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  • Semiya Payasam -My Shade of White

    Posted on | May 21, 2007 | 30 Comments |

    I’ve been doing a much needed spring cleaning this whole weekend, getting the condo ready for my parents’ visit. They will be spending the summer with us, my mom will be taking over the kitchen for three months, so I decided to organize my pantry and kitchen to make things easier for her to find. When we traded in the luxury of the chef’s kitchen with infinite cabinet space and walk-in pantry for the city life and ocean view, we got stuck with a kitchen where two is a crowd and a pantry where not even Nicole Richie could walk in.  The overflowing pantry made everything impossible to find, which got us into a vicious cycle, we kept buying new stuff whenever we couldn’t find anything, which of course added to the mess. When I finally cleaned out the pantry, there were five bottles of balsamic vinegar, six bottles of fish sauce and four different bags of aniseed, just to give some examples. After a lot of consolidation and throwing out expired items, finally it is in a manageable state. Now we just need to maintain it for three more weeks till my mom gets here, then it is her problem. :-)

    Okay, I forgot where I was going with the story. Oh yeah, during my cleaning process, I came across a packet of vermicelli / Semiya which had been sitting there for a while. Since I’ve been cooking some really hard dishes this weekend, I decided to make an easy one for a change. Hey, give me a break, I’ve been cleaning non-stop. Also, the weather has been pretty lousy today, the gloomy Seattle sky made me crave for something warm and sweet.  

    Semiya Payasam is similar to a regular rice pudding, but instead of rice we use Semiya as Vermicelli is known in Kerala. (shemai in Bengali, seviyan in Hindi and Urdu, shavige in Kannada – from Wikipedia.). Normally this is made with whole milk, I only had fat free milk, that too I didn’t have enough, so I added half a cup of sweetened condensed milk to balance it out. You can omit the condensed milk and use three cups of whole milk instead of the fat free milk.


    • 100 g broken Vermicelli (~ 1/4 lb)
    • 1 dsp ghee/clarified butter
    • 2 cups water
    • 3 cups fat free milk
    • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
    • ~12 cashew nuts
    • 1 tbsp raisins


    Heat ghee in a pan and fry the cashewnuts till brown, fry the raisins till plump and keep aside.

    In the same ghee, saute the vermicelli till light brown and keep aside.

    Bring the water to a boil in a deep pan. Add the fried vermicelli to the pan and cook till half the water is gone.

    Add the milk and sweetened condensed milk and sugar and stir to combine.

    Simmer on medium low till the vermicelli is soft. Add the cardamom powder and stir well.

    Garnish with fried cashew nuts and raisins.

    This can be served hot or chilled.

    Recipe adapted from: Flavours of the Spice Coast by Mrs.K.M. Mathew

    This Semiya Payasam is my entry for this month’s Sugar High Friday – the theme is Shades of White and is hosted by Tara from Seven Spoons.

    Technorati tags:

    Category: Desserts, Diary, India - Kerala, Recipes

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    30 Responses to “Semiya Payasam -My Shade of White”

    1. Richa
      May 21st, 2007 @ 3:04 am

      sig, your shade of white looks beautiful! such yummy stuff :o )
      you must be feeling much lighter after all that cleaning, your excitement about ur parents impending trip shows, enjoy :)

    2. Mishmash !
      May 21st, 2007 @ 3:13 am

      Sig, lucky U! Get pampered when ur parents come…am green with envy…u dont have to cook for the whole summer…wish my mummy was here!! :(
      Btw, need some training on cleaning and organising techniques? u got a friend girl :) A small avatar of Monica of F.R.I.E.N.D.S :D


    3. Swapna
      May 21st, 2007 @ 3:26 am

      That’s the best photo of semiya payasam I have seen so far..Have a great time with ur parents:)

    4. KitchenFairy
      May 21st, 2007 @ 4:07 am

      So u will be free for next 3 months,Lucky girl…Your payasam looks Yummy,I missed lot of recipes here.Need time to read all..Come back later..Convey our love to ur dear mom,Hope that u will come out with her specialities.

    5. Ramya's Mane Adige
      May 21st, 2007 @ 4:50 am

      hey, your payasam looks really good!! I will be having a few guests over for dinner tomorrow and I was wondering what to make…. But now I know :) . you must be so eagerly waiting for your parents to come… u have fun with your folks!! :)

    6. Vcuisine
      May 21st, 2007 @ 4:51 am

      Adding milkmaid gives a real taste to any payasam. Nice presentation Sig. Viji

    7. Roopa
      May 21st, 2007 @ 9:24 am

      payasam looks divine… great picture. Have great time with your parents….

    8. sunita
      May 21st, 2007 @ 11:21 am

      One of my favourite desserts…I love rustling it up for guests when I’m short of time… it’s ready in a jiffy…your’s look divine…

    9. sunita
      May 21st, 2007 @ 11:24 am

      Hey, forgot to mention…have a great time with your folks…like Shn, I too wish mine was here…

    10. Asha
      May 21st, 2007 @ 12:20 pm

      It always turns that off white color Sig.I think it’s ghee we add to that even if it is just teaspoon!!
      Tastes great though,innit?:D

    11. Anita
      May 21st, 2007 @ 1:01 pm

      I too come across a packet in my larder now and then – and then the urge to make it is unput-off-able :-) Amongst the quickest desserts there can be – and there is one brand available here that will not overcook or stick together – so hard to mess up!

    12. Mandira
      May 21st, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

      Hey have fun… it’s so exciting and wonderful to have parents visiting. Enjoy. Your shade of white looks delicious :)

    13. Sia
      May 21st, 2007 @ 7:18 pm

      oh u lucky girl:) i have to wait for another 6 months to have mom’s food n that too i have to fly hundreds miles for that. girl, i am surely green with envy.
      if u need any help with cleaning n organising i am just a call away;) or still better thing would be i will come to ur place if n only if i get to eat amma’s food;) so deal or no deal?;)

    14. Sia
      May 21st, 2007 @ 7:20 pm

      oh!!! i forgot to mention semiya payasa is krish’s fav(oh!!! he loves everything which has got sugar in it;) he just saw ur post and put enough maska to make this for him for weekend. cant say no coz just back from huge summer wear shopping;)

    15. Pravs
      May 21st, 2007 @ 11:55 pm

      yummy payasam !! you must be so excited to have your parents over ..:) Looking forward to your mom’s specialities.

    16. Aruna
      May 22nd, 2007 @ 1:44 am

      Sig!! what a delicious payasam u got in there :-)

    17. Sig
      May 22nd, 2007 @ 5:38 am

      Richa, lol I am feeling lighter from all the exercise I got… :)

      Shn so you are a Monica kind of neat freak, huh? I don’t need techniques, i need someone to do it for me, any plans for the long weekend yet? ;)

      Swapna Thanks :)

      Fairy haven’t seen you in a while.. :) . Free, I don’t know… but I will sure have fun… :)

      Ramya, thanks… have fun at your dinner party…

      Viji, condensed milk sure is tasty, but too rich though, like all good things are… :)

      Roopa, thanks!

      Sunita ,thanks! Semiya Payasam is an easy dessert, I don’t make it often though, don’t know why… :)

      Asha, yep it is off-white, but it is okay, the event is for Shades of white :)

      Anita…gotta love the hidden treasures in our own houses… I don’t make vermicelli stuff often, so didn’t know about the different brands, but luckily the one I used didn’t get sticky or clumpy…

      Mandira Thanks :)

      Sup… so you are another Monica clone like Shn, huh? You should fly into Seattle too… I will take care of the feeding part… :) … Hope you found some good summer stuff, I haven’t done my summer shopping yet… weather keeps oscillating b/w warm and cold.

      Pravs, thanks… yeah I am looking forward to their visit… :)

      Aruna, thanks :)

    18. shilpa(Aayisrecipes)
      May 22nd, 2007 @ 6:10 pm

      You are a lot like me (except for alcohol part :p). If I open my pantry things start falling on my head..hehe…and cloths are scattered in all directions. We have a mail monica at home (hubby), but he is too lazy to get up and clean :(

    19. Mallugirl
      May 23rd, 2007 @ 1:03 am

      i bet u are looking forward to some good food, which actually takes time to cook.ha! i have to do the pantry every three months to keep it in order and u are right.. i do end up with 3-4 packs of spices!

    20. Cynthia
      May 23rd, 2007 @ 1:25 am

      My mom always made this as a treat for us. I love vermicelli. The pic there looks so inviting.

      It is always nice when moms visit and cook eh? :D love it!

    21. Susan
      May 23rd, 2007 @ 4:41 am

      Spontaneous dishes like this are sometimes the best. How lovely that your parents are coming. I’ll look forward to hearing about your cooking with and for them.

    22. Sig
      May 23rd, 2007 @ 5:48 am

      Shilpa, things falling on the head thing happens to me all the time too… lol… male monica… Siv used to be that, finally he gave up and joined the lazy camp… I am that messy :D

      Shaheen… ah, aakkalle… :) I should do my pantry more often too… i just get too lazy, had to do it this time… :)

      Cynthia… u r a vermicelli fan too? Yes moms are the best, I am looking forward to their visit…

      Susan , I hope I’ll cook as much for them as they’ll cook for me :) … but hopefully life won’t get too busy for blogging…

    23. reena
      May 23rd, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

      sig, you lucky girl!! now is the perfect time for me to make that trip to seattle :) )

      i finished my pantry audit and cleaning this weekend. i do it every month and still find unused things sitting in some dabba.

    24. Sig
      May 24th, 2007 @ 7:42 am

      Reena… every month? :) Another Monica… :)
      Been so busy this week to do blog hopping, will catch up with you soon…

    25. DEEPA
      May 24th, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

      white shade looks yummy …..i also made it last weekend .Enjoy ur time with parents…

    26. tara
      May 25th, 2007 @ 5:05 pm

      This is a taste of my childhood (though with my North Indian Mom we had kheer); comforting, simple and wholly delicious! Thank you for taking the time to be a part of this month’s SHF.

    27. Sheela
      May 31st, 2007 @ 6:50 pm

      Hey Sig, just catching up after getting back to the nest… how exciting that your parents are visiting… it always feels like the holidays when my parents visit me and I have to drag myself to work everyday, whining and kicking!! And I do the exact same thing – recently discovered unopened unexpired jars of picked asparagus (which I have been using in recipes recently), pepperoncini, capers and the like!

      For some reason, semiya payasam has never managed to interest me enough so far, but your picture looks nice :-)

    28. Venkatesh Iyer
      January 10th, 2008 @ 8:25 pm

      We have this paysam but do not add cardamom powder. We will try with your recipe also.

    29. Binesh
      June 28th, 2008 @ 3:17 am

      this is really nice explanation and that pic looks great…….