Nurukku godhambu payasam | vegan broken wheat porridge.

godhambu payasam

Offer a delicious bowl of classic Kerala payasam that is absolutely dairy free. This broken wheat porridge is creamy, delicious and overall perfect for all festivals.

Assisting in the kitchen starts for most Keralite babies from the time they babble. Firsts start with a few veggies to play around with uniquely shaped vessels that become perfect drumming sessions. Then as friendships evolve all those coconut shells become makeshift vessels and the red mud characteristically the “chaya” (tea with milk).
Slowly chores assigned are to grate coconut, shred veggies, pluck the mangoes and drumsticks so on and so forth. The whole family is involved here. Slowly and steadily the young ones take in bits of the deep dark secrets of that traditional kitchen. There are no cookbooks, there is no right and wrong, it is just watching and learning and following your instinct. This to me is Kerala cuisine.

Payasams from Kerala cuisine

There are mainly two varieties of payasam in Kerala – prathaman and payasam. Parthamans are a double-boiled version of dessert where the predominant use of jaggery or coconut milk can be seen. However, this is not a hard and fast adherence rule. So it is best o say, I am not too clear on the difference between the two yet!

As for the milky element that makes these desserts, there are only two, cow’s milk like the one used in paalada prathaman or coconut milk like the one I am using today or the quick aval payasam.

Then there are paal payasam with that characteristic pink colour, quick and everyday semiya payasam or the newer carrot payasam. There is one thing for sure. No festival, birthday or family gathering is complete without one of these.

Lets now look at some elements that make these payasam perfect

The coconut

Most of Kerala will swear by the goodness of coconut. It stays and gives identity to the cuisine. This nutty coconut adds the base for the spice mix and lends itself to the silky smoothness of the dessert long before we marketed it in tinned form. The dehusked coconut is stored a few at a time in the kitchen while the whole coconuts are stored outside.   Grating and milking that coconut was an everyday thing.

broken emmer wheat payasam

Extracting the coconut milk

Mum orders the expertly cut semispheres of the coconut to be grated on the “Cherava”. This long seated wood grated has a metal scrapper at its end. It is the sound of the coconut being grated that woke most of us up in our childhood. The earlier you get up, you get a handful of fresh coconut to munch on. That was a big incentive!! We fell for it each time, no doubt!
The grated coconut is pounded and squished to release the first milk or the coconut cream. Add in some drinking water and there we go again with the squishing and extracting more coconut milk.  These two sets of milk are never mixed. The second water-added one is for cooking and the creamy first lot is for garnishing and reserved for desserts.

Other ingredients needed to make nurukku godhambu payasam

Broken wheat: These are wheat grains broken into a few bits, not semolina or bulgar. “Nurukku ” as in pieces of “godhambu” is wheat. This form of broken wheat is popular in Kerala and is very similar to steel-cut oats. You can use regular whole wheat or emmer broken into bits to make this payasam. Similarly, barley groats, bajra bits or steel-cut oats also work well in this payasam recipe as swaps for the broken wheat.

Jaggery: Solidified sugar cane juice is jaggery. This works well to sweeten this payasam. You can alternatively use date paste, palm jaggery or molasses too in this recipe.

Coconut oil: Since we are making the vegan payasam use coconut oil to roast the cashew and raisins instead of ghee. I love the sweet aroma of coconut oil that is enhanced by the coconut milk.

Spice powders: The subtle flavour that the dry ginger powder and the dessert feel that green cardamom powder gives is essential for the total dessert flavour of this payasam. 

Nuts and raisins: These are not essential for the payasam, but enhance the flavour of the payasam. 

Let’s make the nurukku godhambu payasam

The recipe card below outlines the step-by-step guide to making this payasam. Hope it comes in handy to make the recipe for festivals like Onam, Vishu, Deepavali or Ganesha Chaturthi. 

Nurukku godhambu payasam

Seema D Sriram
Offer a delicious bowl of classic Kerala payasam that is absolutely dairy free. This broken wheat porridge is creamy, delicious and overall perfect for all festivals.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Desserts
Cuisine Indian, Kerala, One pot
Servings 6 people


  • saucepan


  • 1 cup broken wheat I used emmer wheat
  • 1.5 cup drinking water
  • 1.5 cup coconut milk the second extract or diluted canned coconut milk.

For the jaggery syrup

  • 1.5 cups jaggery grated or crushed.
  • 1/2 cup drinking water

for finishing the payasam

  • 1/2 cup coconut cream first thick extract or canned coconut cream.
  • 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
  • 1/8 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp raisins


  • Soak the grated jaggery in the cup of water and set it aside.
  • Once the jaggery starts to dissolve set this on low heat and mix it occasionally till it melts completely.
  • Strain this syrup to remove any impurities and set aside till needed.
  • In a seperate heavy bottomed pan, add the water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the broken wheat to this and mix without any lumps.
  • As it begins to cook and swell add the second extract of the coconut milk.
  • Let this mix cook, keep stirring so it doesnt catch the bottom.
  • Once the broken wheat has cooked it will start appearing glassy, mash a few and see if it is cooked well.
  • Then add the jaggery syrup and mix well.
  • Add the green cardamom powder and the gingerpowder as well and stir it in.
  • Let this cook on a low heat till the payasam thickens to a honey consistency.
  • Now stir in the thick coconut cream and remove from heat
  • In a small pan add the ghee and roast the cashews. once tehy are done, add the raisins and allow them to plump up.
  • Add the coconut oil roasted nuts and raisins to the payasam along with the leftover coconut oil and stir well.
  • The payasam is ready. Serve the payasam warm.
    broken emmer wheat payasam
Keyword festival offerings, Indian desserts, pot luck recipes, Temple prasadam, vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Serving suggestions for nurukku godhambu payasam

Nurukku godhambu payasam tastes fabulous with a South Indian Thali meal. Even a bowl of payasam with a papadam tastes nothing lower than heaven! Chilled paysam tastes so good even at breakfast with some fruits. At times I like steamed plantains with the payasam, tastes like nedrapzham prathaman!

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Hope you like this vegan payasam and will love to tell us how it added to your celebrations. Keep us in the loop and leave your thoughts in the comments. For more from us, do subscribe.

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Bless my food by Payal
2 years ago
Rating :

Excited to find an interesting recipe using Dalia. I will really love to try this with coconut milk. Though I made it with regular milk but I am sure coconut milk can be a game changer in this recipe.

Lata Lala
2 years ago
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Broken emmer wheat porridge with fresh coconut milk, that sounds so interesting. I am a die hard coconut lover, so this is making me salivate.
Would love to try this soon.

2 years ago

I believe in most of the Indian household kids learn daily chores in playmode. Broken wheat payasam in coconut milk sounds interesting. A perfect dish for every celebration.

2 years ago
Rating :

I believe in most of the Indian household kids learn daily chores in playmode. Broken wheat payasam in coconut milk sounds interesting. A perfect dish for every celebration. Also, I liked the use of jaggery here.

Mayuri Patel
2 years ago
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Assisting in the kitchen from the time we could understand and handle simple chores is fast dying out. Nowadays its common to find that most kids are not assigned chores to help out. We all learnt from watching and helping our mums, aunts, grandmothers. Coming to the Nurukku Godhambu Payasam, it looks delicious and it for sure is a different kind of recipe for me.With the earthy taste from jaggery and the sweetness from the coconut am sure I’d love it.

2 years ago
Rating :

Nurukku Godhambu payasam surely seems delectable. A vegan version of payasam is quite intriguing to me. I am sure coconut milk will taste awesome with broken wheat. Will try out this version of payasam. Good post.

Priya Srinivasan
2 years ago
Rating :

Loved reading through the post seema, i could literally feel and imagine the scenes, fresh coconut to munch! ahh what bliss! Good food brings Good memories!!!
Godhambu payasam looks amazing! such a hearty dessert!

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