Wash the rice in plenty of water and drain. Place the rice in a pressure cooker (at least 10 C in volume) along with 3 cups water, salt (optional) and 1 tsp of ghee. Cook till the rice is done.
While the rice is cooking , mix the jaggery with 1/4 to 1/2 C water. Mix and bring it to boil. Once the jaggery is melted strain to remove impurities. Bring it back to boil and thicken until it reaches the consistency of honey. Set aside. Keep it warm to prevent the syrup from solidifying.
Heat 2 to 3 teaspoons of ghee in a small pan and fry the coconut bits till all pieces are evenly browned. Set aside.
Mix the rice to break it up, and add the jaggery syrup. If using the raisins add them now. Add a little water (about 1 cup) to help loosen up the rice and mix everything well. Bring the payasam back to boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom and burning.
Powder the cardamom seeds. Once the payasam reaches the desired consistency - thick semi solid- add the fried coconut pieces along with the ghee and the cardamom powder. Stir in the remaining ghee and the rock sugar if using. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Use raw white rice when Payasm rice is not available. Pulse the rinsed and dried rice once or twice in the blender to break the grains into pieces before cooking - think cracked wheat.
Add more ghee as per your taste.
Salt is added to enhance the sweetness, though it is typically not used in the temple preparations.
For detailed instructions go to https://oventales.com/nei-payasam-recipe/ .