payasam - vermicelli kheer recipe is a part of most Indian festival
recipes. Not just festivals it is included in most celebration meals. It
is a traditional Indian sweet dish or dessert. It is easy to make,
doesn’t take a long time to cook.
Semiya, sevai, vermicelli, shavige, shevaya all refer to the same ingredient. Wheat or rice based vermicelli or thin strands of pasta.
This vermicelli kheer or vermicelli pudding is known in Indian languages as Semiya payasam (Telugu, Tamil), sevai kheer (Hindi), shavige payasa (Kannada), shevayachi kheer (Marathi).
For this vermicelli or semiya kheer, we use wheat based semiya or sevai. You may buy the long strands or already broken sevai.
You need to break them anyway before roasting. Sevai is available in very thin or not so thin variety. Choose the one you like. I usually buy the thin variety.
Semiya or vermicilli is available easily in most places. It is available roasted as well as unroasted.
Even when you buy unroasted, it really does not take a long time to roast semiya.
You do need to be careful while roasting so as not to burn the sevai. They burn really fast.
Ingredients to serve 2-3
Heat milk in a pot.
Powder cardamom along with a teaspoon of sugar. Keep aside along with saffron strands.
In a frying pan, add ghee, keep heat low.
Add chopped cashew nut pieces and raisins to the ghee .
Fry till cashews are golden. Raisins will also become plump . Remove onto a plate.
Add broken sevai/vermicelli to the same ghee and keep stirring
till they are lightly golden pink.
Take care not to brown or burn.
Stirring continuously is important.
When the sevai roasting is done, add hot milk. Continue stirring and do not let the lumps form.
Let milk start boiling. Keep stiring and Sevai will get cooked in 4 - 5 minutes.
Take out a strand of sevai, press between thumb and index finger to
check if it has become soft to your liking. If not, continue cooking for a
couple of minutes more.
Add sugar. Keep stirring till sugar melts.
Switch off stove.Add the fried cashew nut pieces, raisins, cardamom powder, saffron strands. Mix well. The saffron will start to release some lovely color.
As the kheer cools, it thickens.
You may serve this semiya kheer hot, warm, at room temperature or chilled. It is your choice.
You may serve this as a sweet dish accompanying a festive meal or a party dish.
Serve it as a dessert or a snack. I really like having it at all times.