Thursday, 18 March 2010

Semiya Payasam (Vermicelli Kheer)

Semiya payasam or Vermicelli Kheer is one of the most easiest and commonly made Payasam aka Puddings in Kerala. These are simple to make and tastes delicious and is sure to please anyone who has sweet tooth. Whenever a celebration hits at home, then it would be a payasam day as well; any kind of payasam depending what people like. Ours used to be a large family and all have different tastes and liking. Some of us including myself likes ‘ Cherupayar payasam or Moong dal payasam’ and some likes this Semiya payasam. So my mom has to make both (not the same day though) to do some justice and stop the nagging of the kids. I have cooked this several times and never had a recipe of mine as such, just eyeball the measurements and add things as it goes. Sometimes ad condensed milk if I have it else add just sugar. Here is a recipe that I got from the Packet of the vermicelli and prepared it as such, apart from adding cumin and dry ginger powder. I saw it in another book and added a bit of it and I loved the flavour.

Semiya payasam (Vermicelli Kheer)
Serves 4-6

½ cup cup vermicelli broken into 2 cm strips
¼ - ½ cup sugar (Start adding ¼ cup first and adjust according to your taste. I added ½ cup, i.e 8Tbsp)
3 – 3 ½ cups whole milk (I used semi-skimmed milk)
5 cardamom pods
¼ tsp dry ginger powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
2-3 Tbsp ghee/clarified butter
¼ tsp salt

1. Roast vermicelli in 1-2 tbsp ghee until light golden in colour; set aside.

2. Bring milk to boil in a sauce pan and add the fried vermicelli. Bring to slow boil, reduce the heat and cook it UNCOVERED for 10-15 minutes by stirring occasionally, until vermicelli is cooked.

3. Add sugar and salt and cook for further few minutes until all sugar is dissolved and the payasam has reached your required consistency.

4. Add crushed cardamom, cumin powder and dry ginger powder, stir well and bring to boil. Dotn boil for too long, just few seconds would be fine. Turn the heat off.

5. In a small pan, add the rest of ghee and roast cashew till golden. Fry the raisins in the same manner until it has puffed up. Add these fried cashews and raisins along with the ghee to the hot payasam. Garnish with some of the fried nuts and fruit or pistachios. Serve it warm or chilled.

Notes and variations:
1.The kheer normally tends to get thick as it cools down in room temperature or when chilled in the fridge. If it happens, just put the payasam back to heat. When hot, add little milk to the consistency you want, stir well and bring to boil again and adjust the sweetness if required. Alternately you can pour some milk and microwave it.

2. You might get roasted semolina from the Asian stores. If using roasted semolina, you may use that directly into the kheer without roasting.

3. You may add ½ can of condensed milk in step 3 and adjust the sweetness by adding more sugar.

4. You can also make saffron flavoured kheer By dissolving few strands of saffron in hot milk and add it to the kheer in step 4 instead of cardamom, dry ginger and cumin, but you may have to boil for couple of minutes to infuse the flavour.

5. You may omit dry ginger and cumin powder and add just the cardamoms.

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