Black Glutinous Rice Kheer – Kavanarisi Payasam (A Chettinad Delicacy)

PREP TIME: 5 Minutes

COOKING TIME: 20 Minutes



Kavanarisi/Black glutinous rice is typically used to make desserts. Kavanarisi has a very special place in the breakfast menu in most Chettinad weddings and festivals. They use the rice to make a recipe like a pudding. The rich purple colour pudding gives a contrast in color and texture amongst other deep-fried savoury delicacies (a.k.a vellai paniyaram, kandharappam, masala cheeyam, etc. all high calorie, irresistible Chettinad dishes😉) in any festive menu. My mom used to make the kavanarisi payasam often. I tried making this recipe a few years ago, but was a flop. I was an amateur cook then (not that I am a professional now😉) and did not use the right proportion of rice to milk to achieve the desired consistency. I never attempted to try the recipe again until this Tamil New Year. As it was quarantine time, I wanted to try some new dessert and picked kavanarisi payasam. YAY!!!

I am glad I made this recipe. We loved it so much that we had so much of the dessert and skipped dinner that day (I served dessert before the meal😊)


Kavanarisi/Black Glutinous rice – 100 grams

Milk – 1 litre (I used whole milk)

Jaggery – 200 grams

Cardamom – 1

Cashews – 10 broken into small pieces

Salt – 1 pinch


STEP 1: Wash and soak the rice for 4 hours. If you forgot to soak the rice, not to worry soak in hot water for 1.5 to 2 hours and pressure cook for additional 2 whistles. If using instant pot, add the soaked rice + 300 ml water. Use pressure cook mode and set to 3 minutes. Wait for natural pressure release (may take upto 15 minutes) or can immediately release the pressure.

STEP 2: Pressure cook the rice until soft (3 whistles, even if the rice is not too mushy it is okay as we will grind the rice). If using instant pot, skip this step.

STEP 3: Add the milk to a thick bottom pan and let the milk boil for about 10 minutes in medium heat. In the meantime, grind the cooked rice to a fine paste.

STEP 4: Add the ¾ of the rice paste to the milk and mix well.

STEP 5: Microwave the jaggery with 60 ml water for 5 minutes. Filter the melted jaggery, add the ¼ remaining cooked rice paste to the jaggery and add to the milk.

STEP 6: Let the rice-milk mixture cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the cashews, cardamom and salt. The payasam should not be too thick so turn off the heat when the payasam is still in a liquid consistency. If not, when the payasam cools down the consistency can be thick and gooey.

Enjoy this Chettinad treat 😊

Tip: Add ghee fried cashews instead of plain roasted cashews. Also, the jaggery can be replaced with 1/2 cup sugar as this recipe is typically made using sugar.



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