Today being Tamil New Year’s day, I decided to share the secret to making yummy Semiya Payasam in just 5 easy steps. Infact its just 4 steps, as the 5th is only the serving suggestion.
Here we go…
Step 1: Place two pans on the hob. Pour milk into one. Add a spoon of ghee into the other. Turn on the hobs. See, its easy!
Step 2: While the milk gets warm in Pan-1, and the ghee melts in Pan-2, add a cup of vermicelli into Pan-2. Keep stirring the milk. Keep stirring the vermicelli. Yeah, I know you have just two hands, but you sure can use both?! Okay, stir them one at a time. Fine?
When you notice the vermicelli is turning brown, turn off the hob. Oh, its the milk hob you’ve turned off. No, not that one, silly. Hob-2. Never mind, turn it off now, and turn the milk hob back on again. Aw, the vermicelli has got a little burnt. Scrape it off the pan anyway and slide it into a plate or a bowl. Yeah yeah, pick up all the strands that have fallen onto the tabletop but leave those that have fallen onto the ground.
Step 3: The milk is getting nice and hot. He he..talk about ‘multi-tasking’. Add more ghee into Pan-2, and wait for it to melt. Is something on fire? Oh, you forgot to wipe the droplets of ghee from under Pan-2. ok, wipe it off with a dry tissue paper now, and set it back on Hob-2.
Hey!! What’s happening at Hob-1? Help! Help! The milk is boiling over. Turn off the milk hob. Shit… look at Hob-2. Its that damn ghee fuming, literally. Turn that off too, please. Aw no! The milk is all over the hob now, burning and bubbling furiously, and forming a vicious dark crust all around the hob. Darn! Get that damn pan off the hob. Yank off the ghee pan too, dumbo!! Do you want to burn the house down????
Ok, so we now re-do Step 3 with a calm and dignified approach.
Step 3-a: Pour milk into another pan and let it simmer. Keep close watch. No, don’t answer the phone now. Just hold on for a minute, please. Yes, now that the milk has boiled, turn it on a low simmer. Add half a cup of sugar (FORGET the crystals that spill onto the sides of the hob…we can clean that later). Add the vermicelli and let it simmer. No need to look at this hob for some time now.
Step 3-b: Empty the burnt ghee from the other pan, wash it and dry it (unless you have another spare pan available), and put it on the hob again. Add a spoon of ghee, and watch till it melts. I mean, don’t just watch …its beginning to let out fumes again! Do something!! Add the handful of rainsins and cashews. Mmmm…the raisins bloat into little balls…how beautiful. I always love this part. But the cashews…ouch…they’ve got a little burnt. Sigh! You’re tired.. I know..I know. Fine then, we’ll just have to do with black cashews.
Step 4: Wait patiently, until the vermicelli has cooked in the milk. No, please don’t increase the heat setting on the hob. Let it take its time. When the vermicelli almost doubles in volume, and smells good, you know its done!
Step 5: Add a pinch of cardamom powder or whole cardamom if you like, add flaked almonds (if you like). But don’t forget the burnt cashews and raisins (unfortunately, they are not bloated any more, but they do taste good!). And yes, offer some to God, and serve the rest to your friends and family.
See, its that easy. Phew…