Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a thick bottomed wide pan or kadai.
Add 3 tbsp basmati rice. Stir the rice grains and saute for about 30 seconds on a low to medium flame or till you get a nice fragrant aroma from the rice. Do not allow the rice to get browned.
Then add milk which has been boiled before. The pre boiled milk can be hot, warm or refrigerated. Stir well.
Bring the milk to a boil first on a low to medium flame. Do stir when the milk is getting heated up, so that the bottom of the milk does not get scorched.
After the milk has come to a boil, continue to simmer till the rice grains are cooked. For quick cooking of the rice, I kept a lid on the pan. But in this case, you have to be in the kitchen so that you open the lid when the milk starts frothing up. Or else you can cook the rice uncovered. But do stir regularly.
Another tip is cover the pan in such a way, so that some of the steam can be passed through.
Continue to cook further till the rice grains are completely cooked. After the rice grains are cooked, you can even mash them while stirring with a spoon or spatula.
Once the rice grains are cooked well, add sugar. Stir so that the sugar is dissolved.
Simmer for a further 8 to 10 minutes till the milk has reduced and the payasam has thickened. Do keep in mind that as this payasam cools it will thicken more, so you can decide the consistency which you want.
Serve paal payasam plain or garnished with saffron, rose petals or sliced almonds. You can serve it hot or cold. Keep in the fridge after it comes at room temperature.