November 30, 2011

Semiya (Vermicelli) Payasam

Payasam (also called as kheer) is a sweet dish / dessert. The term "Payasam" is a Sanskrit word meaning nectar and is derived from "Peeyusham" which is also called "Amrutham". This is also one of the traditional dishes that is compulsorily present in all south Indian function/festival menus. Payasam can based of either sugar or jaggery. Main ingredients of a payasam can be one of these - Dal, rice, poha (aval), vermicelli, wheat flour etc.,

The payasam that I prepared today is cooked with vermicelli & sugar. Actually, when I think of semiya payasam, I remember my mom preparing it every year on my birthday. I used to like this payasam very much when I was young, and so, it became a kind of tradition to prepare this on my birthday. So, I am kind of sentimentally attached to this payasam.

Vermicelli - a handful
Ghee (clarified butter) - 1 teaspoon
Milk - 2-3 cups
Cardamom powder - 2 pinches
Sugar - as required
Cashews - 8-10 nos (broken)
Ghee - To roast the cashews.

Roast vermicelli in ghee until brown in a thick bottomed vessel. Take care not to burn the vermicelli.

Once roasted, add some water and bring it to a boil. After vermicelli turns soft, add sugar and as soon as the sugar completely dissolves, remove from heat. Now, add required boiled milk & cardamom powder to the vermicelli. Roast cashews in ghee and add it to the payasam.

Payasam can be served hot / cold.

  • You can use whole milk to enhance the flavor & it also helps to get a thicker consistency.
  • You can also add roasted raisins (roast raisins in ghee until plump) along with cashews.
  • Instead of vermicelli, you can also use roasted poha (aval in Tamil).
  • Make sure to roast the vermicelli in ghee as the first step in the process (even if you buy toasted vermicelli directly from the store). I remember skipping this step once and payasam turned out to be mushy. It didn 't taste right. Also, vermicelli took longer time to cook.

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