In a pan or skillet dry roast the chana dal until it turns a golden brown.
Now most sane people who cook chana dal, do so in a pressure cooker. However, having undergone severe childhood trauma involving witnessing a canned tamale/pressure cooker interaction (don't ask)
I have refused to purchase said device as an adult.Rest assured however that this recipe is easily made even if not using a pressure cooker. I'll tell you both ways.
Once the dal is roasted, if you are using a pressure cooker, put the chana dal into it with just enough water to cover it and pressure cook it for 3 or four whistles.
For those of us who use the old fashioned pot method, put the toasted chana dal in a pot with 3 cups of water. You don't want the dal to get squishy, just tender enough to eat.
Bring it to a boil and then turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 1 hour.Set the dal aside.
Meanwhile while that is going on: Soak the jaggery or brown sugar in warm water. The water should just cover the sugar, in other words not too much.
Heat the jaggery/sugar in the pot until it starts to thicken and get creamy.Set it aside.
Heat the 4 tsp of butter or ghee in a skillet, when the butter is hot add in the cashews. Fry them until they are nice and golden toasted. Set them aside.
Reheat the sugar syrup until it starts to thicken. This should take about 2 minutes Add the cooked chana dal to the sugar syrup.
Mash the dal into the syrup.
Once the dal and sugar syrup have gotten mashed together pour in the coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add in 4 tbs of whole milk, and 2 pinches of ginger.
Stir everything together well. Take the pan from the fire and add in the fried cashew pieces.
You can serve this dish hot or cold. Personally I always prefer my payasam to be served warm.
Serve it at your Diwali table or any time for a sweet protein rich dessert