This delicately sweet saffron-laced semiya kesari or meethi seviyan, an Indian vermicelli dessert, is super easy to make and makes for a festive dessert.
Sweet kesari has been a staple since my childhood. Whenever we craved something sweet, or guests dropped my unannounced, or whenever the occasion called for a small celebration, mom always made kesari. Fragrant with desi ghee, flavored with freshly ground cardamom and topped with fried cashew nuts, kesari is the perfect comforting dessert, which is super easy to make as well.
I have previously blogged recipes for mango kesari and sweet-potato kesari made with rava or semolina flour. But when I run out of semolina, a quick semiya kesari is what I turn to. Semiya kesari or meethi seviyan is a light Indian dessert made with broken vermicelli, a little bit of ghee and other aromatics like saffron.
A pinch of saffron goes a long way in giving this dish an exotic floral essence. The aroma and flavor are hard to beat, so buy yourself a small packet of the world’s best spice!
This stove-top dessert comes together in mere minutes. Top the semiya kesari with fried nuts or dried fruits, add some dried rose petals for color and a touch of whimsy, and you have yourself a simple but delicious dessert.
Kesari is not just served for dessert in South India. A small portion can be served along with any meal, even breakfast and lunch. Or serve it along with a cup of hot ginger tea in the evenings. Dishes with ghee and nuts are a great way to get energized in the cold weather.
I suddenly realized that it is almost time for the harvest festival of Pongal or Sankranthi, and felt this easy festival sweet recipe will help you with the preparations.
- Ghee - 2 tbsp, divided
- Cashew nuts - 8-10, whole or broken
- Semiya or seviyan or broken vermicelli - 1½ cups, loosely packed
- Water - 2¼ cups
- Saffron - a large pinch
- Cardamom powder - ½ tsp
- Rose water - ½ tsp (or use 1-2 drops of rose essence)
- Salt - a tiny pinch
- Orange food color - 1-2 drops, optional
- Sugar - ½ cup
- Dried rose petals - for garnish, optional
- Heat 1 tsp ghee in a large skillet with high sides. Add cashew nuts and fry till golden. Remove and set side.
- Add 2 tsp ghee and dry roast the semiya (vermicelli) on low heat. Keep stirring it constantly and roast till lightly golden. Do not burn. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add water, saffron, cardamom power, rose water, salt and food color (if using) to the skillet. Bring it to a brisk boil.
- Add roasted semiya, reduce heat to low, cover and cook till almost all water is absorbed and semiya is almost done, 5-6 minutes.
- Now add sugar, stir and cook for few more minutes till it is absorbed fully. The sugar will introduce some liquid initially which will soon be absorbed.
- Add 1 tbsp ghee, stir for a few seconds till semiya is glossy and fairly dry. The semiya strands should be separate and fluffy by now.
- Remove from heat and serve hot, warm or at room temperature, garnished with fried cashew nuts and dried rose petals.
- Serve leftovers in a closed container in the refrigerator. Gently reheat in the microwave or in a warm pan on the stove-top.
2. Nowadays you will get readymade roasted semiya in stores. But I still toss them about in some ghee to add flavor.
3. If you like a really sweet dish, increase the sugar quantity to ⅔ cups. This recipe is just sweet enough for us.
Dig in to a bowl of this warm golden goodness! This delicious dessert can be enjoyed at any time and is a hit with kids and adults alike.
Don’t forget to PIN & SAVE this sweet recipe for later.
Looking for more Pongal recipes or recipes for easy Indian desserts? I’ve got you covered. Check out the following blog posts.
Do you like sweet semiya kesari or meethi seviyan? What other easy dessert recipes do you make? Do share.
Do try this easy recipe and let me know how you like it.
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