Indian Recipes

Semiya Payasam | Vermicelli Payasam

Semiya Payasam is a creamy, sweet vermicelli pudding from the South Indian cuisine. This cardamom-scented vermicelli payasam comes together in 20 minutes and can also be made by beginners. Because they are so simple, you can do it every day when you feel like something sweet or for a festive or religious occasion. I share both the stove top and instant pot method to prepare this delicious Semiya Payasam recipe.

semiya payasam garnished with cashew nuts and raisins in a brass bowl on a brass tray with small brass spoons and white flower on the tray

What is Semiya Payasam?

In South Indian languages, semiya means vermicelli and payasam is a sweetened pudding made with either milk or coconut milk.

In English this means vermicelli pudding – this is made by boiling roasted / fried vermicelli in milk and topped off with sugar and ghee-fried nuts, dry fruits.

It doesn't take much time to make a Semiyya Payasam recipe, and the entire dish is ready in around 20-25 minutes.

Type of vermicelli

Different types of vermicelli made from different cereal flours can be found in Indian markets. Generally, the semiya payasam recipe is made from wheat flour or rice flour vermicelli.

However, you can prepare the Payasam with all-purpose flour (maida) or ragi (finger millet) or rava (sooji or whipped cream) vermicelli.

For health reasons, I prefer semiya made from wholemeal flour, rice flour or ragi flour.

Are Kheer and Payasam the same?

Kheer and Payasam are the same as sweet puddings made from milk. It is known as Kheer in North India and Payasam in South India.

The North Indian Kheer recipes are made with milk. The South Indian Payasam recipes are made with milk or coconut milk.

There is some difference in how Kheer and Payasam are made. In southern India, nuts are fried in ghee or coconut oil and added to the payasam. In northern India, the nuts are added directly to the milk and not fried in ghee.

The North Indian variant of Semiya is Payasam Vermicelli Kheer. However, the method of making vermicelli is different. However, both recipes taste great and are popularly made during Indian festivals.

Step by step instructions

How To Do Semiya Payasam

Fry dry fruits

1. In a heavy pan or kadai, first add 2 tablespoons of ghee. Let it melt. Once it melts add 12 to 15 cashew nuts.

TIP: Use a heavy pan or kadai (Indian wok) so the nuts and vermicelli are cooked evenly and don't burn or turn black.

Add cashew nuts to the ghee

2. Fry the cashew nuts in ghee over low heat until they turn golden.

Fry cashew nuts in ghee

3. Remove the golden fried cashew nuts with a slotted spoon, then add 1 tablespoon of raisins to the hot ghee.

Raisins added to ghee

4. Fry the raisins over low heat. The raisins will soon swell. Stir often when frying.

Fry the raisins in ghee

5. As soon as the raisins swell, remove them with a slotted spoon.

Raisins swell and plump in ghee

6. Set aside the raisins with the fried cashew nuts.

Fried golden cashew nuts and raisins set aside in a steel plate for Semiya Payasam

Toast semiya

7. Before you start roasting semiya, you may need to break these with your hands if using longer semiya. This makes it easier for you to stir while frying.

In the same kadai, add 1 cup of broken semiya (seviyan or vermicelli).

TIP: The semiya can be made from wholemeal flour (atta) or rice flour or all-purpose flour (maida) or rava (sooji or creamy wheat). In this recipe I used semiya, which is made from whole wheat flour. Also, if you've pre-roasted semiya, I would recommend lightly roasting it.

Semiya strands added to ghee

8. Mix well. Keep the heat low and start toast the semiya, stirring frequently.

Semiya strands mixed

9. Fry until the semiya turns golden. Stir frequently while roasting semiya to ensure even browning and so they don't burn. These cook quickly so don't leave them unattended.

Semiya strands roasted golden

Do semiya payasam

10. Once the strands are golden, add 3.5 cups of whole milk. Milk can be chilled, hot, or at room temperature. For a thin payasam, you can add 4 cups of milk.

Note that the payasam thickens as it cools. So add milk according to the consistency you prefer.

Milk added

11. Mix very well.

Mixed milk

12. Keep the heat low or medium-low and simmer until the vermicelli is soft. Stir at regular intervals so that the milk or semiya doesn't stick or burn to the bottom of the kadai or pan.

Milk boils, froths and boils

13. Simmer until the semiya is soft. Scrape off the sides of the kadai where milk solids are building up and add them to the payasam.

cooked and softened vermicelli strands

14. When the semiya has softened, add 4 tablespoons of sugar or add according to the sweetness you want. 4 tablespoons of sugar work perfectly for us. If you want a sweeter payasam add more sugar.

Sugar is added to Semiya Payasam with a steel measuring spoon

15. Scatter ½ teaspoon of cardamom powder on top.

ground cardamom powder on Semiyya Payasam

16. Mix very well and let Semiyya Payasam simmer over low to medium heat for another 2 to 3 minutes. The sugar should dissolve.

Taste test and add more sugar if you want. Note the consistency you prefer as the payasam thickens as it cools.

Cardamom powder evenly mixed with vermicelli Payasam

17. Turn off the heating and add the fried cashew nuts and raisins. You can even save a few raisins and cashew nuts to garnish payasam.

Fried cashews and raisins on the vermicelli pudding

18. Serve Semiya Payasam hot or warm.

semiya payasam garnished with cashew nuts and raisins in a brass bowl on a brass tray with small brass spoons and white flower on the tray

Serving suggestions

Semiya Payasam can be served hot, warm or chilled. When it comes to room temperature you can chill and serve as a chilled sweet pudding later if you prefer.

As it cools and cools, the Payasam thickens. So if you plan to serve it cold, keep it on a light-flowing consistency so that it doesn't thicken too much. If it gets too thick at all, just add some milk to thin the consistency while serving.

warehouse

If there are leftovers, refrigerate them in a covered container for 3 to 4 days. I wouldn't recommend freezing as the taste and texture are changing and far from it.

After cooling, you can reheat the payasam over low heat if you want to eat it hot or warm. Add some milk or water if the consistency is too thick.

Tips

Expert tips

Ingredient information & variations

  • Milk: For a rich, creamy payasam, I recommend making it with whole milk. If you're looking for low-fat options, consider making them with low-fat milk or tinted milk.
  • Nuts: Traditionally, Semiya Payasam recipe has cashew nuts and raisins. Of course, you can also add nuts and dried fruits of your choice.
  • Pasta: As mentioned above, make this payasam with any type of vermicelli – whole wheat, rice, all-purpose flour, semolina, various millets or ragi (finger millet).
  • Flavors: Cardamom powder is the preferred seasoning choice in Payasam. You can also add some strands of saffron.
  • Sweeteners: Payasam is made with both sugar and jaggery. Sugar can be added less or more as needed.
  • Jaggery: To prepare with jaggery, first cook the payasam. Set it aside for 4 to 5 minutes, then add the jaggery only. Use 4 to 5 tablespoons of chopped jaggery or jaggery powder. If you add jaggery to the hot-boiling milk, it will curdle. If you are using coconut sugar or palm jaggery (palm sugar), follow the same steps as you did when adding jaggery. If jaggery contains impurities, simmer it in 2 tablespoons of water over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Filter this jaggery solution and add it to payasam.
  • Vegan variant: Almond milk and coconut milk work perfectly. However, the cooking method is different. Fry cashew nuts and raisins in coconut or neutral oil. Toast the vermicelli in the same oil. Add just enough water to cook the vermicelli. When the vermicelli is soft, add 2.5 to 3 cups of coconut milk or almond milk and raw sugar. Gently warm or heat the Payasam. Not cook. Finish with the cardamom powder and the fried cashew nuts and raisins.

Cooking notes

  • Cooking Payasam: Slow simmering is the key to a good payasam. Remember to cook the payasam slowly so you don't end up with burned milk stains or thick, sloppy payasam.
  • Scaling: Just make a large amount of the payasam for special religious or festive occasions to feed a lot.
  • Serving the deities: When serving the deities, add a pinch of edible camphor when the semiya payasam is cooked.
  • Consistency: For a thicker semiya payasam add less milk and for a thin payasam add more milk. If the payasam gets too thick after cooling, just add some milk to lighten it.

Instant Pot Method

Every Payasam can be made in the Instant Pot. Follow the steps below to pay for these vermicelli in your IP. Use the same proportions of ingredients as indicated in the recipe for the stove.

  1. Fry nuts: Press the sauté button on your IP. When you see the "hot" indicator on the screen, add ghee. Let it melt. Add the cashew nuts and fry until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove and set aside. Add the raisins and fry until they swell. Remove and set aside.
  2. Frying vermicelli: Add the vermicelli. Stir them continuously until golden brown. If the heat gets too high, press the fry button to get the less option.
  3. Pressure cooking: Add milk and sugar. Close the lid and move the pressure valve to the sealing position. Press the porridge button and set the time to 7 minutes with high pressure. When the boil has finished (after hearing the instant beep), quickly release the pressure after 10 minutes.
  4. Fine tuning: Open the lid carefully. Add the cardamom powder and the fried cashews and raisins. Mix and stir. When the consistency is thin to your liking, let it simmer for a few minutes using the roasting function.

More Indian festive sweets!

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Semiya Payasam is a creamy, sweet vermicelli pudding from the South Indian cuisine. This cardamom scented vermicelli payasam recipe is ready in 20 minutes and can also be made by beginners.

Preparation time 5 min

cooking time 15th min

total time 20th min

Servings 4th

Frying dried fruits (stove method)

  • In a heavy kadai, add the ghee. Let it melt.

  • When the ghee melts add cashew nuts. Fry the cashews over low heat until they turn golden.

  • Remove the golden fried cashew nuts with a slotted spoon, then remove the raisins.

  • Fry the raisins over low heat. The raisins will soon swell. Stir often when frying.

  • Once the raisins swell, remove them with a slotted spoon.

  • Set aside the raisins with the fried cashew nuts.

Toast semiya (stove method)

  • In the same kadai, add the broken semiya (seviyan or vermicelli).

  • Mix well. Keep the flame low and start toast the semiya, stirring frequently.

  • Fry until the semiya turns golden. Stir often while roasting semya for even browning.

Doing Semiya Payasam (Hearth Method)

  • When the semiya has turned golden, add 3.5 cups of milk. Milk can be chilled, warm, hot, or at room temperature. For a thin payasam, add 4 cups of milk. Note that the payasam thickens as it cools. So add milk accordingly.

  • Mix very well.

  • Keep the heat low or medium-low and simmer until the semiya becomes soft. Stir at regular intervals so that the milk or semiya does not stick or burn to the bottom of the pan or kadai.

  • Simmer until the vermicelli is soft.

  • Then add sugar. You can add less or more sugar depending on the sweetness you want.

  • Scatter the cardamom powder on top.

  • Mix very well and simmer on low to medium to low flame for another 2 to 3 minutes. The sugar should dissolve.

  • Turn off the heating, then add the fried cashew nuts and raisins. You can even save some of the fried raisins and cashews as a side dish.

  • Serve Semiya Payasam hot or warm.

Instant pot method

  • Press the sauté button on your IP. When you see the "hot" indicator on the screen, add ghee. Let it melt.

  • Add the cashew nuts and fry until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove and set aside.

  • Add the raisins and fry until they swell. Remove and set aside.

  • Add the vermicelli. Stir them continuously until golden brown. If the heat gets too high, press the fry button to get the less option.

  • Add milk and sugar. Mix well.

  • Close the lid and move the pressure valve to the sealing position. Press the porridge button and set the time to 7 minutes with high pressure.

  • When the boiling has finished (after hearing the instant beep), quickly release the pressure after 10 minutes.

  • Open the lid carefully. Add the cardamom powder and the fried cashews and raisins. Mix and stir.

  • When the consistency is thin to your liking, simmer with the roasting function for a few minutes until the consistency thickens.

Serving suggestions

  • Semiya Payasam can be served hot, warm or chilled. When it comes to room temperature, you can chill and serve later if you prefer.

  • Payasam thickens as it cools and cools. So if you plan to serve it cold, keep it on a light-flowing consistency so it doesn't thicken too much. If the Payasam has thickened too much at all, just add some milk to thin the consistency.

warehouse

  • If there are leftovers, refrigerate them in a covered container for 3 to 4 days. I wouldn't recommend freezing as the taste and texture are changing and far from it.

  • After cooling down, you can reheat the payasam over low heat if you want to eat it hot or warm. Add some milk or water if the consistency is too thick.

Ingredient information & variations

  • Milk: Prepare with whole milk for a rich, creamy payasam. If you're looking for low-fat options, do it with low-fat milk or tinted milk.
  • Nuts: Add your choice of nuts and dry fruits.
  • Pasta: You can prepare this payasam with any type of vermicelli – whole wheat, rice, all-purpose flour, semolina, various millets or ragi (finger millet).
  • Flavors: Cardamom powder is the preferred seasoning choice in Payasam. You can also add some strands of saffron.
  • Sweeteners: Payasam is made with both sugar and jaggery. Sugar can be added less or more as needed.
  • Jaggery: To do it with jaggery, first cook the payasam. Set it aside for 4 to 5 minutes, then add the jaggery only. Use 4 to 5 tablespoons of chopped jaggery or jaggery powder. If you add jaggery to the hot-boiling milk, it will curdle. If you are using coconut sugar or palm jaggery (palm sugar), follow the same steps as you did when adding jaggery. If jaggery contains impurities, simmer it in about 2 tablespoons of water over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Filter this jaggery solution and add it to payasam.
  • Vegan variant: Almond milk and coconut milk work perfectly. However, the cooking method is different. Fry the cashew nuts and raisins in coconut or neutral oil. Toast the vermicelli in the same oil. Add just enough water to cook the vermicelli. When the vermicelli is soft, add 2.5 to 3 cups of coconut milk or almond milk and raw sugar. Gently warm or heat the Payasam. Not cook. Finish with the cardamom powder and the fried cashew nuts and raisins.

Cooking notes

  • Cooking Payasam: Slow simmering is the key to a good payasam. Remember to cook slowly so you don't get burnt milk stains or a thick, sloppy texture.
  • Scaling: Just make a large amount of the Payasam for special religious or festival occasions to feed a crowd.
  • Serving the deities: When serving the deities, add a pinch of edible camphor when the semiya payasam is cooked.
  • Consistency: For a thicker semiya payasam add less milk and for a thin payasam add more milk. If the payasam gets too thick after cooling, just add some milk to lighten it.

Nutritional information

Semiya Payasam recipe

Amount per serving

Calories 473
Calories from Fat 126

% Daily Value *

fat 14g22%

Saturated fat 7g44%

Polyunsaturated fat 1g

Monounsaturated fat 1g

cholesterol 34 mg11%

sodium 196 mg9%

potassium 385 mg11%

carbohydrates 77 g26%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 27g30%

protein 10 g20%

Vitamin A. 349IU7%

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) 1 mg67%

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 1 mg59%

Vitamin B3 (niacin) 1 mg5%

Vitamin B6 1 mg50%

Vitamin B12 1 µg17%

vitamin C 1 mg1%

Vitamin D 3 µg20%

Vitamin E. 1 mg7%

Vitamin K. 2 µg2%

calcium 255 mg26%

Vitamin B9 (folic acid) 13 µg3%

iron 1 mg6%

magnesium 44 mg11%

phosphorus 301 mg30%

zinc 1 mg7%

* Daily percentages are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This semiya payasam recipe contribution from the archive (August 2017) was republished and updated on January 19, 2021.

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