Today is the “Sutha Punnav” or Sacred thread changing festival for Konkanis as well as Raksha Bandhan for all… So when there are two special occasions on one day, it does call for a dessert right? Since a kid, i have been told by my mom that on this day, we should eat either shevai (konkani style string hoppers!) or semiya payasam or in short, anything which resembles threads..
So, as i don’t have the molds for shevai, i make the easy semiya payasam which is my husbands favorite dessert too… Even though i use sugar for this dessert, this time i thought of reducing the quantity of sugar by adding dates to the pudding.. This idea occurred to me after my success with using dates as sweetener in Vegan Gajar ka Halwa..
Though jaggery remains to be my most favorite sweetener, sadly it cannot be used along with milk as it tends to curdle the milk.. Hence dates were the only healthy option left.. I went ahead and prepared the dessert.. But during the taste test towards the end, i found it required a little more sweetness for our super sweet tooth to be satisfied..So, i had to add a tablespoon of sugar and it became perfect..
At the end,i believe it depends upon the level of sweetness you want and the sweetness of the dates.. Even though this dessert is not completely sugar free, it is definitely better that adding a cup for sugar.. So, try out this dessert and enjoy your vermicelli pudding with the goodness of dates in it!
Health Benefits of Dates: Rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, consuming them in adequate amounts provides relief from Constipation, Intestinal disorders, Heart problems, Anemia, Sexual dysfunction, Diarrhea and Abdominal cancer..
2 Cups Milk
1/2 Cup Vermicelli/ Semiya
10-12 Dates / Depending on the level of sweetness of your taste buds and the dates
1 Tbsp Sugar (Optional)
A pinch of Cardamom powder
Dry fruits (pistachios/cashews/raisins) chopped for garnish
1. Heat a pan and lower the flame to medium.. Add the vermicelli and fry till it turns light brown .. Keep it aside..
Note: Take care to fry on medium flame else it can burn..
2. Heat milk along with little water in the same pan and bring it to boil..
3.Meanwhile remove the seeds from the dates and add little of the boiled milk to it.. Keep it covered for later use..
4. Add the vermicelli to the boiled milk and cook on medium flame till the vermicelli is cooked..
Note: Add little hot water or milk if the quantity of milk is reduced..
5. Meanwhile grind the dates along with the milk into a smooth paste..
6. Add the date paste to the cooked vermicelli and mix well..
Note: Now do the taste test.. If you find the sugar level low for your taste, add around a Tbsp of sugar and mix well..
7.Sprinkle cardamom powder.. Mix well..
Serve warm or chilled garnished with chopped dry fruits of your choice..
Note: This pudding tends to thicken with time as the vermicelli absorbs all the milk.. So do not make it ahead of time.. If it does thicken up, add additional 1/2 cup milk,bring to a boil again and serve..