Working on the Mela food inserts gives me a chance to re-visit my childhood and share my favourite food memories. I grew up in Durban as most of you would know by now and the weekends were reserved for the local pastime, ‘visiting’. So, some weekends we would be out and about visiting and on others, we would be at home expecting visitors. It was an awesome tradition and there were no phone calls made to confirm or make arrangements…you just popped in. Imagine doing that in this day and age?
Payasam or vermicelli as we know it was made over the weekend to serve to guests around tea time. Sometimes we were served cake, biscuits or samosas but we always hoovered up the payasam. Do you remember the visiting days?
Pongal was celebrated by the Tamil community last week and Mela featured some recipes that would be perfect for Pongal…a spicy brinjal curry, lentil pilau, coconut chutney and to follow, a deliciously creamy payasam. I served the payasam with fried poppadoms. If you missed the episode and want a quick course on payasam, click here for the step by step guide from Mela, https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/mela-pongal-recipes/
1 cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
125ml vermicelli, broken
30ml desiccated coconut
350ml boiled water
1 litre full cream milk
80ml sago, washed
75 – 85g sugar
100g flaked almonds, toasted
Place the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods into an AMC pot.
Heat the spices until fragrant.
Add the vermicelli and stir until light golden brown.
Add the butter and stir for a minute, then add the desiccated coconut.
Fry for a minute.
Add the boiled water and full cream milk.
Add the sago and simmer on a low heat until the vermicelli softens and the sago is translucent.
Once the payasum thickens, add the sugar and then flaked almonds, reserving some for garnishing.