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.

Garnish with almonds and cardamom powder. It can be served hot or cold. I love it cold and creamy. This is my entry for SHF- Flower Power hosted Monisha at Coconut Chutney. Thank you Monisha for hosting.


  1. Mandira, I have never tried using H & H in semiya payasam...sometimes use condensed milk...should try with this next time....


  2. The payesh looks gorgeous. For the Rice Payesh we too use half & Half
    Adding saffron is a wonderful idea

  3. hey i love payasam and tried couple of time as well but it never came out good, should try u'r recipe

  4. Anonymous2:56 PM

    mandira, this is the one i always make at home. i too never used half and half for the fear that it would turn too thick. may be i should try it now.

  5. i too never used half and half..the payasam looks yummy!!this is my hubby's all time favorite sweet..:-)

  6. Oooh! Glamorized Semiya!!:))

    We call it Shavige payasa,love it.

  7. oh I love it so much!!! What type of vermicelli I should use? Italian or Chinese one... or any other?

  8. That pick is super inviting!!!!!

    I always make with rice..... must try this way with semiya next time. :)

  9. Anonymous10:58 AM

    Thanks for participating ! Your weekend sounds relaxing and delicious with the perfect end to a meal - semiya payasam!

  10. Hey Mandira, such a nice presentation. that almond looks so good there. Nice entry

  11. that is a very good-looking payasam indeed.

  12. what's half and half?

  13. Hi,
    First time to ur blog....U have a nice blog...Ur semiya payasam looks YUMMY....

  14. Thank you everyone. This was quite delicious, and I singlehandedly finished most of it!

    I use 1% milk so adding half and half or creamer works well for me.

    Asha - Glamorized semiya indeed LOL :)

    Gattina - I picked the vermicelli at an Indian store. It's a little thinner than italian vermicelli. I used roasted vermicelli.

    Monisha - thanks for hosting. I'm looking forward to the round up!

    Soleilina - half and half is creamer. You can substitute it with condensed milk and adjust the sugar quantity.

    Sukanya - thanks and welcome to ahaar. Do keep visiting.

  15. Mandira, thanks for your reply! I don't think our chinese vermicelli has a roasted version (they're made from rice...) But I really love how this dish sound! I will make a special trip to an Indian food store. Really thanks a ton!

  16. Gattina - let me know how it turns out.

  17. I love this recipe – my grandma used to make this when she was still alive.

  18. This recipe is so good.. some culinary teachers asked my mom to demonstrate it! :)

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. Wonderful recipe...Thanks for sharing...


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