Vermicelli Pudding (Semiya Payasam)

January 3, 2012

Author Notes: Semiya (The Indian Term for Vermicelli pasta) Payasam is such a classic south Indian Dessert that one really does not even pause to consider that pasta is not a native ingredient. This is a staple dessert at weddings & other auspicious festivals. Hauling a can of condensed milk into the kitchen would be blasphemous if the dessert is made for religious purposes, but it makes life OH SO EASY, cuts through the time required!

The cashews & raisins shallow fried in ghee are optional, Although they serve to add an extra dimension to texture.

Serves: 5-6
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min


  • 1 cup Fillini pasta (angel hair pasta cut into 1 inch bits)
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 1/2 cups 2 % milk
  • 10-12 Saffron strands
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cardamom seeds
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter (Ghee) (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Raisins (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Cashew nuts (broken into bits, optional)
In This Recipe


  1. Toast the Fillini pasta in a skillet till it turns into a light golden color. Dissolve the saffron strands in about a tablespoon of milk.
  2. In a Large saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Add the toasted pasta & cook till the Pasta softens (toasting ensures that the pasta does not soften & disintegrate). ~ 5 minutes
  3. Once the pasta softens, add the condensed milk, Powdered Cardamom & the saffron. simmer till the flavors combine
  4. In a small skillet, heat the ghee and toast the cashew nuts till golden, add the raisins into the ghee, stir until they plump up and add this mix into the Payasam. Serve either warm or chilled.

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