Chana Dal Payasam

‘Payasa’ or payasam is the Sanskrit word for milk. Payasam is a southern Indian pudding dessert. It’s usually made with rice, lentils, bulgur wheat, millet, tapioca, vermicelli, or sweet corn. Northerners refer to this dish as ‘kheer’ and it’s usually made with vermicelli. I LOVE having this lentil version warm as a breakfast porridge or as a chilled dessert.


  • 1/2 cup chana dal (split chickpea)
  • 2 tbsp. raw rice
  • 1/4 cup frozen grated coconut OR desiccated unsweetened coconut
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup jaggery OR brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dry ginger powder
  • Salt a pinch
  • 1 tsp. ghee
  • A handful of raisins
  • 12-15 cashew pieces OR sliced almonds (optional)


  • Soak the raw rice for 30 minutes.
  • Wash and cook the chana dal / split chick pea till mushy soft. You can also use an Insta Pot or pressure cooker for faster cooking time.
  • Use a potato ricer to mash the dal roughly.
  • In a food processor, grind the soaked rice and grated coconut with a little water.
  • Cook the rice-coconut mixture in a pan till it thickens. Add the mashed dal to it and mix.
  • Then add the grated jaggery / sugar to it.
  • Add salt and cardamom powder, and dry ginger powder to it.


  • Gently sauté the cashews or almonds and raisins in ghee.
  • Add to the payasam and serve.


Adjust the sweetness according to taste.

Feel free to use any lentil of your choice. Chickpea has a delicious nutty taste and a smooth texture.

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