I have made Gothambu payasam many many times and it is my favourite item to complete a Vishu or Onam sadya.
Other than that this payasam also has the distinction of being the first ever thing that I tried my hand at cooking ..!!! It was when I was in my 6th standard. I was at my mom's place for my Onam vacation and I had a friend in the neighboring house called Razia.
After being shooed away from the kitchen for the umpteenth time,( I had a great fascination for the wood stove) I decided enough was enough... we had to try cooking just like the grown ups...!!
The first thing was deciding what to make.. we finally settled on payasam since it needed no cutting or preparing and the ingredients were easy to procure...
Next was where? ... there was a sort of shed, which provided cover from prying eyes... and we decided the cooking had to be done during the grandparents ' siesta time.
So we made a stove with three bricks, got a pot which had a hole near the neck area and the rest of the ingredients were
Gothambu nurukku (cracked wheat) - 1 glass (approx..)
Water - lots of it
Milk - about 2 glasses
Jaggery - 2 big lumps
We successfully lit the stove.. it was very easy to do so since I had watched my Mattemma or Ammamma do the same many times, kept the water on the stove and waited for it to boil... but since the stove was very tiny and could not hold much fuel, it took forever to even heat.. so we added the wheat and the jaggery and restlessly waited... after waiting for what seemed like hours, the jaggery was all liquid and bubbling away.. we tasted it and found it very sweet ..so I added the milk and then we both decided a little more water was called for....
The end result was a very watery, lumpy (sticky cracked wheat, since we did not know to roast it) and smoky..since we did add a lot of dried leaves for the fire to burn quickly...
And we stirred the payasam with a stick since we did not think of taking a spoon from either of the kitchens..!!! Finally, we took our offering to our grandparents ...we were so thrilled about our first cooking effort, that we decided to chance the scoldings.
I remember my grandfather exclaiming in wonder that it was the best payasam he had ever tasted,(he was a sweetheart) and my grandma grumbling about fire and naughty kids... after that afternoon, my grandma did not sleep unless I was also lying down beside her ........!!!
I had posted the recipe of Gothambu payasam earlier... but when Shama invited me to the 'My First Cooked Food Event', I could not resist reliving that eventful day... :)
It was many years before I tried making the payasam again... but by then I knew a bit about cooking ..atleast enough to realise that you didn't just dump everything into the pot and occasionally stir it ....!!
So this is the better and grown-up version of the Gothambu Payasam.