. As long as it tasted good and you had a great day, Bindu!

  9. Yum! Hope you enjoyed! Wish you a happy belated Onam 🙂
    I made Paalada at my place.

  10. Belated Happy Onam! I have had Paayasam once in Chennai and liked it.
    And I know of that feeling of guilt. I had had enough of it when I was in Manchester.

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