Cardamom is one of my favourite flavours, and it’s carried beautifully by the sweetened milk found in many Indian desserts. My original plan was to make a simplified rasmalai dessert (sweetened dumplings in milk) but it didn’t quite go to plan. I’d already started boiling up the milk sauce though, so I decided to use it as part of another Indian dessert. This isn’t quite an authentic version of semiya payasam as I’ve adjusted it for my own taste, but the result is still a light, fragrant dessert, perfect for the spring.
I’ve decided not to write out a proper recipe as I have no measurements, but here’s a rough outline of how to make it.
1. Heat a pan with a generous knob of butter (ghee if you have it) over a medium heat. Throw in a few handfuls of uncooked vermicelli noddles, broken up into short strands and fry until golden brown.
2. In a separate pan, heat a few cups of whole milk with some crushed cardamom pods. Add sugar to taste and a splash of rosewater. Keep on the heat until the milk has thickened slightly (make sure you keep an eye on it, nothing tastes more horrible than burnt milk…) When the milk is ready, strain it to remove the cardamom pods and add it to the noodles.
3. Cook the noodles in milk until they have softened, then remove from the hob. Allow the semiya to cool in the fridge for a few hours.
4. Serve cold from the fridge – you might like to sprinkle a few chopped pistachios on top to add extra texture.