July 31, 2023

Nei Payasam | Aravana Payasam

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 Nei Payasam also known as Aravana Payasam is very popular as prasadam in Kerala Temples especially Bhagavathy (Devi) Temple and Ayyappa Temple . Sharkara Payasam ,Kadu Madhuram or just Aravanai are some other names for Nei Payasam.

Nei means ghee and payasam means kheer. This payasam gets it flavor and taste from just 3 ingredients; rice,ghee and jaggery. The payasam is either garnished with fried coconut bits or ghee fried cashews . A pinch of ginger powder at the end elevates the flavor profile manifold. 

Though we call this as Nei Payasam, the consistency of nei payasam isn't like the usual paysam (kheer). Consistency of nei payasam is gooey and thick similar to sakkarai pongal . 

Originally, Kerala Matta raw rice or red rice is used in the preparation of Nei Payasam,but if that us not available we can use any short grained rice, but a strict No to Basmati rice as it will alter the taste of Nei Payasam, because of the natural flavor that Basmati rice possesses

 In temples, nei payasam is made in huge bronze urulis and slow cooking method is followed. Ghee is poured at intervals until the ghee is completely absorbed into the rice and jaggery mixture.  Normally, dark colored jaggery is used for preparing nei payasam, hence the color will be dark and deep brown. 

Aravana / Nei Paysam shouldn't be confused with sakkarai pongal though they may sound similar. The quantity of ghee used in Nei payasam in more also there is no use of milk or lentils. Because the quantity of ghee is more ,we cannot eat this nei paysam like any other paysam for dessert . Just a small quantity can be savored and that itself will be very satiating and satisfying. 

Even to this day, Bhagavati Seva Pooja always has the offering of nei paysam and the same is distributed to all those partaking in the Pooja . 

I have very fond memories of enjoying piping hot Nei Payasam and crispy fried Medhu Vadai served as prasadam in leaf cups after Bhagavathy Seva Pooja.  The taste still lingers on my tongue and nothing can beat the taste and flavor of prasadam that is blessed with divine vibrations.

Holy month of Aashada or Aadi or Karikatam(July 15 to Aug 15 as per English calender) is known for Bhagavathy Seva ,many Brahmin families hailing from Kerala / Palakkad have the tradition of performing thus pooja at home on either Tuesdays or Fridays in this holy month .

So,whether or not you perform Bhagavthy Seva at home,you can always prepare Nei Payasam and offer as prasadam during auspicious pooja days or even on Tuesdays and Fridays during Aadi Maasam .

Preparation Time - 15 to 20 mins
Cooking Time - 45 mins
Complexity- medium 
Serves - 2 to 3


3/4 cup raw rice (I have used Sona Masuri )
3/4 cup powdered organic jaggery 
1/2 cup ghee 
Few cashews 
Pinch of dry ginger powder 
Pinch of cardamom powder 


  • Wash the rice well and pressure cook it with 3 cups of water and let the pressure release naturally. 
  • The rice must be cooked well and soft but not mushy . With the back of ladle ,lightly mash the rice but don't make it mushy . 
  • In a thick bottomed vessel , melt the jaggery with 1/2 cup water . We don't need any string consistency  just the jaggery needs to melt . Incase ,you see any impurities in the jaggery syrup,then filter it out and bring the syrup to a quick rolling boil.
  • Slowly add the mashed and cooked rice and mix it well without any lumps .Gradually add the ghee in parts and keep stirring until all the ghee is well absorbed into the nei payasam and the paysam looks glossy and well done .
  • If you are using coconut bits ,fry them in ghee until it turns golden brown and crisp ,likewise the same with cashewnuts as well.
  • Add this to the nei payasam along with cardamom powder and ginger powder and mix it well .
  • Offer it to the lord and distribute it among family and friends. 

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  1. The nei payasam reminds me of pati's Iyer mami neighbour who used to have bhavathy pooojai in Karthika masam and this used to be given in the leaf donnai - lovely to have an authentic recipe here - Kalyani

  2. My husband's periyammai is the one we look forward to for aravanai. Though a simple recipe, we love the flavour she makes. Yours looks exactly like that so super happy to have this recipe to try.

  3. This nei payasam looks irresistible. It made me nostalgic as it took me to my childhood. Our neighbour used to make this payasam and share it with us and many in the colony we stayed .It is so addictive. Lovely colour Priya. Will definitely try it soon.Preethi.


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