Semiya Payasam (Vermicelli Sago Milk Pudding)
I didn’t care a damn to manage work and life before marriage. Work was always on top priority for me. I would even work during festivals and holidays. But then it was all OK. Now I feel guilty that I am not able to celebrate these festivals just like my Mom. I hardly find anytime to cook an elaborate meal or make goodies during these festivals. Most of the times I am stuck at work or I am traveling with my husband. Though my work life has improved since I came to this country. I still wish I had more time to do things that I really wanted to.
I have an endless list. I want to spent time on learning new photography techniques, try various cuisines, cook exotic meals, coax myself at spa and lot more. Sometimes I even think of quitting my job. But then this is what pays my bills and helps me to pursue my expensive hobbies like photography. Moreover I am not a person who can stay home all the time. I will seriously get bored. The only solution for this problem is learn to manage time effectively and efficiently. But this is not going to happen overnight
During these festivals I make simple dishes like Semiya Payasam to make myself guilt free and happy. This dish is like a quick fix for the working woman like me. Also it is low in calories and tastes so good that you really want to make them again and again.
How it tasted?
I was super skeptical when I made this traditional Semiya payasam using Fat Free Milk. But to my surprise, it came out extremely well. It tasted just like the ones served during the wedding in my parents hometown. (Till date I consider their payasam as the best) Slurpp. Vermicelli and Sago was properly cooked in milk. The flavor of Cardamon and edible camphor was infused in milk with the Dry fruits and a hint of ghee. Altogether it made this dessert DIVINE. Indeed it was made for Neivedyam on Varalakshmi Pooja. We loved it so much that I made this again on Krishna Jayanthi. Apparently this is the only dessert I made for Neivedyam on both these occasions. For a working woman like me, it was rather a BLISS and I felt complacent for making a prasadham that is really good.
Milk (Fat Free)
1 - 1 1/4 cup ( or as per your taste. I use 1 1/4 cup, this is the perfect sweet level for us)
few pinch (Optional)
Pachai Karpooram /Edible Camphor
Raisins / Kishmish
1 – 2 tsp (for frying)
Soak Sago in warm water for 2-3 hrs.
In a skillet add 2 tsp of ghee.
When it melts add 1 cup of Vermicelli/Semiya and roast it until it turns golden brown.
If you already have roasted vermicelli you can skip this step or slightly roast it in ghee for 30 seconds for additional flavor.
In a heavy bottom sauce pan add milk and bring it to boil.
When the milk starts boiling add roasted Semiya / Vermicelli and let it cook for 7-8 minutes or until it is cooked.
Then add sugar, stir and cook for another 5 minutes.Add Sago and let it cook for 5 minutes or until Sago is cooked.
Soaking in warm water helps Sago to cook super fast.Remove from heat.Add 1/4 tsp sugar, cardamon seeds and grind it to a fine powder using a pestle and mortar.
Add 1 tsp of ghee and fry raisins, cashews until it starts changing color.
Add cardamon powder, a very tiny pinch of pachai karpooram, fried raisins, cashews.
Stir and Serve it hot or cold.You can add saffron and pistachios if required.
Traditionally they are not added in South India.
Please adjust Sugar as per your taste buds.
I would recommend to add 1/4 cup at a time and taste it.
I think the sweetness of Sugar in U.S is little lesser than in India hence I need more sugar.
Use a thick/heavy bottom vessel, it will prevent the milk from burning in the bottom.
Please feel free to use whole milk or 2% milk.
When you leave the payasam for a while it kind of solidifies.
If that happens add some milk with water and reheat.