Semiya Payasam / Vermicelli Kheer – A Traditional & Favourite South Indian Dessert option that is pure nostalgia for me. Easy to make, few ingredients and an ideal choice for those urgent sweet cravings.
Semiya Payasam (Please Scroll a bit to view the recipe)
Blog Turns 1 Today
It has been a year since I started this humble Blog after much coaxing from my better half who has been always the driving force behind this blog. Honestly, it was his idea that I start blogging and he has been actually pushing me since 2014 but I kept ignoring it saying I had no idea how it is done, nor I knew the nuances of food photography. A holiday back in 2016 to Jim Corbett National Park finally made me realise that I could be a novice in everything and yet pursue my dreams of cooking and sharing my stories, healthy recipes and most important, my passion for everything food.
So, the blog was born last year, this day, on my Mothers Birth Anniversary. The only way I could say thanks to Ma, who taught me all things food!
You have to be certainly blessed to have tasted great food cooked by Ma at home. My school friends would wait for my tiffin box to open and then dive right into the simple meals that were cooked by her. Growing up, we never had the fancy stuff but just basic home cooked food that was mostly roti and a sabzi, usually the South Indian Poriyals with grated coconut on top or the rice varieties like Coconut and Lemon Rice which were the huge hits.
Through the exchange of tiffin boxes from school, college, work, I learnt a great deal about various cuisines which was the foundation stone of my culinary interest. I learnt about different masalas, variety of pickles, chutneys, rice varieties etc and then would discuss the same with Ma. The love for cooking grew with a keen interest in trying them on weekends at home.
Both me and my elder sister learnt to cook at an early age. Ma was a working mother and hence we always made it a point to help her out in the kitchen. We chopped veggies, soaked the tamarind for the sambar or rasam, grated the coconut for the poriyals or molagutal, kept rice and dal in the cooker etc. Few things that Ma always appreciated. The lady worked really hard to support her daughters in getting an education but always did it with a big smile on her face. Her sacrifices are what makes us stronger, independent and not to forget successful in our respective fields/life choices that we both made.
Back then, we didn’t have the luxury of going for vacations or outings or dining in restaurants as we had limited means, a strict budget and had to survive the monthly expenses etc to sail through a particular month. Every month, Ma used to celebrate one weekend by cooking us something nice, I mean deep fried and sweets on a Sunday when we all plonked ourselves in front of television to catch the movies or serials on DD. This was our typical life, no complaints, just thankful we could get a decent education and with hopes that someday, we achieve much more and make her proud!
The best part about Ma was she celebrated all the festivals with good food at home. Be it the South Indian Festivals or the ones that Maharashtra celebrated like Holi, Gudi Padwa etc, food always made its own special place on our table. Ma was a big fan of Puran Poli, Shrikhand etc (yes, she is a pure sweet tooth like me). She loved her Theplas with Amul butter (which was extremely delicious, way back then) as much as she loved her Adai and Vennai (White Butter). She disliked raw salads since she never grew up on those but loved the coconut laden pachadis with the same cucumber and tomatoes finely chopped and tempered. She was very picky and choosy about her food habits, choice of vegetables etc but ensured we ate everything. This is perhaps one of the things I am thankful to Appa. He brought home every single vegetable available in the market during the particular season and ensured that it was tried and tasted by us. The idea of not even wasting a curry leaf behind on the plate after devouring a meal is something I still practice today and all thanks to Appa.
I was perplexed when planning for an apt dish to go with my first anniversary post so just like in most situations, when in doubt, talk to Ma – You obviously find your solution! There was Semiya Payasam, her eternal favourite which she would enjoy warm after a long day at work or on a Sunday when she would make lipsmacking delicacies and lunch would be literally too much to handle. Semiya Payasam may sound so simple, but for me it’s pure nostalgia coupled with fond memories of Ma. It was her absolute dessert choice, loaded with dry fruits and sugar. Post my marriage I learnt that my husband is also a major fan of Semiya Payasam, just like her.
Semiya Payasam or Seviyan Ka Kheer is a Milk Pudding made with Vermicelli and loaded with nuts. While the Kheer in North is slightly thicker and creamier with the reduced milk or sometimes condensed milk added, South Indian version is pretty simple and quicker, often made for festive occasions and pooja at home. Takes pretty much few simple ingredients like milk, sugar, dry fruits and vermicelli and cardamom for flavouring.
Just 20 odd minutes to make 2 bowls of kheer or payasam. Doesn’t it sound quicker? With Semiya Payasam, there are preferences involved – some like it too thin while the others prefer it thick. My husband enjoys a thick payasam that is served at room temperature and not hot or warm whereas I like my payasams and all kheers in general to be hot and in this case, the consistency of the milk has to be thin. My Mother on the other hand, preferred it medium consistency, and always drank her kheers or payasams from a steel tumbler, scooping the vermicelli and dry fruits with a spoon on the side.
Ma was an extremely sweet natured person, always having fun, cracking jokes, a big smile on her face. Her ability to pull through a situation was remarkable. She kept great relations with everyone, had warmth in her heart and home for all. Fed everyone till their hearts content and always ensured that she kept everyone around her, including her kids happy. My Ma was a working Mom who raised her two daughters beautifully, taught them to be independent and most important, be happy with the choices we make. She never had a maid in her entire life, kept herself fit with exercising at home and doing house hold chores every single day. Superwoman, isn’t she?
She has worked harder than anyone I have ever seen in my life. She felt nothing was impossible and those are exactly the principles I live my life with today. A blog post will never be enough for me to share what an influence she has had in my life and today when everyone asks me, how do I manage to do so many different things, I only have a big smile on my face and remember Ma and thank her for inculcating all those values in me.
Masalachilli has made me a better person in the last one year. Pushed me into areas I never thought I could really venture. For e.g. Food Photography is something I discovered only after my blog started and I was 3 months into it. I realized my pictures weren’t even close to what it tasted like, so had to pick up the camera and learn everything from scratch. The blog also gave me opportunities to meet some fine people and call them as my friends.
Life has always a plethora of opportunities waiting for us to grab! I always have believed that and given it my best shot. Of course, you cannot expect everything to work out your way but sooner or later, what you really believe and do, always works out for you in the end.
Never stop believing and working hard for your dreams to come true. Play fair and be true to yourself!
Thanking each and every one of you for being part of this journey, this last one year, for being close to me and the blog, pouring your comments and trying the recipes, for pushing me into areas that I never knew existed and helping me come back strong and determined.
Forever humbled and in debt to all my readers, co-bloggers and my followers across social media. You mean a lot to me so keep sending me those lovely words of encouragement.
Also thank you for the patience shown in reading the entire (read lengthy) blog post.
Read the Recipe Below.
Recipe for Semiya Payasam or Vermicelli Kheer
Makes 2 small bowls of Payasam or Kheer
Prep time – 5 mins
Cook Time – 15 mins
- ¼ cup Vermicelli
- 2 cups Milk
- 3 tblsp Sugar
- A pinch of cardamom powder
- Dry fruits as reqired roughly chopped
- 2 tsps Ghee or Clarified butter
- Heat a thick bottom kadhai, add 1 tsp ghee and roast the vermicelli for 3-5 minutes until slightly golden brown in colour. Keep aside.
- Add 1 tsp ghee to the same kadhai and then roast the dry fruits.
- Add the milk to this mixture and stir well.
- When it comes to a boil, add the roasted vermicelli and mix well
- Keep stirring for 5 odd minutes until you see the mixture thickening.
- Add sugar and just cook it for 2-3 more minutes and switch off the flame.
- Add a pinch of cardamom powder, mix and serve it either hot, cold or room temperature, as per your choice.
- I use a pre roasted variety of Wheat Vermicelli from Bambino so I just saute it for couple of seconds with just few drops of ghee. I use the same for making upmas too, that turn out well and non-sticky.
- The milk that you add here should be of a good quality. I have used Cow Milk as we don’t consume buffalo milk, since its heavy.
- Addition of sugar is entirely up to your tastes and preferences.
- You can add a variety of dry fruits as per your choice. Raisins and cashews are a huge hit and a traditional favourite too.
- Please note that Semiya Payasam tends to thicken as time passes so might need extra milk when you are planning to eat after couple of hours and accordingly will need some sugar adjustment for the sweetness too.
- Even bachelors craving for kheer or students studying abroad and want to treat their friends to a traditional recipe for festivals, can try this recipe in a simple non-stick pan.