Ada Pradhaman, rich and delicious dessert prepared using rice pasta flakes, coconut milk and jaggery. This traditional dessert is quintessential part of traditional Onam Sadya. Ada Pradhaman Recipe, this most popular dessert of Kerala, has a silky texture and is mild in flavor.
“PRADHAMAN” MEANS “THE FIRST”
The word “Pradhaman” means “the first” or “number One of many”. Of course! it is the first and the most important dessert in Kerala. There are several Payasam or Pradhaman varieties in vibrant Kerala cuisine. But the royalty is the Ada Pradhaman. The difference between the two is that while Payasam uses milk and sugar, Pradhaman is made with coconut milk and jaggery. Pradhaman is mostly made with ada(rice pasta), lentils like kadala parippu and cheru payar and ripe fruits like jackfruit and banana.
ADA OR RICE PASTA TO MAKE PRADHAMAN
Ada is a kind of pasta usually made of rice flour. This Pradhaman is prepared with ada (diced strand like dry rice pieces or dry rice flakes) which is soaked or cooked in hot water and later slow cooked in jaggery and then cooked in various extracts of coconut milk. We can also make ada at home using rice flour, sugar, salt and ghee. But now a days, we get them in readymade packets.
FRESH COCONUT MILK EXTRACTION
Grate 2-3 coconuts or take 8 heaped cups grated coconut.
- First Milk Extract : Grind coconut in a mixer adding 1 cup of warm water in batches and extract the first milk. Blend the coconut in batches for best results. First, blend a small batch of coconut with some water so that the grated shreds become smaller. Transfer to a big wide bowl and repeat the same with rest of the grated coconut. Gently mix the coconut and water mixture with your fingertips, take a handful and squeeze and strain well. This yields about 2 cups (480 ml) of thick coconut milk (1st extract). Usually one medium big coconut yields about ½ cup milk. So 2 coconut and 1 cup of water mostly yields approximately around 2 cups thick milk.
- Second Milk Extract : Next, add 3 glass of water to the ground coconut (do in batches) and grind again and extract 3 cups (720 ml) of coconut milk (2nd extract).
- Third Milk Extract : Now add 4 cups of water and grind it (do in batches) again and extract 4 cups (960 ml) of milk ( 3rd extract).
READYMADE COCONUT MILK
Get 480 ml or 2 cups (cans or tetra packs) of readymade coconut milk (tetra packs or canned coconut milk).
- THICK FIRST MILK : Shake well and pour 1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk with 1 cup (240 ml) of water and mix well to get about 2 cups (480 ml) coconut milk (thick first milk).
- SEMI THICK SECOND MILK : Next, take about 2/3 cup (160 ml) coconut milk and mix with 2 & 1/3 cups (560 ml) to get about 3 cups (720 ml) coconut milk (semi thick second milk).
- THIN THIRD MILK : Finally, mix the remaining 1/3 cup (80 ml) coconut milk with 3 & 2/3 cups water (880 ml) water to get 4 cups (960 ml) coconut milk (thin third milk).
DICED DRY READYMADE ADA BITS OR STRANDS
Readymade ada comes either in bits or diced big strand like pieces. If using, big strand or ribbon like ada, then break it into smaller uneven pieces. Then cook in pressure cooker for one whistle. After 10 minutes, release the pressure, open the cooker, drain ada and rinse ada in cold water and keep aside (used readymade ada in this recipe).
HOME MADE ADA (STEAMED OR COOKED IN WATER)
MAKE BATTER : Mix these ingredients with enough water in a blender. Rice powder – 1 ½ cup (250-280 g rice powder), ghee – 2 tsp, sugar – 2 tsp. Mix well with 1 ¼ cup water to form a smooth batter (like dosa batter consistency).
METHOD 1 : Take a piece of banana leaf, wash it and wilt it on gas flame. This prevents the banana leaves from getting torn during ada making process. Drizzle the batter over it and spread it. Roll it gently and tie with a string. Boil water in a large pot. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add the rolled banana leaves and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Now remove the rolls from water.
METHOD 2 : Take a piece of banana leaf, wash it and wilt it on gas flame. This prevents the banana leaves from getting torn during ada making process. Drizzle the batter over it and spread it. Roll it gently and tie with a string. Boil water in a large pot. Keep the rolled banana leaves rice in a steamer pan. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, keep the steamer pan inside the large pan. Cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
METHOD 3 : Take a flat steamer plate (without holes) and spread a thin layer of batter in the pan. Boil water in a large pot. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, keep the steamer pan inside the large pan. Cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
Keep the cooked ada aside to cool down. Once cooled, peel the ada carefully out from banana leaves or the plate. If needed, drop the ada rolls in to a pot of water (room temperature) to easily remove ada. Cut it into small squares or uneven pieces. Rinse and drain the ada and keep aside to make pradhaman. (Keep ada in water if we are not making pradhaman immediately.) Use homemade ada on same day for pradhaman.
HOW TO MAKE ADA PRADHAMAN
Ada Pradhaman making involves the following steps.:
- Prepare coconut milk.
- Cook ada (or rice pasta).
- Cook sago pearls (saboodana).
- Make jaggery syrup.
- Cook ada with jagery syrup.
- Cook ada in 3rd extract of coconut milk.
- Cook ada in 2nd extract of coconut milk.
- Add 1st extract of coconut milk in prdahaman.
- Add cardamom and dry ginger powder.
- Add nut, coconut bits and raisins.
Check the below recipe card for ingredient’s measurements and detailed instructions.
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- 200 g Ada (Rice flakes)
- 500 g Jaggery (2 ½ cups Sharkkara (grated or crushed dark Jaggery))
- ¼ cup Sago Pearls or Saboodana (Chowari (optional))
- 4 cups Thin Coconut milk (3rd Extract – Moonnam Paal)
- 3 cups Semi Thick Coconut milk (2nd Extract – Randaam Paal)
- 2 cups Thick Coconut milk (1st Extract – Onnam Paal)
- 4 tbsp Ghee
- ¼ cup Cashew nuts
- ¼ cup Kismis
- ¼ cup Coconut Pieces (Cut in to small pieces )
- 1 tsp Dried Ginger Powder (Chukku Podi)
- 1 tsp Cardamom Powder (10 cardamoms)
- Coconut Milk – Prepare different sets of coconut milk as per the instructions given in tips section. Use either fresh coconut milk or store bought packet coconut milk.
- Ada or Rice Pasta – Wash the ada in water until it rinses off clear, drain and keep aside. Boil about 2 liters of water in a heavy bottom pan. Once it starts boiling, add the washed ada and cook until it turns soft (should be soft to mash between fingers). Drain and rinse the cooked ada under cold water (to prevent over cooking and sticking) and keep aside.
- Cook Sago Pearls – Wash sago pearls in water and soak with enough water for 15-30 minutes. Drain and keep it ready to boil. Boil about 1.5 cups water in a heavy bottom pan and add the soaked and drained sabudana. Boil until the sabudana becomes swollen and translucent. Turn off flame and keep it aside.
- Jaggery Syrup – Boil jaggery with ½ cup water in a heavy bottom pan. Once it starts boiling and jaggery has melted, remove from the gas stove and strain it to remove the impurities. Keep the jaggery syrup aside. Use dark jaggery to get good dark colour for the pradhaman.
- Cooking Ada with Jaggery – Heat a big heavy bottomed pan (approx 5 litre capacity), add1 tbsp ghee, then pour melted jaggery int to the pan. Once, it starts boiling, add the cooked and rinsed ada, mix well. Keep stirring, now the mix will become thin. Keep boiling on medium flame, stirring continuously. It is a little long process. Make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom or burns. Once it is very thick, all the water will be evaporated and then it will be in a gooey form. Now add 2 tbsp ghee. Mix it well, stir continuously for another few minutes until it is very thick and jaggery is melted, blend well with ada and turned dark colour.
- Add 3rd extract of coconut milk – Slowly and gradually add third extract or thin coconut milk into this mixture. Mix and blend it well. Add sago along with the cooked (left over) water. Mix well, the mixture has again turned thin now. Boil, stirring continuously to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan. Boil on medium flame until it turns thick.
- Add the 2nd extract of coconut milk – Add the semi thick or 2nd extract of coconut milk. Mostly, this semi thick coconut milk is added when ada is almost cooked. Now again, the mixture is loosened. Bring it to boil, stir continuously and cook on medium flame until it is thick again.
- Add the 1st extract of coconut milk – Once the ada and sago are cooked well and when the mixture starts to condense, finally add the 1st extract of coconut milk and turn off the flame. Add dry ginger powder and cardamom powder (or crushed cardamoms). Stir and mix well. Keep it covered for 5-10 minutes for the flavours to blend in the pradhaman.
- Tempering – Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pan, fry thin coconut pieces, cashews and kismis until light brown. You can also fry it advance and keep aside while cooking pradhaman. Add fried cashew nuts, kismis and fried coconut pieces along with the tempered ghee. Mix it well with the pradhaman. Cover and keep again for 5-10 minutes before serving. Open and stir occasionally (to avoid skin formation on top while cooling) until it is at room temperature. Flavours and aroma is stabilized and tastes better once it cools down.
- Ada Pradhaman Ready – This yields about 2.5 – 3 litres of pradhaman and can be served for about 12-15 people normally. During sadyas, if one more dessert is there, we can serve this much quantity for up to 25-30 people. The perfect consistency for the ada pradhaman is : – if it is poured on banana leaf or plate, it would stay there without running watery. Usually, the pradhaman thickens as it rests, so adjust the consistency accordingly using the quantity of first extract of coconut milk before turning off the flame.
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