Vermicelli Pudding with Condensed Milk | Semiya Payasam

Semiya Payasam with condensed milk! What can I say about this staple Indian dessert? It is a simple, delicious, everyday and festive pudding made with any kind of vermicelli and flavoured with cardamom, rose water and saffron, nuts and raisins! You can make a skinny or an indulgent version with a plethora of ingredient choices. I like mine with sweetened condensed milk to make it faster and tastier.
Vermicelli Pudding with Condensed Milk | Semiya Payasam
Images updated on 29th Oct 2018. 

How do you use vermicelli?

There are different types of vermicelli and are used for both sweet and savoury dish. In the Indian sub-continent, vermicelli is mostly used for making the classic Kheer or what we South Indians call, Semiya Payasam. We also use it to make savoury Semiya Upma and Semiya Biryani. By now you must have figured, Semiya is Malayalam and Tamil word for Vermicelli or Seviyan. The best way to cook it would be to follow the pack instruction like we do for any kind of pasta but for this vermicelli pudding, we always start with roasting them in ghee. 

What is Semiya Payasam?

Semiya payasam translates to vermicelli pudding aka kheer. The creamy and rich pudding made with the fine roasted vermicelli, cooked in sugary milk, flavoured with cardamom powder is a very common festive dessert of India and Pakistan. The richer version will have ghee fried nuts and saffron to elevate the flavours, especially for any festive occasions. This is best served warm and is good even when chilled. 

Vermicelli Pudding with Condensed Milk | Semiya Payasam

One of the early days at inlaws, Umma requested me to make semiya payasam for a crowd that we were expecting. My only other experience of making Semiya Payasam was when I was here in Yanbu for the first time. I had made it good, just that it used to get really thick when it gets cold and I told F that it is a pudding type of payasam.😜 So I warned her about that, but she asked me to make any which ways... guess she just wanted me to get something done. 😛 To my surprise, it came perfectly well and she was all praise for it. And guess what? She asked me for the recipe! I was over the moon! ---- Ever since that day, making semiya payasam became my task. 

Vermicelli Pudding Consistency

One of my biggest pet peeve in semiya payasam is when the nuts and raisins are sitting at the bottom of the glass. Experienced that? The constant battle to get them all into our tummy before the payasam in the glass gets over. That is why I strongly believe the consistency of a payasam is a personal thing. Some like to have it in a glass and drink, some like it thick enough to gulp it down and some like us like it thick to scoop. The simple ratio I try to follow is for every cup of vermicelli, you will need a litre of liquid in the form of milk and water. 

How to prevent the nuts and raisins from sinking in payasam?

The nuts and raisins tend to sink to the bottom of the glass if the payasam is not thick. But you can prevent this by soaking the nuts and raisins in water or fry them in ghee and continue to keep them in the pan instead of removing them. When they get boil along with the milk and condensed milk, they will turn light in weight and therefore float on top! 

Vermicelli Pudding with Condensed Milk | Semiya Payasam

South Indian Vermicelli Pudding | Semiya Payasam Recipe

Yields: 6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 5 to 8 whole cashews, split
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1 cup vermicelli
  • 2 cups of full-fat milk
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon rose water (optional)
  • a pinch of saffron strands crushed for garnish (optional)
  • dried rose petals for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat ghee on low to medium flame in a wide and deep pot. Add the cashews, raisins and vermicelli one after the other while sauteing until golden. (you may keep some fried nuts and raisins aside to garnish while serving)
  2. Pour the milk and water along with the cardamom pods. Keep stirring the mixture and bring this to a full boil on medium flame.
  3. Reduce to low and add the condensed milk and sugar. Stir the mixture until it starts to thicken. Taste and add more sugar or condensed milk if required.
  4. Switch off and serve warm or room temperature garnished with saffron strands, fried nuts and raisins. 
  5. Refrigerate any leftover and consume within 3 days. The payasam will get thicker as it sits and we love that. But you can always dilute it by adding more water or milk while reheating. 
Vermicelli Pudding with Condensed Milk | Semiya Payasam


I would love to know if you have tried this recipe. You may leave a comment below or follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchaiblog so that I can see your creations! Thank you! 


  1. Mad this today on the occassion of Eid Ul Fitr and it turned out really nice , Thanks for sharing :)


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