Paal Vazhakka ~ Malabar Plantain Sago Dessert {Version 2}



Isn’t it such a relief to see a white colored post after an overdose of brown posts in the past month? πŸ˜€ At least, I am feeling so much relief to see a change. Hehe… Another year has started, and we inch closer to our end in this world… Does anybody think of it that way? We celebrate each year with so much aplomb, not realizing that every moment that goes by means that we are losing a chance to better ourselves. There is so much that can be written with this regard. But seriously, I am in no mood to write. My head is buzzing with so much that I am feeling tired. I don’t know if it is good or bad… πŸ™‚ I will leave it at that and move on to the post for the day…


I have already shared a Paal Vazhakka recipe earlier, the way I had it while growing up, just like a payasam. But the one I am sharing with you is what I got to see of late. A couple of years ago, during Iftar at my cousin’s place, she had made this thick gloopy sago mix with intermittent bites of nenthrapazham (ripe plaintain), brown in color because of the jaggery. It tasted amazing, so I asked her for the recipe. While she said it, it clicked my mind that it was a thicker version of the Paal Vazhakka. I clicked a picture, saved it to my favorites on the phone and forgot about it.




Then last vacation, when we were on our way back home after a round at Calicut town, it was raining heavily and we were all starving, since the last meal we had was lunch and it was almost four hours since we hadn’t eaten anything. We thought we would stop when the rains would slow down, but it showed no respite. Finally, not being able to hear the wailing from the back seat, HD asked the driver to stop at any “thattukada” (the road side shops) so that we could have some chai and something to eat. It was already dark and the cooks were already making dinner. You can imagine the aroma of the freshly made porottas and beef roast coming from there… uff! Anyway, HD resisted temptation and came running into the car with a cup of tea and a plate of this white beauty. It was raining, so both had a little layer of fresh rain water on top too. πŸ˜€


As soon as I saw the sago pearls, I had to eat it. My girls are not fond of traditional desserts, so they just had a spoonful and were done. I sat and ate the whole plate. Despite the rain, it was really hot and I almost burned my tongue. But on that cold evening, having a plate of this was bliss! I wanted a second serving but they had already run out of it. πŸ™ After coming back, I just wanted to eat this one evening. I got making it, and was just glad that it tasted as good as what I had eaten. Always use the large sago for this pudding, so that you can see the beautiful transparent balls. The plantains needs to be ripe but firm. And yes, do not miss the tempering of the shallots, cashews and raisins. It just makes it taste even more amazing! It is a very easy dessert, but needs a little cooking time and is really comforting on a cold evening. Off to the recipe…





5 from 1 vote

Paal Vazhakka ~ Malabar Plantain Sago Dessert {Version 2}

Course Sweet
Cuisine Malabar
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 4
Author Rafeeda


  • 100 gm large sago pearls
  • 2 cups thin coconut milk
  • 3 medium sized ripe plantains nenthrapazham, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 3-4 pearl onions cheriyulli, thinly sliced
  • 5-8 cashews chopped
  • 10-15 raisins


  • Soak the sago pearls in water for an hour or till totally plump. Wash once and drain.
  • Mix into the thin coconut milk and bring the mixture to cook. Cook on lowest flame with lid on, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Halfway, add plantains, cardamom, sugar and salt and continue to cook till the sago looks all fluffed up and transparent. Add in some water only if the mixture looks too dry.
  • Once the sago looks completely cooked, add in the thick coconut milk and give a good mix. Switch off.
  • Heat ghee in a small saucepan. Fry the pearl onions till golden brown. Quickly fry the cashews and raisins and pour the mixture into the prepared paal vazhakka. Close the lid and keep covered for five minutes.
  • Mix well and serve warm as side for tea or as dessert or even breakfast!


You can replace the sugar with jaggery. Add the same quantity of grated jaggery.

Join the Conversation

  1. I haven’t had sago in ages! Used to have sago taro coconut soup very often…yours looks so good with plantain and have me really crave some now!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Angie…

  2. I like coconut milk and sago so this looks so yummy. The onion tempering is new for me and will try it!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Sandhya… that tempering is a speciality in Malabar…

  3. 5 stars

    Wow!! What an innovative dish you made!! The flavors and ingredients combo sounds so yum. Can’t wait to try this. Thanks πŸ™‚

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Dhwani… πŸ™‚

  4. this is a unique sweet dish which has the use of onions…you have made it beautifully

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Amrita…

  5. This sago dish is new to me, love the flavours that must have come out with coconut milk and roasted onions with nuts!!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Swati…

  6. I have never heard or seen this dish, but the way you described it everything in your story I was almost visualising the whole picture. What a scrumptious and beautiful treat. Surprise to see onion in the pudding though.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Jagruti… small onion in tempering is a part of our Malabar cooking…

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