Kokkalemada Manjula Devaiah, a regional compliance manager (India and Sub–Saharan Africa) with a US -based multinational company has come a long way from her rural roots in Balele, Kodagu. Hard work, grit and determination have driven her pursuit of a legal education and a corporate career, but her heart remains in Kodagu.

Mother of a young daughter, Hemanthy, Manjula reminisces about her childhood as she fondly recalls her parents’ kitchen garden:”They grew beans, radish, brinjal, chillis, cucumber, ash gourd, pumpkins and more, near the cattle shed behind our home.”

Keen to grow paddy in Kodagu, Manjula feels traditional methods of cultivation that are manual labour intensive should not be seen as a deterrent. Instead, embracing available technological innovations should be the way forward to once again cultivating paddy, a traditional crop in Kodagu.

Manjula shares her recipe for Kumbala Payasa, a delicious dessert made from pumpkin and sweetened condensed milk.

Kumbala Payasa


2 cups grated pumpkin

4-5 tsp ghee

½ ltr milk

½ cup grated copra (dried coconut)

½ cup sugar, or to taste

A few cashews, raisins, and almonds (reserve some for garnishing)

Method of Preparation:

Boil the milk until it has condensed to half the original volume and set aside.

Heat ghee in a deep pan, then add the grated pumpkin and fry on a low flame for 12-15 minutes, or until tender. 

Add the grated coconut, followed by the nuts and raisins and fry till golden brown.

Now you may remove the pan from the stove, mix in the condensed milk, and garnish with the remaining nuts. 

Your kumbalapayasa is ready!

Enjoy this delicious dessert warm, or chilled in the refrigerator.



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