I have had this recipe since forever. It is the kind of dessert you want to eat on a night you are feeling a little vulnerable and out of sorts with the world. It will make you feel great again.
It is so easy, so simple, very wonderful, especially after a hot Indian meal. Given to me by an Indian friend, I believe this recipe is much much better than one published in a recent popular large book on India and Indian food. It is very special.
Nachi made this often and taught me to make it, although he was never too keen to have me cook it for him. He was very particular, and I was still learning, particularly about the precision needed in traditional Indian dishes. One cardamon pod either way, and you could spoil the dish. I had to lose my free-form, flexible Australian ways. We also often made his favourite vegetable dish, Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach Madras Curry.
Wonderful Payasam | Kheer
125 g short Indian vermicelli (about 2 cms in length, or break up longer vermicelli into short pieces) – Indian vermicelli is different to both Italian and Chinese vermicelli
1 Tblspn ghee
1 Tblspn sultanas
1 Tblspn raw cashews
4 Tblspn jaggery or brown sugar
1 tspn cardamom powder
Melt the ghee in a heavy saucepan. Add the sultanas and raw cashew nuts, and stir until the cashew nuts become golden. Remove with a slotted spoon, or the edge of a spoon, without removing too much ghee.
Add the vermicelli to the ghee, and stir until it roasts – browning slightly. Add sufficient water to cover , bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add milk to cover by 1 or 2 cms and cook until it thickens a little – about another 5 minutes.
Add the cashew nuts and sultanas with the sugar and cardamom powder and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved and it is heated through – 2 or 3 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes, and serve as it is.
recipe notes and alternatives
Add saffron to the dish by soaking it in hot milk until the milk turns a deep yellow. Add the saffron with its soaking milk to the vermicelli when you add the milk.