Kerala pink paal payasam

temple paal payasam

Bhale besh!!!

Pretty much you can get through most South Indian festivals if you can get payasam done. Mostly these payasams have rice, milk and sugar or jaggery in them, you don’t expect anything different from it,  Do You?
If you can get a pink temple paal payasam done,  then you rise above the crowd in the hierarchy of better cooks! That too,  if it gets closer to the taste test review, “bhale beesh,” you are the best in the family till that round of festivals finishes.
Among the temple paal payasam of South India, Ambalapuzha paal payasam is the famed best. Pretty much sold out if you haven’t pre-booked.  This celestial ambrosia is what devotees wait for months or years to get to. Slogging over the wood fire from the early hours of dawn to near lunchtime, this payasam (kheer) is a lot of muscle power and great simple ingredients. The faint rose pink colour, the aroma of cooked raw rice in fresh milk and the heady amount of sugar… can’t beat it with any other rice pudding.  All you need after that is a long siesta. This is clearly what makes these payasams the festival favorites too. 

pink payasam south indian

It is quite clear that the pink colour is what attracts most of us towards it. This is achieved without any added colour but with the gentle simmering of the milk and traditional varieties of red rice indigenous to these regions. The taste, therefore,  of the slow-cooked recipe is also a reason for the ambrosia feel to this temple paal payasam. 

Here are a few similar recipes

Bamboo rice Payasam.

Paalada prathaman

Varagu paal payasam

Now, that many hours of work for a payasam, however, divine it is, is not my portion of work. So,  today I share my not so perfect, shortcut,  Kerala temple style paal payasam. The method us similar to the earlier posts of pressure cooker prathaman and bamboo rice payasam. A few tweaks make this close to the temple style one. Check out the recipe as I am sure once you try it you will love it too. Here I have also added a slow cooker version as definitely the slow cooker ( crock pot) version does do justice to the temple feel ten times more. Check out all the versions and see what works best for you. Do let us know your thoughts, tweaks and changes when you have tried this recipe in the comments section.

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Happy Deepawali to all my readers.

temple paal payasam

Kerala pink paal payasam

Pressure cooker and slow cooker version.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Desserts, Sweets and savories, Traditional
Cuisine gluten free, Indian, Kerala, One pot, Pressure cooker, South indian, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian, Winter
Servings 8 people


Pressure cooker method.

  • 1.5 litres full cream milk
  • 1/2 cup Raw rice ( I have used raw red rice, Srilankan variety- See foot notes for more details.
  • 3/4 cup unrefined sugar ( I dont use refined whilte sugar, if you do, that will give a deeper pink colour)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2-3 dry rose petals optional

Slow cooker method

  • 2 litres full cream milk
  • 1/2 cup Raw rice
  • 3/4 cup unrefined sugar ( I will recommend to use as required as I find the slow cooker breaks down the rice sweeter, so you can cut back on the sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2-3 dry rose petals


  • Wash the rice in running water and set aside.
  • Into the pressure cooker add 1-litre milk and the washed rice.
  • Set the pressure cooker and cook on a medium flame for 5 whistles.
  • You will need to watch out for the spillage through the pressure cooker as milk tends to bubble up. Lower the heat if the spillage comes about.
  • Once the whistles are done, remove from heat and release pressure naturally.
  • Now, stir and mash the rice with the back of a ladle. Add the rest of the milk and simmer and stir for 7 to 10 minutes till the milk bubbles and boils.
  • Add the cardamom powder, crushed rose petals and remove from heat.
  • The payasam is now ready to serve

Slow cooker recipe

  • Wash the rice and add it to the crock pot.
  • Add the milk, cardamom and stir well.
  • Set it on low for 6 hours and allow the rice to cook and breakdown.
  • After 6 hours stir in the sugar and the rose petals.
  • The payasam is ready to serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
5 3 votes

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Uday Kumar
Uday Kumar
3 years ago

Looks good! Will make it for Deepawali.

Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
3 years ago

That does look beautifully pink… I did get a light hue while cooking it with basmati, but will try with raw rice next… Feel like picking up your bowl…

3 years ago

Thanks for sharing this traditional recipe with us. Such a pretty color and it looks so decadent and delicious.

Mayuri Patel
3 years ago

Who can resist the beautiful pink paal payasam. Looks so pretty, creamy and inviting. Some traditional sweet dishes need to be sweet so that its flavorful and enjoyable.

3 years ago

Wow! what a delicious pink colour and paal payasam is something I really enjoy. Creamy and inviting this is one delicious bowl of prasad.

Lata Lala
3 years ago

The beautiful pink colour paal payasam looks so delicious, pretty, creamy and flavorful. Wanna grab the bowl right now from the screen as I am a die gard dessert lover.

3 years ago

This payasam looks creamy and flavorful! In south India the festival will not be completed without payasam.

Priya Vj
2 years ago
Rating :

Paal payasam is one of my favorite and as you said if we achieve the pink color it is a big pat on the back. I follow the pressure cooker method as you have mentioned .
A small tip to avoid spillage is to drop a spoon or a small plate into the cooker . This prevents spillage. Tried and tested .

Mayuri Patel
2 years ago
Rating :

Seema I had about 1/4 cup red rice left over and tried out this recipe.I used jaggery powder instead of sugar. It turned out so good and we loved Kerala Pink Paal Payasam as a Holi treat.

2 years ago
Rating :

Such a delicious and beautiful pink Pal Payasam. Traditional recipes are the best and a siesta after a meal is definitely a necessity. Love this recipe.

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