God’s Own Country celebrates Vishu as the New Year of their origin. It is the festival of light and fireworks, just like Diwali and the New Year festivities are specific to every region in India. The Vishu celebration usually incorporates a picture of Krishna. Vishu marks the first day of the cosmic year, and hence Lord Vishnu and his incarnation Lord Krishna are worshipped upon the day of Vishu because Lord Vishnu is considered as the God of Time. It was on this day that Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura and in light of this Krishna, Idols of Krishna are kept in the Vishu Kani.
The Malayalam word “Kani” in a real sense signifies “what is seen first,” so “Vishukkani” signifies “that which is seen first on Vishu.” The customary belief is that our future is an element of what we encounter, that the new year will be better if we see what is auspicious and joyful first on Vishu. Accordingly, Malayalis go through the day preparing a setting, typically a plate, of propitious things. This setting is the first thing they see when they wake up on the day of Vishu. The Vishukkani setting comprises of various things like rice, lemon, golden cucumber, coconut cut open, jackfruit, Kanmashi (Kajol), betel leaves, areca nut, Aranmula kannadi/Vaalkannadi (A metal-alloy mirror), Konna flowers (Cassia fistula) that bloom in the period of Vishu, nilavilakku (traditional lamp), an idol of Vishnu and other propitious items. The custom is that Elders light the lamps waking up before everyone else and then awakens younger generations in the family. Once awake, you walk to the Kani eyes shut, and the Kani will be the first thing you see that year. The Mirror in Vishukani is an image of looking at yourself as a part of abundance you see in the form of Kani.
Vishu without some sadhya and some payasam, in the end, is unthinkable and presumptuous. Paal payasam and Vishu are inseparable. This sweet, creamy, rich paal payasam is made at each household during Vishu. So, if you have missed this important part of the Vishu Sadhya, we don’t want you to miss it this time!
PAAL PAYASAM RECIPE
Rice - 1/2 cup
Milk – 3 cups
Sugar – 300 gms
Ghee – 50 ml
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
Cashew nuts – 25 gms
Rose petals to garnish
Wash and soak rice for an hour.
Drain the rice and set it aside.
Allow the milk to boil in a thick bottomed pan, stirring occasionally.
When the milk is reduced to almost half, add the rice.
Once the rice is cooked, add sugar.
Mix well and let the sugar dissolve completely.
Add cardamom powder and continue to cook until desired consistency.
Fry the cashew nuts in ghee separately and mix in payasam.
Put down the fire and finish with ghee.
Serve garnish with rose petals.
Now that you plan on making it, here’s another small tip: try it with a banana. That’s how we roll Kerala Style. But if things don’t add up well, and you are too lazy, Milk Mist has got your back. We have the most delicious Payasam at your disposal at any Milky Mist store. We bet you won’t have had enough of it.