April 24, 2007
Semiya Payasam (vermicelli payasam)
I have been craving something sweet for some time now. Something simple, something comforting which captured the beautiful sunny weekend. It was gorgeous last weekend. We could sit outside on the porch sipping tea in late afternoon, neighborhood kids were out with their bikes, there was barbecue smoke in the air. Only the icecream truck was missing! I finally settled on semiya payasam for my sweet tooth.
Payasam or payesh is a traditional Indian sweet where rice is cooked in milk till it yields a rich and creamy texture. Two distinct kinds of payesh are ingrained in my food memories. One made with fresh nolen gud (palm juice jaggery) and the other made with saffron which has a delicate aroma and rich, golden color. Since there was no nolen gud, I made the vermicelli payasam with saffron.
1 1/2 cups roasted vermicelli - broken
4-5 cups milk
1/2 cup half & half
1/5 tspoon saffron stands (mixed in warm milk)
1/4 cup almonds (soaked and chopped thinly)
pinch of cardammom powder
Heat milk and half& half in a thick bottomed pan and let it boil on mdium heat. Once it boils over then switch it to medium low heat till it reduces to half. Keep stirring till at regular intervals.
Add the soaked saffron and sugar to the milk and let it cook for another 4-5 min. Add vermicelli and chopped almonds to milk and let it cook for another 4-5 min.