KARUPPU KAVUNI ARISI PAAYASAM - Secret recipe from the Kitchens of Chettinaadu

Cook Healthy, Eat Healthy. With this thought, I am back with another recipe from the kitchens of Chettinaad. Chettinaad cuisine is marvelled for its unique cooking styles and methods. Right from using vintage utensils  (almost forgotten now) the Chettinaad community (Nagarathaar @ Chettiaars) take pride in being uncompromising in replacing their traditional methods with modern methods in cooking. Besides this, some raw materials like Rice and pulses are exclusively cultivated in their own Karaikkudi region. Though they are applauded for their Non-Vegetarian cuisine, they have a great deal to offer us from their Vegetarian repertoire. 

Today 's recipe, Karuppu Kavuni Arisi Paayasam @ Black Glutinous Rice Payasam could be labelled under the lost and found secret recipes. It is believed that this rice was bartered to the royal families in China and Burma in exchange for their teak wood that adorns as ornamental strong pillars even today in Chettinad homes. 
This rice is considered as Black Gold. To be precise, it has a deep purple tint due to the presence of the antioxidant Anthocyanin clearly making it a potential food in preventing Cancer. The high fiber content helps in maintaining a trim figure ( helps women maintain a slim waistline from the onset of puberty) and the rice also being low in glycemic index, is suitable for maintaining sustained energy levels in Diabetics. The Royals used this rice for the very same reason that it helped sustain energy levels during war or longer court hours.... my scientific understanding. I am also going to try my hands on few other native recipes and hope to share it with you all in future. To know more about this rice and its health benefits, click here and hereI have added an interesting video at the end of the post. Do watch it. 

Coming to the recipe part, the rice needs a lengthy soaking time. Preferably overnight for best results. It helps soften the fiber and also extract the pigments. I have willingly kept the milk levels low in the recipe to retain that deep purplish tint. Looks brown in the pics though, because of the addition of palm jaggery. Increasing the milk quantity or adding condensed milk/ coconut milk/ almond milk is totally up to you. The taste is divine and the rice can leave you satiated for a long time. The recipe source is actually from my FIL who happens to be a Naturopathy and Ayurveda enthusiast. He is very knowledgeable and has lot of information collected over years.

For a change, this time I conducted an opinion poll for the food photography part and requested a group to choose the best from the lot. I thank my brother, cousins, other family members and friends who took earnest interest in helping me select the best pictures for the post. Thank you dearies.

I sourced the rice from my friend Suganthi who runs an Organic shop along with her husband in Coimbatore. I have tried and tested the products in few recipes and the quality is exceptionally good. I appreciate the couple for this sincere effort of theirs and wish them good luck and success in this endevour.  I have given the details and contact information about their outlet. Those who are interested to source these organic range of products, scroll down till the end. Off to the recipe now....

Preparation time/ Soaking time: Overnight
Cooking time: 25 min including pressure cooking
Cuisine: Chettinaad
Category: Dessert
Spice Level: Sweet
Difficulty Level: Easy
Serves: 5-6
Source : MIL
Nutrition Facts
Servings 6.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 276
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3 g5 %
Saturated Fat 1 g7 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 5 mg2 %
Sodium 2 mg0 %
Potassium 15 mg0 %
Total Carbohydrate 34 g11 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g6 %
Sugars 9 g
Protein 3 g7 %
Vitamin A1 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium3 %
Iron6 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
  • 1 cup Karuppu Kavuni Arisi/ Black Glutinous Rice 
  • 2 cups pounded Palm jaggery
  • 3 cups water to soak rice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 8 cashew nuts halved
  • a fistful of raisins 
  • 2 tsp ghee/ clarified butter
  • Rinse Kavuni Arisi just once under tap water and soak it in 3 cups of water overnight to soften.
  • Pressure cook it the next day along with  soaked water to retain the nutrients and pigments. 
  • Cook up to 7-8 whistles so that its is cooked till the core. Set aside and let the pressure release by itself.
  • Meanwhile, melt jaggery with just enough water to submerge it. 
  • Once it melts filter it through a sieve and pour it back into the vessel and cook to make a thick syrup similar to what you do for Sarkkarai Pongal. 
  • Once it reaches a thick syrup stage, add the cooked rice sludge and mix well. 
  • Stir in the milk and let it cook for say 3-4 minutes to thicken and incorporate well.
  • Add cardamom. Give it a stir and switch off when you get a thick yet pourable consistency. 
  • Turn off the heat as it tends to thicken further. 
  • Heat ghee in a pan and when it fumes turn off the heat and add cashews to fry them until it turns a deep amber. Drain and set aside.
  • Put the ghee back on to heat and throw in the raisins. Let it puff up and then tip in both the cashews and raisins into the Paayasam.
  • Serve warm.
  • Increasing the quantity of milk will turn the Paayasam to a pale purple colour. Adding condensed milk will further lighten it.
  • Also there is a slight difference in the final taste when it is loaded with milk. The version that I have shared here is more intense on the rice and jaggery taste with a subtle milky taste.
  • You can replace regular milk with coconut milk as well.
  • The same recipe can be used for preparing Pongal. Just reduce the quantity of milk to 3 tbsp and water to 2 cups for a thicker version. Soaking time remains the same.
  • This Paayasam tastes best when had in a relaxed slow pace.
  • Since the rice is low in GI, it can keep you full for a considerably long time

The product range in a nutshell. 

Location Details. 


  1. love the recipe with the traditional touch in the utensils...

  2. Awesome Sowmi, love the presentation, especially the utensil and nearby bangles, very creative. Thanks for the recipe and video info about it.

  3. Priya @asmallbite
    Lovely presentation and awesome share...

  4. Superb Props and awesome set up dear...Never knew we her black rice in India ;)


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