This post goes out to 'Hearth and Soul Blog Hop#41'!
Imprisoned inside our homes for the greater part of the ruthless snowy months, we would plan out with friends over steaming cups of coffee about where our first springtime jaunt will be!Like the rumbling steam inside a heated cooker,the desire to have a peek at the clear,azure sky with sinewy strands of white clouds kept on swelling up in our hearts.The primal nature of man,I believe...the desire to be listlessly free!
And what better a place for this rambuctious freedom than Niagara!We have been there umpteen times now(almost anyone on the countenance of the Americas must have been so!) but the lure of the gurgling waters,cascading down incessantly onto sculpted stones,the banshee strains of the swooshing water playing a lithe tune and the sheer magnanimity of the Falls have managed to leave me spellbound everytime I visit.The Falls,to me,is an ornate pride that steals all glory with humble and silent acknowledgement,years and years on;an exhilarating experience that keeps on lingering in some corner of the being.
Sunny Saturday for us,was thus,a visit to Niagara.It was warm,pleasant and the sun shone bright.A perfect outing and a happy mind!
There has been a post lying drafted for quite sometime now and I intend to put this up before the sun sets on the day!The post is about how I made 'Semaiyer Payesh' for a Friday evening gathering at a friends's place last week.'Payesh',in chaste Bengali,or 'Payasam' is originally a sweetened milk and rice concoction which serves as an auspicious offering to deities as part of Hindu rituals and is a must for a Bengali birthday.There are variations of this recipe though,with rice being replaced by 'Semai' or 'Sevaiyan' which is nothing but sweet Vermicelli.So essentially,the preparation in question is a sweet and creamy Vermicelli dessert.
Just to let you know,I am hosting the 'Let's break Bread together' event at my place and its currently on till April 22. I'd love to have all your yummy Bread recipes to drop in - so do take out time to pay me a visit and keep posted!
Semaiyer Payesh(Sweet Vermicelli dessert)
You will need:
Milk - 4 litres;whole-fat for a creamier texture but skimmed milk will do good as well.
Sugar - About 3/4th cup
Semai or Sevaiyaan or Vermicelli - About 1 and 1/2 half cups;It is easily available in any Indian or Asian store.
Ghee or clarified butter - About 2 tablespoons
Cardamom powder for taste(or one pod whole cardamom)
Cashewnuts and pistachios(as garnish) - chopped roughly
My way of cooking it:
1.Take all the milk in a deep-bottomed bowl and put on heat.Let the milk come to a boil and then let simmer for about 15 mins.
2.In another deep-bottomed sauce pan,heat the Ghee till it melts fully.When heated up,add the Vermicelli strands and stir well.The Vermicelli should be fried to a reddish brown but take care not to burn.This burns up very fast and so it is advisable to keep an eye.
3.Once the Vermicelli is fried,add the milk which has been simmering and has thickened a bit by now.Give a good stir and put up the heat so that the milk now comes to a boil again.Once the milk comes to a boil,add the sugar,give a good stir and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.Add just a pinch of cardamom powder or de-seed the cardamom seeds from the pod and add to the boiling milk.The Vermicelli should be cooked in the milk while the volume of milk gradually gets reduced and turns creamier.
4.The color of the milk will gradually turn from white to light peach.This is partially due to the caramelized sugar and partly due to the fried vermicelli.
5.When the volume of milk is almost reduced to 1/4th of the original volume,put off the heat and let it cool.It is advisable to put off the heat at this point because vermicelli usually absorbs a lot of liquid.Letting the pudding settle down at this point will prevent the pudding from turning too stiff.
6.When warm,spread the chopped cashewnuts and pistachios on top and also strew the raisins.Serve warm or serve cold,either way the dessert tastes lovely!One can even have it with hot,fried Luchis('Luchi' is a Bengali bread made of kneaded flour and fried in hot,smoking oil.'Puri' is somewhat of the same genre,only that it is usually made of wheat and originates in Northern India).
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