Banana Dates Payasam (Banana Date Dessert)
To me, payasam usually is synonymous with semiya (vermicelli) payasam. As I tend to make a sweet dish every Friday I try recipes other than the usual payasam. Fruits to me, are a great ingredient in a dessert. Main reason is that usually, in desserts with fruits, you need far less sugar as the sweetness from the fruits lends great flavour and taste and also that they usually do not need a lot of fat (butter or ghee) to make them delicious. This works great especially for people on calorie/fat controlled diet and even kids who may refuse fruits. Well, as much as I dislike disguising food, I do need to do it with my son especially if it is banana. It is strange how at one point, he would eat bananas for all meals but now he would not even touch it. Anyway, this is one of my fruit filled dessert to sneak the goodness in. This is similar to what Keralites may call ‘pradaman’. Here is how I did it…
2 ripe bananas
4-5 chopped dried dates
2 tablespoons jaggery
1 cup milk
2-3 cardamom pods
1 tablespoon dessicated/fresh coconut
1 teaspoon ghee (optional)
2-3 teaspoons chopped cashewnuts (optional)
Add little water to the jaggery and allow it to boil for a minute. Filter the jaggery water so you get rid of any debris in it.
Heat milk, add the cardamom pods, followed by mashed bananas (keep stirring so bananas do not stick to the bottom)
When it boils, add the filtered jaggery water, coconut and boil for couple of minutes while stirring
Fry the cashews in little ghee or just put them directly into the payasam. Add chopped dates before serving.
If you do not have jaggery, you could possibly try brown sugar but you need not dissolve in water to get rid of debris because they are usually quite clean. You may want to add bit more milk so the dish is not too thick.