Vermicelli kheer (Semiya Payasam) | Easy dessert in 20 mins
Last Updated on July 6, 2023 by Santosh Allada
Vermicelli Kheer or Payasam, is a rich, creamy, and classic Indian pudding prepared with vermicelli, milk, sugar, and nuts.
I like Indian festivals for different varieties of sweets (Halwa or Kheer varieties) or snacks every day. Well, a festive meal is always incomplete without a sweet dish. This is a common dessert during festivals or special occasions. In our house, Payasam is a festive or special occasion dessert. Can be either made with vermicelli or rice, as it’s liked by all.
Being a South Indian, I grew up enjoying my mom’s traditional semiya payasam, which she makes in a pan on the stovetop. In the blog, I’ve posted the Rice Kheer recipe too. Do check it.
Difference between Kheer and Payasam?
Kheer is the North Indian version of pudding made using milk and Payasam is the South Indian version of kheer. Another difference between the two is – kheer is of a thick consistency and payasam is of a thinner consistency.
Kheer is a sweet dish or dessert usually made with three ingredients; starch or fruit, milk, sugar or jaggery, and rice. However, there can be various additions to kheer such as oats, poha, dal, or broken wheat, semolina, vermicelli, millet, sago or tapioca, and the list goes on.
Kheer made with vermicelli is called Vermicelli Kheer.
Just like any other dish, this delicious vermicelli kheer has a few variants. In South India, it is called “Semiya Payasam or Payasa or Semiya Pal Payasam ” and “Seviyan Kheer” in North India.
Call it by different names, but no grand Indian meal is complete without a thick milk pudding.
Vermicelli is made out of durum wheat semolina (suzi/rawa). It is one of the most convenient forms of instant cooking for a homemaker and is also used to make savory upma, pulao with vegetables, falooda, and more.
But, vermicelli kheer is one of the most-loved desserts and is relished by all age groups. My 5-year-old kid calls this dish sweet noodles.
In Telugu-speaking homes, this is served at the end of the meal. It is also commonly served on South Indian occasions like functions, festivals, weddings, etc.
About the Vermicelli Kheer recipe
Vermicelli Kheer or Semiya Payasam is one of the simplest and easiest sweet dishes from South India.
The recipe I’m sharing today is my mother’s recipe. It’s a straightforward process that involves roasting the vermicelli in ghee, cooking in water, then adding milk, sweetening with sugar, and adding cardamom for flavor. A few roasted nuts and raisins add the final touch.
The color of the payasam will depend on the color of the roasted vermicelli. In the pics, you can notice a slight difference in the color.
After I followed this recipe once, this kheer is never a special occasion dish but just hunger or craving away. It’s the easiest recipe and is ready in 15-20 minutes, almost the same time as Maggi noodles (For me, Maggi never cooks in 2 minutes. LOL!)
It is a delicious payasam that you can prepare if there are any unexpected guests.
Types of Vermicelli
Two different types of vermicelli are available in the market;
Further, these have varieties with different thicknesses.
Thick and short: It is used to make kheer/payasam.
Thin and long: It is used to make Sheer Khurma.
Reasons to make
A luscious Indian dessert.
Easy and quick to make.
Bachelor and beginner/newbie-friendly recipe.
Does not need any special culinary skills.
Minimal ingredients and minimum effort.
An ideal choice for urgent sweet cravings.
Can be made within 15 minutes.
Liked by all age groups.
An easy comforting dessert when short on time.
If you are making Semiya Payasam for the first time in a pan on the stovetop, you can follow these tricks and tips to make the perfect payasam;
Vermicelli: Use thick and short variety. There are many brands available in the market.
I have used unroasted or normal vermicelli in this recipe. Roast the vermicelli in ghee on low flame till you get a nice aroma and the vermicelli turns light golden brown color.
You can use roasted as well and skip roasting. This will also reduce the slow roasting of the vermicelli. But, I will still recommend roasting the pre-roasted lightly, it will enhance the taste and the vermicelli will be nonsticky.
Ghee: Recommend using ghee instead of oil to roast the vermicelli. It enhances the taste of any sweet dish and gives a perfect aroma too. Use less ghee to roast. Unlike sooji halwa, this dish does not need more ghee.
Heavy bottom pan: Recommend using a heavy bottom pan while making kheer or halwa. Also, always roast on low flame. Vermicelli gets brown color quickly, so do not leave it unattended.
The starch from the vermicelli tends to thicken the milk and the consistency thickens further upon cooling. Usually, water is not added while making kheer. But, in this recipe vermicelli is first cooked in water and next boiled milk is added. This step will give a perfect consistency payasam that is neither too watery nor too thick.
Be careful while adding the boiled milk. The flame should be low, if the flame is high the milk may curdle. Stir continuously to avoid any lumps.
Cook the vermicelli on low flame till it turns almost transparent and is easily mashed between the fingers.
Add sweetener (sugar) only after the vermicelli is cooked.
Consistency of kheer: The consistency thickens as it cools down. Let the consistency be thin before switching off the flame so that it thickens later.
Cardamom: It is used for flavor. So, don’t skip it. You can either use cardamom pods or powder.
If you are using cardamom pods, make sure to remove them before serving them to your guests or family members who do not like them. A sudden bite can make them unhappy.
Vermicelli: There are many brands available in the market and are of mainly two types; roasted and unroasted/normal. You can use anyone. In this recipe, I have used normal vermicelli from the Bambino brand. It is a well-reputed brand of wheat vermicelli that is available in most Indian local grocery stores or supermarkets.
Milk: Use whole milk or full cream milk for a richer, and creamier consistency.
Ghee: It is used to roast vermicelli.
Sweetener: I have used white granulated sugar. Adjust the quantity of sugar as per your taste.
Green Cardamon: Powder or crushed for a nice subtle flavor. I pop out the seeds and pound them in a mortar and pestle to a coarse powder. If you don’t like the black specs in it, then grind them in a spice grinder or can use the store-bought cardamom powder.
Mixed Nuts: I have used cashews and raisins. The other options are almonds, pistachio, chironji.
Optional ingredients: Saffron, Rosewater, Condensed milk, Amul mithai mate, and Camphor (while offering to God).
How to make Vermicelli Kheer
1. Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan over a low flame. When warm, add whole cashews and roast until they start to change color. Next, add raisins and saute until they plump up. Remove them in a bowl and keep them aside.
2. Now add the semiya to the pan. Stir regularly and roast over low flame till it turns golden brown.
3. Add water and mix well. Turn the flame to medium and let it come to a boil. Let the semiya cook till all the water has been absorbed and it turns soft.
4. Add milk and mix well. Cook on medium flame till vermicelli turns transparent and is easily mashed between fingers.
5. Next, add sugar according to taste and green cardamom (crushed or powdered), and stir well. Mix in half the fried nuts and raisins to the payasam.
6. Because of sugar, the water content will increase. So, cook till the milk thickens slightly. Turn off the flame and rest for 5-10 mins. As it cools, the consistency will thicken.
Vermicelli Kheer is ready to serve. Transfer to the serving bowls and garnish with the remaining fried nuts and raisins.
Warm or cold, this dessert tastes great either way. For me, dessert is enough, warm or cold does not matter. LoL!
You can serve depending on the preference of family members.
Refrigerate any leftovers for 3-4 days in an air-tight container.
Refrigeration will thicken the kheer. Add some milk if the consistency has thickened too much.
More Indian desserts recipes
If you’ve tried this easy Vermicelli Kheer recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.
You can also follow me on Instagram to see variations from my kitchen.
Easy Vermicelli kheer (Semiya Payasam) under 15 mins
- 1/2 cup Thick Vermicelli (I used Bambino brand)
- 1 tbsp Ghee
- 1/4-1/2 cup Sugar (according to your taste)
- 1 cup Milk (boiled)
- 1 cup Water
- 1-2 numbers Cardamom (crushed or powder)
- 8-10 whole Cashews
- 8-10 numbers Raisins
- Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan over a low flame. When warm, add whole cashews and roast until they start to change color. Next, add raisins and saute until they plump up. Remove them in a bowl and keep them aside.
- In the same pan, add vermicelli. Stir regularly and roast over low flame till it turns golden brown.
- Add water and mix well. Turn the flame to medium and let it come to a boil. Let the semiya cook till all the water has been absorbed and it turns soft.
- Add milk and mix well. Cook on medium flame till vermicelli turns transparent and is easily mashed between fingers.
- Continue to cook on low flame till vermicelli turns transparent and is easily mashed between fingers.
- Next, add sugar according to taste and green cardamom (crushed or powdered), and stir well. Mix in half the fried nuts and raisins to the payasam.
- Because of sugar, the water content will increase. So, cook till the milk thickens slightly. Turn off the flame and rest for 5-10 mins. As it cools, the consistency will thicken.
- Vermicelli Kheer is ready to serve. Transfer to the serving bowls and garnish with the remaining fried nuts and raisins.