Saturday, June 21, 2008

Semiya Kesari

We usually invite people over for lunch or dinner, this gives a lot of time for cooking and get the house ready but the side effect is the whole day is spent for just that. Recently we invitied a few of our friends who were visiting from India for breakfast as that was the only time they had free amongst the shopping and site seeing trips. This gave me a pause and made me think a bit to come up with a menu, but it turned out to be a splending idea. Once the breakfast was over we had the whole day ahead to do several different chores making us wonder if we should stick to breakfast and brunch parties!!

Last week we had to cancel our Credit card because it was compromised :( This forced me to start using cash and I was rudely shocked about the rate at which cash seems to disappear. I had to visit the bank 3 times in the space of 5 days. Every grocery visit literally forced a visit to the bank and I could really really see how the rising prices of grocery items is hurting the wallet. Using a CC shields you a lot from this glaring reality. Though I know using cash would force me to shop smarter, I can't wait for my CC to come to me. I want to be an Ostrich again and bury my heads in the sand :)

I was not too worried about the main menu but the sweet dish was what I was pondering over for quiet some time. I did not want to make Rava Kesari or Halwa because I make it often, settled on Semiya Kesari which is just as easy to make but a bit out of the ordinary as well.

    Green Earth I have an easy and very effective way to deal with removing cooking odors from the house that is especially useful during winter time when the windows are all closed and the heater is on and also true when the airconditioning is on. I saw this tip on a TV program on HGTV a long time ago and have used it effectively ever since. The lady suggested using a towel dipped with distilled white vinegar and to twirl it around above the head. I have arrived at a much easier way to do this. Heat a pot of water to boiling and add the vinegar, a tbsp for a gallon of water, let it remain on the stove for a few more minutes. Then carry it to each room. Its amazing the speed with which it removes odors. No need to use any sprays or chemicals.


1. 1 cup vermicelli
2. 1/2 cup sugar
3. 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
4. 1/4 cup of raisins and broken cashews
5. 1 1/4 cup water
6. 2 pinches of kesari powder (for color, optional)
7. 1-2 tbsp of ghee (clarified butter)

1. In a saute pan, dry roast the vermicelli and remove when it just starts to brown. Set aside.
2. Roast the raisins and nuts in ghee and set it aside.
3. In a wide mouthed pan heat water, add the kesari powder if using and sugar. Let the sugar melt and let the water come to a boil.
4. Add in the roasted vermicelli and cook in medium low heat till all the water is evaporated.
5. Add the ghee, nuts and the cardamom powder, mix turn off the heat and close it with a lid and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
6.Fluff with a fork when ready to serve.


  1. Its a very popular sweet all over India and easy to make. Good pic of the semiya kesari.

  2. Semiya is something I haven't tried, ISG. Looks delicious and I can just imagine the feast you cooked for your friends' brunch visit. I wish I had been there too! :)

    Credit cards, oh, yes they let us act like the ostrich but I paid and cancelled mine back in Dec. when I refinanced the house. Now it's just the debit card and amex for emergency. Otherwise I would spend every moment in the grocery ;)

    Have a wonderful Sunday!

  3. Hi Indo..On reading Your post..i tried vinegar on boiling water.It was really a good tip..thanks for sharing..

    btw semiya kesari looks to try this too:)

  4. have never heard of this sweet ie Kesari Bhath made of Semia, very creative Indo. Bet guests were happy!:)

    CC is a life line to me. I keep 3 of them and check every transaction online within 3 days to match with receipt. Once I found a Indian store charged the same amount twice and I immediately e mail the bank, they removed it within few minutes.Arvind is a bot careless with his card, somebody had fun ordering $120 worth of pizza!:D
    Got it taken care of too. Don't use debit card to pay for grocery etc unless it's post office or bank. They clean out your account! CC is always safer, bank will pay you back,might take time.
    Anyway, have a great Sunday, hugs!:))
    btw, I use loads of neutralizer!! Will try vinegar but have to spray to take out the Vinegar odor!:D

  5. Wow that looks realy delicious.
    Yeah i Know , when i sue cash i too seems to spend in moderation than when i use my bank card.
    I never use credit card except in holidays otherwise ijust use the normal card which ( don't know the name) the ban take the money the same day.

  6. looks great indo...semiya kesari is my fav too..i think you have seen it in my blog..heheh..very true abt cash..I am almost scared to even carry something...for nothing stays intact!..

  7. Loved the idea of using distilled vinegar to driver away the odor.

    I liked the idea of making semiya kesari for guests. As you said Rava kesari is common and this one is different. I am making notes for self.

    I hope your CC issue gets resolved soon, ISG.

  8. Devi Priya. Nice to have you here. It was not made that often in my parents or even grand parents house, so the first time I tasted it here, it was a novelty.

    Linda, you should give it a try, the first time I tasted it my friend had actually made it with Vermcelli pasta :)
    I don't use a debit card because as Asha described below it scares me to lose the card. Hope you are enjoying your sunday.

    Lavi, so glad it worked. It has helped me a lot of times when I cook fish or chicken.

    Asha give it a try it is a fancy kesari :)
    You'd be surprised, the vinegar smell does not linger, it evaporates pretty quickly and since it is diluted with water, it is not that strong.
    I know CC is my lifeline too. I never use the Debit card for the exact reason you described. I do keep track of the spending and balance he CC account end of the month but checking it more often than that seems a very good idea.

    HC, I have a card that earns air miles so we tend to use the card for almost everything but moreover cash makes me run to the bank more than I want to. I guess you are using a debit card, but do be careful with that.

    Valli, this is the first time I am cooking semiya kesari, I tend to make rava kesari a lot more. My mom made the semiya kesari. I popped to check out your kesari too, looks great Valli.

    RC, the vinegar works like a charm.
    The semiya kesari is a perfect breakfast sweet and a little exotic.
    Thanks RC, the CC company caught the unauthorized charges quickly enough so there was not too much damage.

  9. good pic...
    nice post....
    feeling like having it!

  10. Sorry to hear about the credit card dilemma Indo, glad you found it out in time... I am so bad with my accounts, I don't check the transactions often enough... :(
    Semiya Kesari looks delicious!

  11. I havent seen semiya kesari before! looks tempting!

  12. Semiya ksari looks nice and tempting. i hv tried twise but nevr came out so good..

  13. Thanks for the tip- it will be very useful for me since my kitchen has no exhaust fan and the odors really seem to linger.
    I have recently started doing the same thing- inviting people over for brunch or lunch and it does make the whole thing much more relaxing and easy to manage.

  14. FF, I'd appreciate if you take a look at some pictures on your website, they have been taken from other blogs. The least any blogger should do is respect the works of other fellow bloggers.

  15. I have heard about this...but never tried b4...looks delicious!!!
    Actually I dropped here to tell you that i tried your vendakkai kara kuzhammbu and we all like it very much...I am made for 3-4 times and comes out very nice ...thanx for the recipe!!

  16. hi Isg, how hv u been? loved the texture of ur semia, mine turns out soggy, so u used only 1/2c water? it gets soft to the bite, right? i gotta' try ur measurements.
    The earth tip is great, very handy for desi cooking.
    Also liked ur beans varuval, i usually make a gravy, would like to try the dry version sometime.

  17. While I am glad for you to get your CC again, I am happy that you were confronted by the actual cost of things :)

  18. Raks, glad you tried the vendaikkai kuzhambu and liked it and appreciate you stopping by to let me know. Do give the semiya kesari a try. Easy to make but delicious.

    Richa, have been doing alright. Thank you. that is 1 1/2 cups of water, corrected it now. After adding the vermicelli when the water runs out, it does look a little hard but don't be tempted to add any more water. Close the lid tight and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. This should cook it completely.

  19. Haven't tried this type of kesari yet, but it looks fantastic! Glad to hear you're getting your CC dilemma sorted out. Thanks for the vinegar tip! So useful especially considering that my kitchen exhaust fan sucks! :)

  20. Thanks for the tips on removing odour in the house. :)

  21. Hi Indo,I tried this Semiya Kesari today after looking at several other blogger's recipes.The pic itself was so tempting that I gave it a try.It came out really yummy, better than the usual sticky ones I make. The water quantity does make a difference.This is similar to the one I tasted in a wedding.This is what I call a real Semiya kesari....mmm...yummmy yummy....

  22. Rema, that is fantastic. I am glad you liked the taste and texture. Yes water quantity is important.


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