Thirukkamdu or Pāyasam is similar to porridge eaten as a dessert. In India, especially in South India, a number of festivals are celebrated throughout the year. Some of these festivals are associated with religious beliefs and some with special occasions like the Tamil New Year. In all these festivals it is customary to prepare a Pāyasam or Thirukkamdu which literally means a special treat. ‘Amudu’ which is used to refer to food also means nectar [Amudam]. Thirukkamdu means special nectar. In North India similar items are called ‘Khîr’.
The South Indians usually begin their meal with a couple of vegetables, rice and dal. After this first course is finished, the Pāyasam is served. It is served in a cup, if it is in liquid form. The solid ones like the ‘Kshìrānnam’  are served in the plate itself. Sometimes plantain leaves are used as a plate and all the items are served on a big leaf. ‘Kshîrānnam’ has a special taste if eaten from a plantain leaf.
There are also cups made of leaves which are called ‘donnai’. These are used to serve the liquid Pāyasams. Along with Pāyasams, a special rice preparation is served. For these rice preparations called ‘Oharai’ check out the ebook ‘Oharai: Special Rice Preparations.