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The Essence of PAYASAM

Onam, the joyous festival celebrated in Kerala, the southern state of India, is known for its vibrant festivities and sumptuous feasts.

One of the quintessential dishes that graces every Onam banquet is the delectable payasam. Payasam, a traditional sweet pudding, holds a special place in the hearts of Malayalis, symbolizing love, warmth, and togetherness. Among the various variations of payasam, the velvety Semiya (Vermicelli) Payasam stands out as an alltime favorite, delighting palates with its rich flavors and creamy texture.

Recipe: Semiya (Vermicelli) Payasam


• 1 cup roasted vermicelli

• 4 cups milk

• 1 cup sugar

• 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)

• 1/4 cup assorted nuts (cashews, almonds, raisins)

• 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

• A pinch of saffron strands (optional)


1. In a deep-bottomed pan, heat the ghee over medium heat. Add the roasted vermicelli and sauté until it turns golden brown, releasing a heavenly aroma.

2. Pour in the milk and bring it to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vermicelli is soft and cooked.

3. Add the sugar to the pan and stir well until it dissolves completely. Allow the mixture to simmer for another 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

4. In a separate small pan, heat a teaspoon of ghee and roast the assorted nuts until they turn golden brown. Add the roasted nuts and cardamom powder to the payasam, giving it a delightful crunch and aroma.

5. If desired, crush a few saffron strands between your fingers and dissolve them in a tablespoon of warm milk. Add this saffron-infused milk to the payasam, giving it a beautiful golden hue (optional).

6. Remove the payasam from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Serve it warm or chilled, garnishing each serving with a sprinkle of roasted nuts. As you relish the Semiya Payasam’s divine flavors, immerse yourself in the spirit of Onam, cherishing the cultural richness and togetherness it signifies. May this sweet delight bring sweetness and happiness to your festivities.

Note: The recipe serves approximately 4-6 people, and the proportions can be adjusted according to personal taste and serving size

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