Friday, 30 April 2010

Microwave Semiya Payasam/Microwave Vermicelli Payasam


This awesome dish is one of the few sweet dishes I liked as I usually prefer savory food. I was however clueless about how things will change during my pregnancy. I started loving sweet dishes and was craving for semiya payasam. As I had a tough time during my pregnancy, I had to wait until my 7th month or so for my mom to come and make me her yummy semiya payasam. Her payasam will be so creamy and ice cream like. I remember that my brother used to insist on the payasam served chilled for him while I like it warm. Invariably I will not have a chance to have it when I would come home from work as I prefer it being fresh. Mom had and has a habit of making some sweet dish every Friday as ‘neivedhyam’ and semiya paysam was often on the menu.
After our India trip this year, I am trying to pick up some good habits my mom practises so my son grows up seeing our practise, belief and faith. Considering Friday auspicious and giving importance to offer food to God is part of it. May just be a coincidence but for the last few Fridays I have been using the microwave to make the sweet dish. The ingredients and steps are similar for both microwave and stovetop cooked payasam so you could do either. Here is how I did it...
1/3 cup semiya (I crushed it by hand to make strings small)
3 teaspoons ghee (clarified butter)
Pinch of saffron
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon raisins/sultanas or more
1 tablespoon cashew nuts or more
3 pods Cardomom (Elaichi) if desired – only seeds required
Microwave safe dish
Take a teaspoon of ghee and just melt it in the microwave (takes about 15 seconds). Add the raisins and heat for 15 seconds until it puffs up. Keep the puffed raisins aside and add cashew nuts, heat for a minute stirring in between and keep aside once they turn golden brown. Put the semiya in the left over ghee and stir well so the strings get coated, add more ghee if needed. Heat for about 30 seconds, stir and heat further for 50 seconds. The idea is to roast the semiya golden brown. Keep aside the roasted semiya. Take about 5 measures of milk (5 times the semiya) and heat for 2 minutes. Stir and continue heating for 3 minutes again stirring in between. This helps the milk reduce and provide nice taste and consistency to the payasam. Add the roasted semiya to the milk and cook for about 3 minutes stirring atleast once every minute. If you do not stir often, you will run the risk of getting clumps of semiya rather than separate strings of it. Check if semiya is cooked. Add one measure of sugar i.e. same measure as semiya, cardamom seeds and heat for a minute. Add more milk if required and also the saffron and heat for 2 minutes. Finally add the raisins and cashews. Semiya payasam is ready!!
Semiya is also called Vermicelli and is made of durum semolina, just like pasta. So, if you are allergic to wheat, I am afraid this is not for you.
Cooking time varies depending on microwave and also the quantity you are making. The quantity I used serves 2.

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