Semiya Payasam – Vermicelli Kheer
Weather has been crazy this winter! All of my years here in USA, I’ve always lived in colder states in the mid-west and north-east and yet this seems to be like the most snow I’ve seen. I believe this is the fourth heavy shower of snow this year and although it looks beautiful I’m sooo waiting for the end of this freezing season.
On these chilly days all I can think of is putting my feet up on the couch covered with a blanket and a warm bowl of soup in my hand and savor every spoonful of it. But, if the taste buds are not in the mood for something savory and spicy, a comforting dessert is all that is needed. Semiya/Vermicelli is a type of noodles/pasta made from wheat semolina. It is usually sold as broken into 1-inch pieces or as long strings similar to noodles. It is equally delicious as a savory dish or as a dessert. It is also a staple in most Indian kitchens. Most commonly it is cooked as a savory upma, at times as a pulao and other times as this quick, easy and delicious kheer/payasam.
In addition to the semiya/vermicelli, all that is needed is milk for the creaminess, sugar for sweetness, cardamom for flavoring, cashews and raisins for crunch and ghee for added richness. This sweet is nothing fancy in the sense that I rarely see it being prepared for huge occasions; It is more for those days when you are are looking are short on time but need an easy comforting dessert to please your taste buds. To make this vegan, substitute milk with coconut milk and reduce the quantity of sugar. I haven’t tried it but I’m sure it will taste equally delicious.
Prep time + Cook time: 20 mins
Serves: 4 or 5
- Semiya/Vermicelli – 1n1/2 cup
- Sugar – 1n1/4th cup
- Milk – 3n1/2 cups
- Cardamom powder (freshly ground) – 1 tsp
- Cashews – a fistful
- Golden Raisins – a fistful
- Ghee – 3 to 4 tsps
1. If using un-fried vermicelli, lightly roast them in a non-stick pan with about 1 to 1n1/2 tsps ghee. Set aside when they are palely brown.
2. In a sauce pan, on low-medium heat, heat 3 cups of milk. Stir it every few minutes so it doesn’t burn at the bottom. When the milk thickens a little (after about 5 to 6 mins), add sugar and powdered cardamom seeds.
3. In another small pan/tempering pan, heat 2 tsps of ghee. Add cashews and raisins. Toast them just for a min or so and set aside.
4. Add the fried/toasted vermicelli to the milk. Add 1/2 cup milk. Cover and let cook for around 8 to 10 mins.
5. Add the ghee-toasted cashews and raisins to the sauce pan. Drizzle a couple of tsps of ghee.
Serve warm and enjoy the deliciousness!
- For leftovers, add some milk and heat the kheer as all the added milk is usually soaked up.
- If you like your desserts sweeter, add an additional 1/4th cup of sugar.