Vermicelli Pudding or Payasam (the South Indian term) is an Indian dessert typically served on religious occasions or festivities. It is a delicious dessert, when cooked well, of course. Like this Rich Creamy Vermicelli Pudding that I finally got right. There was a time in my life when I did not get this pudding right. Every time I tried, it was a near disaster.
One day I finally had success with my attempt at making Vermicelli Pudding. It was then that I realized my guests were actually just being nice. I had invited some of my friends for dinner one day and I made this Vermicelli Pudding as dessert.
I thought I did a great job but I could see my friends were struggling to eat it, keeping a straight face. They told me it was delicious but when I tasted it I realized it was actually a disaster. I was totally embarrassed and from that moment on I never attempted it again.
My hubby loves this Rich Creamy Vermicelli Pudding and he insisted I learn to make it well. He couldn’t exactly go to his mum to eat it anymore, we did move miles away from Durban. So after a few more failed attempts I finally got it right. One day I had a light bulb moment and I discovered what I was doing wrong.
My vermicelli was actually being overcooked. You see vermicelli is like pasta, it must be cooked al dente and once the heat is turned off it finishes cooking to a lovely consistency. Frying your vermicelli in the butter ghee from the very start, until the vermicelli turns a rich, golden brown color also makes all the difference to the taste.
Vermicelli is a very fine, like angel hair pasta and you can easily overcook it. Most Indian Spice Stores or local supermarkets stocks Vermcelli. Not everyone serves this sweet dish with Papadums but my family loves it. I often serve it this way, the sweet with the savoury is super delicious.
Most people use sugar and some even use a little water when cooking this Vermicelli Pudding but I prefer to use milk and condensed milk to sweeten it.
You can also adjust the amount of milk you want to use. Some prefer it a thick consistency whilst others prefer it a little runny. Either way it tastes delicious. I do prefer a lot more milk in mine so I normally make it thick and then add milk for if someone prefers more.
- 1 cup/250ml vermicelli broken
- 3 tbsp butter ghee or butter
- 2-3 cups full cream milk
- 3 tbsp condensed milk
- 1/2 tspn ground cardamom/elachie
- 1 tspn ground almond
- Melt the ghee on medium heat. Add the vermicelli and fry until it's a rich, golden brown color
- Add milk, a little at a time and mix well. Allow it to simmer on low heat, with the lid off, until the vermicelli is cooked but be careful not to overcook it. Keep a close eye on it and mix at regular intervals.
- When cooked the vermicelli pieces will still remain whole, but should be soft. Add more milk if you prefer.
- Add elachie and almond powder. Allow the vermicelli to stand for a few minutes before mixing in the condensed milk
- Frying the vermicelli together with the butter allow the butter to soak in and it elevates the flavor
- Be careful not to let the vermicelli overcook or it will become stodgy
- Remove the vermicelli off the heat and wait a few minutes before adding the condensed milk
- I added 3 tablespoon condensed milk but you can add more if you prefer