Semiya payasam step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
About this recipe
Seviyan kheer or semiya payasam is a popular Indian dessert made with vermicelli, milk, and sugar. It is flavored with saffron, cardamom, and topped with nuts. It is a great sweet dish for not only festivals but also everyday sweet cravings. This creamy and luscious fuss-free Indian-style pudding can be made ahead of parties and gatherings.
Vermicelli kheer is made in most Indian households and the most common method is simmering milk and vermicelli in a saucepan. The stovetop version is simple but needs monitoring and very frequent stirring to make sure the milk does not burn. The Instant Pot version is a dump-and-go method. All we have to do is put all ingredients in the IP and cook on the Porridge mode. It is quicker, does not involve stirring, and is way less hands-on.
I have earlier shared making vermicelli upma in an Instant Pot. Here is my take on making sweet vermicelli in the Instant Pot. Read on for ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and useful tips to make this dump-and-go dessert. For a variation, try Indian-style rice pudding in Instant Pot. Click here for my collection of Instant Pot Indian desserts.
What is payasam
Kheer or payasa or payasam is a type of pudding made mostly with milk. It is one of the oldest forms of desserts, having been made for hundreds of years. The simplest and most common kheer is made by boiling rice and milk together which is then sweetened with sugar. Closest to it is shavige payasa which is made with vermicelli, milk, and sugar. Other common forms of payasam are made using lentils, millets, semolina, and tapioca.
Kheer is flavored with cardamom and saffron. In South India, it is mostly sweetened with jaggery. This sweet dish is called kheer in Hindi, payasa in Kannada, payesh in Bengali, and payasam in Tamil. I love making rice kheer in an Instant Pot as it saves so much time and gives the same results as the traditional method of slow cooking.
Vermicelli: I use roasted vermicelli. If the vermicelli is not roasted, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee and roast it for 4-5 minutes before using.
Milk: Whole milk gives a creamy texture; however, low-fat milk also can be used.
Sugar: I use raw sugar; however, plain white sugar also can be used.
Cardamom and saffron: They are used to add flavor. You can use either one of them or both.
Nuts and raisins: These are added as a garnish. They add a great texture to the pudding. Almonds, pistachio, cashew, raisins, etc. are commonly used.
Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and add ½ cup of water. Once it heats up, add milk (steps 1,2).
Next, add roasted vermicelli and sugar (steps 4,5).
Next, add cardamom powder, saffron, chopped nuts, and raisins. Mix it well (steps 5,6).
Close the lid and put the Instant Pot to Porridge mode for 8 minutes. Do a natural release of pressure (steps 7,8).
Open the lid and mix the vermicelli kheer well (steps 9,10).
Make sure the lid and sealing ring of the Instant Pot is cleaned thoroughly. I set aside a spare sealing ring that I use to make sweet dishes.
Use roasted vermicelli. If it is not roasted, first roast it in one teaspoon of ghee until it is golden brown.
The first step is to set the Instant Pot to saute mode and add ½ cup water. Once the water is hot, add the milk, vermicelli, and sugar. This is a common trick used when boiling milk on a stovetop - add a small amount of water first and heat it so that the milk does not burn.
This sevai kheer will thicken when it cools down. You can add a small amount of milk before you reheat and serve.
You can also sweeten the semiya payasam with jaggery. However, in this case, add the jaggery after pressure cooking the vermicelli and put the IP in saute mode (low) until the jaggery melts. Pressure cooking with jaggery will curdle the milk.
You can use any nuts as per your liking. You can also skip it to make nut-free kheer.
Do not do a quick release of pressure. Wait for the pressure to come down naturally.
As an optional ingredient, you can use 1-2 tablespoons of condensed milk to add richness to the kheer. In that case, make sure to reduce the amount of sugar.
To make it on a stovetop, boil the milk in a saucepan and add roasted vermicelli. Let it simmer until the vermicelli is fully cooked. Then, add sugar and mix well.
Click here to see how to make meethi seviyan, an Avadhi dessert that is similar to this kheer but does not use milk.
Roasted vermicelli works best for this dish. If you are not able to find the roasted variety, make sure to roast it in one teaspoon of ghee until the vermicelli is golden.
This dish can be served warm or cold. This is a personal preference. If you want to serve it cold, make the kheer ahead and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
Store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. It can be stored for 2-3 days. Once stored, it tends to thicken. You can add some milk and thin it out before serving.
The main difference between the two is the usage of dates. Sheer khurma is a popular Afghani dessert that uses a good amount of dates to sweeten it.
This semiya payasam is:
- no monitoring and so easy to make
- creamy, rich, and delicious
- ¾ cup vermicelli
- 4 cups milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup nuts (I used almond, pistachio, and cashew)
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- ½ cup water
- Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and add ½ cup water.
- Once it is hot, add milk, roasted vermicelli, sugar, cardamom powder, saffron, chopped nuts, and raisins. Mix it well.
- Close the lid and put the Instant Pot to Porridge mode for 8 minutes.
- Do a natural release of pressure.
- Open the lid and mix the vermicelli kheer well.
- Serve warm or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.