July 8, 2013

Seviya Kheer/Semiya Payasam

My first post in the Desserts Section! Seviya Kheer/Semiya Payasam is a dessert with vermicelli and milk. Personally, I don’t really have a sweet tooth. So I make sweets on rare occassions. The first time I tried Seviya Kheer/Semiya Payasam, the proportion of Vermicelli or Semiya to Milk became a tad too much and it turned out to be a moist pudding which we ate with spoon - you drink Payasam, not eat!. Learnt my lesson and now I have the right proportion for a perfect Semiya Payasam.

As kids, it was my brother’s and my duty to powder the cardamom for Payasam. Of course we tried to push each other to carry out the responsibility. We would remove the cardamom seeds from the pods, carefully place them on newspaper, fold the ear of the newspaper and hit with a smooth black stone till it got powdered (no clue why we had a stone at home). Today we would argue that newspaper ink contains lead and is harmful – which is correct – but.. we all are fine right??

An important and much-loved simple Indian dessert, this Payasam/Kheer is a must in our family for festivals, birthdays and also when relatives come over. My uncle is the biggest fan of Semiya Payasam known to me. According to a story that he recounts after heavy meals, ‘just like a King’s subjects make way for the King to pass through a crowd, a full stomach will never fail to make space for a glass/bowl of Payasam’! I’m sure many sweet-lovers will agree to this.. This post is dedicated to my uncle :)

There are different methods of preparing Semiya Payasam. Some use condensed milk, some use cream. My recipe uses plain milk and sugar. Another point, we prefer it thin/runny.

Seviya Kheer/Semiya Payasam

Vermicelli/Semiya/Seviya - Half cup
Full fat Milk - 1.5 litres
Sugar - 1 to 1.5 cups (1 cup for medium sweetness)
Assorted dry fruits – Cashews, Almonds, Raisins - 1/2 cup
Cardamom Powder – 1 tsp
Ghee/Clarified Butter – 3 tbsp

Getting the Vermicelli ready:
Fry the Vermicelli in 1 tbsp ghee till it is brownish in colour and till it smells mouth-watering.
Even if you are using roasted Vermicelli, it’s better to roast them in ghee for at least a minute or two.

How I prepare:
  1. Heat milk and bring to a boil. Add the roasted Vermicelli to this. You may first find that there’s too much milk and may be tempted to add more vermicelli. No! Be patient. As the milk boils and reduces, the right consistency will be reached. If you and your family prefer a thick kheer/payasam, reduce the quantity of milk.
  2. Add sugar once the vermicelli is cooked and is soft.
  3. Stir constantly to avoid burning the bottom of the vessel. Cook for another 15-20 min on simmer while stirring.
  4. Add cardamom powder. Freshly ground (coarsely) whole cardamom using a mortar and pestle gives the best flavour.
  5. In a separate small pan, heat ghee and add roughly chopped cashews, almonds, and raisins and season the kheer with it.
  6. Enjoy hot or cold, however you love to! :)

For a twist in taste, add 2-3 drops of vanilla essence. This will give a beautiful and distinct flavour which I am sure will be relished by all!
Seviya Kheer/Semiya Payasam


  1. Nice. I will make a trip to bangalore to taste the original.

    1. Yes anytime! Waiting for your next visit :)

  2. The photographs of semiya payasam is also as sweet. Would love to visit Bangalore after reading your recipes..