06 September 2006

Vermicelli and Milk Pudding - SHF23

(Just so I don't offend the traditional Indian chefs reading this, I gave Semiya Paayasam this slightly anglicised name to make it more recognizeable to other chefs in this month's SHF)

Since I first heard of SHF, I've wanted to work on one, but somehow never got around to it. But this month's sounded just wonderful, and I'd just tried this twist on a traditional favourite to rave reviews... from my husband and three-year-old daughter, who're absolute gourmets, and are rather difficult to please.

The traditional Semiya Paayasam is made with roasted vermicelli, milk, and sugar, and garnished with roasted cashewnuts, raisins, powdered cardomom and sometimes saffron.

The last time I made some of this lovely pudding, I thought, why not give it a few extras and see what comes of it?... I decided to fry figs, almonds, and cashewnuts in clarified butter, ground them to a smooth paste and added them to this old-fashioned traditional dish. The result was nothing short of spectacular. So here's hoping this is acceptable as a SHF entry! I'm posting this picture because I don't have a better one :( But I'm going to make it again before the deadline for this SHF, and hopefully get a better picture. (I could use some photography tips here)

Vermicelli Pudding
makes 6 servings

The Basics
1 cup fine vermicelli (broken into 1/4" pieces)
1 liter full cream milk
1 cup sugar (or more to taste)
1/2 cup water
1 pinch baking powder (optional)

1 tbsp chopped cashewnuts
1 tbsp raisins
2 pinches powdered cardomom
1 pinch saffron

The Surprise
4-6 dried figs
2 tbsps chopped almonds
1 tbsp chopped cashewnuts

1/4 cup clarified butter or ghee
(Note: If you're making ghee just for this one recipe, use one stick of butter in this recipe)

Heat 2 tbsps ghee. Lightly fry the figs , cashewnuts and almonds. Let cool.
Grind these to a smooth paste, adding water (if required) a teaspoon at a time. Keep aside.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat remaining ghee (clarified butter).
Lightly fry the cashews for the garnish till golden brown. Keep aside.
Lightly fry the raisins till well plumped. Keep aside.

Fry broken vermicelli , stirring frequently, till it starts to turn golden brown.
Add water and stir well. Add milk and baking powder and bring to a boil.
Lower flame and let the pudding simmer till reduced by 1/3rd. Stir frequently.
Add sugar. Stir and continue to simmer till completely dissolved.
Add the fig and nut paste, and stir until there are no lumps in the mixture.

Pour into a serving bowl, and garnish with the fried cashewnuts, raisins, cardomom powder and saffron.

This dessert can be served hot or cold. Tastes wonderful the next day too.

Note: I use baking powder only if I think the milk is likely to curdle... again, depends on kind of milk.


Alanna said...

What a delicious Sugar High Friday debut! Vermicelli and Milk Pudding sounds wonderful ~ esp with your added inspiration! Look for the round-up over the weekend, I'm so glad you contributed!

Foodie's Hope said...

About time!! :))) Where were you??
Great recipe!! Thanks!!
You missed lot of my posts, take a look!! :D

Nupur said...

What a delicious twist on an old favorite! Figs are indeed special...I made kulfi once with figs and walnuts and was astounded at the flavor.