Vermicelli Payasam is a traditional Indian pudding served on special
occasions. Made with vermicelli or semiya and milk, this is a
wholesome dessert, and can be served warm or chilled.
The vermicelli used in this pudding is the thin variety, and it's
roasted in a little ghee (clarified butter) or oil before adding to the
milk to prevent the payasam from becoming sticky. These days you get
vermicelli that is already roasted that you can add directly to the
payasam or to give it a nice aroma, saute again in a little ghee or oil.
You can find the thin vermicelli/semiya in Indian grocery stores. You
can also use the long, angel-hair pasta available in the regular
The cardamom adds a delicate flavor to this dessert. According to
Ayurvedic medicine, cardamom has a cooling effect on your system and is
a digestive aid and is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and
Servings: 8-12 Cooking Time: 60
8 cups whole milk (or low-fat milk)
3 cups sugar (adjust to taste)
1 1/2 cups vermicelli (semiya, MTR or other brand)
cut into 1/2-inch pieces if not already cut
6 green cardamom pods
1/4 cup tbsp raisins
10-15 cashew nuts
1/2 cup almonds, soaked overnight, peeled, and
chopped into small pieces
3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
Heat 2 tbsp ghee or oil in a small pan, and on medium
heat, fry the cashews until golden and remove. Fry the raisins until
they fluff up and turn golden, and remove.
Add the remaining ghee/oil and roast the vermicelli
until golden, and remove in a bowl.
If using already roasted vermicelli, roast again in
ghee or oil for a minute, and set aside.
In a large saucepan, add the milk and almonds, and
cook on medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it
from burning at
Add the roasted vermicelli and cook until the milk
has reduced to half the original quantity.
Add the sugar and let cook for 10 more minutes,
While the vermicelli payasam is cooking, remove the
cardamom seeds from the pods and crush into a powder using a mortar and
pestle. Add the cardamom powder to the milk along with the fried
raisins and nuts, and remove the pan from the heat.