Semiya Payasam is a quintessential sweet pudding made in almost all Indian households. It has many different names like Semiya Payasam (in the Southern part of India), Vermicelli Kheer (for a bit modern-ish outlook 🙂 ). Shevaiyan Kheer/ Semiya Kheer (in Northern India). [I will use these names interchangeably in the blog post]. This recipe for Instant Pot Semiya Payasam simplifies the already simple recipe. [Video at the end of this detailed post]
In the days prior to the Instant Pot, this used to be a stove-top recipe for me. Even the stove top recipe is not complicated and a novice cook can prepare it with ease. There is not much technical know-how involved to prepare this creamy luscious sweet. No wonder this has reserved its spot in almost all regional cuisines of India. Of course with some regional flair, but keeping the basic idea of the recipe same.
It usually consists of semiya/vermicelli, cooked in milk and sweetened with sugar and garnished with nuts. Simple, isn't it? Lets break this down a little more and simplify it further. Read on!
The instant pot recipe for semiya payasam makes it even easier to prepare this delicious, creamy pudding. This recipe makes it less hands-on.
[I love my Instant pot and use it to make all sorts of things. Mine is an old version which has been used and used on a daily basis and loved for the past 4-5 years. I will share an Amazon link (for the current one) at the end so that you can take a look and order it online. ]
Ghee is nothing but clarified butter used as the fat component of most Indian sweets. It is used widely in Hindu rituals and is also considered sacred. It is also extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine to make use of its medicinal and healing properties. In this recipe, we do use a little bit of ghee to roast some of the ingredients.
CASHEW NUTS AND RAISINS
These are mainly used as garnishes. There are variations of the recipe where you cook the roasted cashew nuts and raisins along with the Semiya/vermicelli. You could do that. But I like the crunch of the nuts in the shevaiyan kheer and if you have some one in your family who does not like raisins (speaking from experience) it just becomes easier to avoid it while serving.
(I do use some chopped pistachios to garnish. You can totally skip this).
SAFFRON SOAKED IN MILK
Saffron is traditionally not used while making semiya payasam. I like to use it because it enhances the flavor, adds a lovely fragrance and I L-O-V-E the color it imparts. Soaking the saffron in 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk helps infuse the color and flavor better.
Semiya - the star of this recipe. I usually buy the semiya from Indian store or online. You get two types of semiya - the roasted one and un-roasted one. I generally prefer the roasted one because of the uniform golden color. If you cannot get hold of the roasted semiya, you can use the un-roasted variety, just roast it till you get nice golden brown color. Keep stirring to prevent burning and ensure uniform coloring.
I typically use 2% milk. If you use whole milk, the payasam turns out creamier.... and of course delish!
The proportion of Semiya and Milk is important. The proportion I have given in the recipe is what I have been using for the past few years. It works like a charm. Usually, the payasam thickens on cooling down and you might even have to dilute with some milk. If you want a thicker version, boil it a little longer(instant pot in saute mode).
I do not like semiya payasam overly sweet. The measurement I have given is the right amount for my family. If you like your puddings to be a little extra sweet, you can definitely increase the quantity of sugar.
Ground cardamom is the go-to spice for most of the Indian sweets. Freshly ground is always BETTER!
I have also used some freshly grated coconut in the recipe which is not used in a conventional recipe. If you cannot get hold of grated coconut, you can skip adding it. If you do, try adding some and it is absolutely divine. I have always used either freshly grated or frozen (thawed).
SERVING SEMIYA PAYASAM
Start by making this payasam first so that by the time other dishes are ready, the paysam would be just warm enough to be served if you are making this for a feast. According to me, the best way to serve it is chilled. The flavors get a chance to bloom, the sugar is absorbed, the dessert settles downs and gets a little thicker and creamier. (I want some now) :). You can save the leftovers in a closed container and it will last you for a couple of days. If you are familiar with this pudding, how do you like it - warm or chilled?
- This recipe is good for approximately 4-6 people.
- Preparation and cooking time may vary slightly. Plan accordingly. The cooking time denoted is after the instant pot reaches the full pressure. Additional time includes time required for natural pressure release. Might be longer for you. The good thing is after the initial prep work, nothing is majorly hands-on.
- 1 cup= 250 ml.
We made a small video (just over 2 minutes) demonstrating how to make the Instant Pot Semiya Payasam. Do check it out. Let us know what you think. Your feedback helps us get better every time. We look forward to hearing from you.
- 3 cups milk
- ½ cup semiya/vermicelli
- ½ cup sugar
- 1-2 tbsp cashew nuts
- 1-2 tbsp raisins
- 1-2 tbsp coconut (optional)
- ¾ tsp ground cardamom
- Generous pinch of saffron soaked in 1-2 tbsp milk (optional)
- Chopped pistachios (optional)
- Turn on the instant pot in saute mode. Add ghee and let it warm up and melt.
- Roast cashew nuts and raisins separately and keep aside.
- Add the vermicelli and roast for a few seconds.
- Add milk and give it a stir.
- Add the sugar and soaked saffron along with milk.
- Close the instant pot lid and turn the steam release valve into Sealing position.
- Set the instant pot to porridge mode.
- Adjust the timer to 10 minutes and wait for natural pressure release.
- Once pressure is naturally released, open the lid and give a quick stir to break any lumps.
- Add ground cardamom and grated coconut. Mix well.
- Transfer to serving dish.
- Garnish with cashew nuts, raisins, more saffron and chopped pistachios.
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