Festive Treats

Semiya Payasam | Vermiceilli Kheer

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Semiya payasam / Vermicelli Kheer is a delicious Indian dessert –  it’s rich, delicate, creamy and extremely delicious! The best part of this payasam is that it can be served either hot or chilled depending on your liking.

Commonly known as kheer in the northern parts of the country and payasam in the south has many interesting legends and myths associated with the origin of this dessert. People in the south relate to a folktale in Ambalapuzha in Kerala, some link it to Puri Jagannath temple in Orissa, where it was served as Prasad, it was mentioned in the Padmavat of Gujarat in the 14th century and it is also mentioned in Ayurveda. So, this dessert is there from the ancient times, evolved and adapted to its current time. Not just in India, but this milk-based pudding is famous throughout the world in various forms. From rice pudding in the West to ksheer birinj in the middle east, this dish has its imprint throughout.  It is loved and even revered by many cultures. It is the star dessert in Indian homes and is made during all festive and celebratory occasions.

Payasam can be made with rice, vermicelli, and/or tapioca pearls. Off late its observed that it is also made with veggies like carrots and yellow pumpkins. Rice or vermicelli is simmered in milk until it is creamy and rich. You can then top it with nuts of your choice – almonds, cashews, pistachios, raisins, and even macadamia nuts. Flavor it with cardamom powder or nutmeg powder or any kind of natural flavoring essence.
Serves – 4


1-1/2 liters full-fat milk,
1 cup vermicelli,
1 cup sugar,
1/4th cup dry fruits of choice,
1/4th cardamom powder,
1 tbsp ghee,
  • In a frying pan, add ghee. Saute the dry fruits of choice. Once golden brown, remove and set it aside.
  • In the same pan, add the vermicelli and saute until golden brown and set it aside.
  • In a heavy bottom pan, add the milk and bring it to a boil. Keeping the flame on low, keep boiling the milk until it’s reduced to 3/4th of its original quantity.
  • Add the roasted vermicelli into the boiling milk and continue cooking.
  • Add in the sugar and cardamom powder and continue boiling in low flame until the vermicelli is cooked.
  • Add in the dry fruits and mix well.
  • Serve either hot or chilled based on your preference. Both taste delicious!!!

What is the difference between Semiya Payasam and Sheer Khurma

Sheer Khurma and Semiya Payasam are very similar to each other. They both use vermicelli, milk, sugar and dried fruit.

The only difference is that Sheer Khurma uses dried dates instead of the raisins. Both are popular at celebrations such as festivals or family gatherings.

Important Tips:

If you are making Semiya Payasam for the first time follow these tricks and tips to make the best payasam:

  • Roast the vermicelli well in ghee to get a nice golden brown color.
  • Use full fat whole milk for best results
  • Substitute the nuts according to your tastes
  • Store in airtight container for up to 3 days
  • As the payasam cools down, it will become more thick. If it gets too thick, add some milk and boil.


Even though milk is the main ingredient, other milk derivatives can be used. Mainly, condensed milk and evaporated milk /khoya are used. These two ingredients provide a full-bodied base to the payasam. Dairy products can be used alone or in combination.

Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thefitdotme 

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