Vegan Avalakki Payasa/Poha Kheer
Life is so much beautiful with lil dumpling and my ‘much’ better half by my side. A lot of friends ask me how my life has changed after lil dumpling came in to picture and I just smile and say it couldn’t have been any better! The one with their own lil dumplings understand it and we share knowing look and secret smiles. But the ones who are single or couples with no kid/s give me either amused look or surprised look. They are not exactly ready to believe me when they see or hear a fourteen month old screaming with joy or annoyance in the background! I don’t blame them as I know exactly what they are thinking. Few months back I too was sailing with them in the same boat…
Life does change when you become a parent. All of a sudden you are responsible for a new life that completely trusts you to make every single decision on their behalf. You are responsible for some tiny person’s likes, dislikes, happiness, health, wellbeing and what not! I wanted to be a mother as soon as my baby brother was born! And to some extend, I feel that I am his second mother. So I was well prepared for motherhood as soon as I turned six and half years old! So my heart burst with joy when I came to know that I was carrying a beautiful, tiny life in my womb! I talked to him, sang to him, read to him, hugged him, jumped with him, kicked with him, laughed with him and loved him all those nine months plus one day!!! And then he was here, making our world upside down and taking us on a mad roller coaster ride.
The first few weeks were rough as he was still in special care unit fighting for his dear life! It broke my heart every time when I looked at the tiny life put inside the plastic box with hundreds of wires, needles and tubes connected to his fragile body. No mother, or father for that matter, should go through the pain of watching their small baby fighting to survive! It breaks your heart and shatters it into billions of tiny pieces. When HD wheeled me to show our lil dumpling for the first time I was not prepared to go through what I was about to see in next few minutes. It took me a while to see the beautiful face of my child with pink lips and glorious mane of jet black hair, who had tubes going through his nose, hands, legs, stomach and where not. He was in an incubator, under a blue light, hooked to gigantic machine with alarm that kept beeping once in every few minutes. I didn’t know what to do at that moment. The tears just kept rolling down my cheeks and I felt kind of numbness envelope my whole body and later, my soul! And then, slowly as if he felt our presence, our lil dumpling opened his eyes. I fell in love again, hopelessly, and there was no coming back. This time it was a selfless love which won't demand anything in return. It was his bright eyes that lifted our spirits and gave us confidence for the brighter and better days ahead, filled with love, laughter and happiness!
But the journey was long and painful… Our heart kept shattering when I was discharged from hospital after 5 days and we had to leave our tiny darling in hands of ‘good’ strangers! Just few hours before I was discharged, our lil dumpling too got freedom from some of his tubes and wires. That meant we could at last hold him close to our hearts! Words fail me to describe the moment when I first held him close to my heart! This time the tears I shed were the tears of joy, tears of love and tears of being a mother to this wonderful life in my arms. It was not easy to pack my bags and go back home without our bundle of joy in our arms! Every day we would go to the hospital, me walking with difficulty with the painful stitches on my stomach, to see a tiny tot who was half conscious with all the medications! It was difficult to leave the sleeping baby after cuddling him, caressing his soft pink cheeks, feeding him and then rocking him to sleep! He would grab our fingers tightly as if he knew we would leave him alone and go away! Yes, our hearts shattered every time we left him alone and walked back home. We slowly started to pick those pieces and put them back together as lil dumpling got stronger day by day and it was completely healed on the day when we brought him home 15 days after he was born!
Our life after that was also not very smooth… There were deep cracks and large pot holes on the roads of our journey when we had to rush him to hospitals in the middle of nights. There were some hair pin curves, dangerous slopes and red lights when lil dumpling had to go through numerous blood tests, MRI scans, and some serious tests that I rather like to forget! But every single moment spent with him made us realise how blessed we are to have him in our life. It was he, who made us realise how fragile a life could be, how we must enjoy our present and grab every single good thing that life throws at us with both our hands.
Vegan Avalakki Payasa/Poha Kheer
In the beginning, whenever I looked at the fragile body confined with in a plastic box, connected to hundreds of tubes and wires, I asked myself, why our lil dumpling? What bad thing has he done to any one? HD and me, we have not done any harm to anyone and never ill wished for others! Why us? It took me a while to understand that our life is like a coin with two sides, one side has happiness printed on it and other side has sadness! We have to go through it all. We are not perfect. So how can we expect our life to be perfect? What goes around should come around! That’s the way of life… At that moment all my negative thoughts turned to positive thinking. We had two options left, either sit and cry thinking about every bad thing that was happening in our life or be strong and positive for our baby. We chose the latter as our lil dumpling showed us never to give up without a strong fight. We had all our family and friends support who prayed and wished for our lil dumpling day and night! And all those prayers and well wishes did their magic and lil dumpling is not just alive, stable and is at home but also much ahead in reaching his milestones compared to the kids in same age group! He is now a really happy, healthy, and naughty toddler with full zest for life.
This post is very close to my heart! It took me on an emotional roller coaster ride while penning down my thoughts as it brought back floods of memories, both happy and sad. I did ask myself what is the need to dig the painful wounds to write about it and why now, after 14 months? Well, for starter I wanted to write it for us, me and K, in case in future we forget to appreciate the value of life and how fragile a life could be. This post will serve as a reminder to live our life to the fullest. Life is not perfect, we are not perfect but adjusting with the imperfections of our life and making it as perfect as possible is important! And second reason to write it down is for our lil dumpling, who may or may not read this post. But if he does come across this post he will know how much he is loved and how meaningful, adventurous and joyous our imperfect lives have become because of him! This post will also tell him how powerful a prayer or good wishes are in one’s life. We may not be the perfect parents, we may not be able to fulfil his every wish, but one thing that we promise to do is love him unconditionally. Life is too short to not to love someone whole heartedly… Life is too short to live in the past that has gone and worry about future which we have no idea as how it’s going to be… And life is too short to not appreciate little things that bring smiles on our face! And our short life has got new meaning, a lot more interesting, much happier coz of him; our lil dumpling! What more could we want from our life…
A bowl full of heaven: Vegan Avalakki Payasa/Poha Kheer
Last year we couldn’t celebrate Shri Krishna Janmashtami as our lil dumpling was hospitalised for some reason. So this year I was determined to celebrate lord Krishna’s birthday with my own lil Kanha! Avalakki or Poha or Beaten/Flat rice being lord Krishna’s favourite, I decided to make one savoury (Gojjavalakki, recipe coming soon) dish and one sweet dish. This simple Vegan Avalakki Payasa/Poha Kheer takes just few minutes of your time and you'll end up relishing a bowl full of creamy goodness! This Vegan Avalakki Payasa/Poha Kheer is a perfect example of how less is more! Just 5 ingredients, 15 minutes of your time and you have heavenly prasadam of Vegan Avalakki Payasa/Poha Kheer for lord Krishna. My lil Kanha enjoyed each spoonful with relish and literally licked his fingers in the end asking for more! What more a mother wants…
Ingredients for Vegan Avalakki Payasa/Poha Kheer
Vegan Avalakki Payasa/Poha Kheer (Vegan Beaten/Flat Rice and Coconut Pudding)
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 10-12 mins
Serves: 3-4 people
Spice Level: N/A
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Recipe Source: my Atte (MIL)
Serving Suggestion: As dessert
1 cup Avalakki/Poha/Beaten Rice
1 cup thick Coconut Milk
¾ cup Jaggery/Palm Sugar
Few roasted Cashew Nuts and Raisins/Sultanas
5-6 Green Cardamoms, peeled and seeds crushed to fine powder
Vegan Avalakki Payasa/Poha Kheer
Place poha or beaten rice in a colander and give it a quick rinse under running water. Keep it aside until needed.
Heat about ½ cup of water and add jaggery to it. Once the jaggery completely dissolves, in about 3 minutes, pass it through the sieve to remove any impurity.
Transfer the jaggery water back into the pan and add rinsed poha. Let it cook for two minutes on medium flame.
Next add coconut milk and give it a good stir. Let it cook for 5 minutes, stirring in between, on medium flame.
Now add crushed cardamom powder and roasted cashew nuts and raisins. Add little more water, if needed, to get the required consistency and let it simmer for a minute or two.
Serve this quick, no fuss and unbelievably delicious Vegan Avalakki Payasa/Poha Kheer hot or warm or at room temperature or chilled and enjoy!
Vegan Avalakki Payasa/Poha Kheer
- You can substitute coconut milk with full fat milk.
- You can also roast the cashew nuts and raisins in ghee to add aromatic twist the Vegan Avalakki Payasa/Poha Kheer.
- And similarly jaggery can be substituted with sugar.