Navarathri Special: Semiya (Vermicelli) Kesari, Step-by-Step

For Day 4 of Navarathri, a very traditional dessert dish – Semiya Kesari !ย A pudding style sweet dish, traditionally made in our house for festive occasions. Very quick to make (takes all of 10 mins) and tastes delicious!


Hello all! ๐Ÿ˜€ It is day four of Navarathri today, and I see a lot of people posting pretty pictures of their Navarathri dolls and naivedhyams (offerings) on social media. I had decided to make the conventional Rava Kesari today, but I discovered last-minute that I had unfortunately run out of Rava (Semolina). Instantly, I thought of substituting it with Semiya/Vermicelli instead, since this is something we have always done. Some of us in our family even prefer this dish to the original version ๐Ÿ™‚ This is a very quick and easy recipe; the whole process barely takes 10 minutes. So, if you are pressed for timing don’t have Rava handy, then making Semiya Kesari is your best bet!


Rava Kesari can be slightly tricky- it can be a little under-cooked or overcooked, with clumpy bits if not taken care of with the right proportions. Semiya on the other hand, is much more straightforward and easier to achieve. Also, if you are bored of Semiya payasam, you can give this one a shot! ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Semiya/Vermicelli- Roasted, 1 cup
  2. Sugar- 3/4 cup
  3. Cardamom- ground to a coarse powder, 1/2 tsp
  4. Cashew nuts- broken, a few
  5. Ghee/Clarified Butter- 3-4 tsp
  6. Food Colour (Optional) – I used just a pinch of Saffron yellow


  • Dry roast your vermicelli in a pan without oil until golden. If you buy roasted vermicelli, skip this step.


  • Heat 2 cups of water in a pan, with a teaspoon of ghee. Let it come to a rolling boil. The ghee will ensure the grains are separate and does not clump together.


  • To this, add your roasted vermicelli and stir vigorously to avoid clumping and allow even cooking.


  • Turn the flame to the lowest setting and let it cook, covered, for about 5-6 minutes.


  • Meanwhile, mix a pinch of food colour in a teaspoon of ย warm water or milk. (Alternatively, you could soak a few strands of saffron in warm milk for 10 minutes and then add, it will add a lovely colour as well as fragrance to this dish).


  • Once you find that the vermicelli has cooked through (you can just take some and try to press it in between your fingers; if it mashes easily, it’s cooked through), add your sugar and food colour and give it a good mix.


  • At this point, you will find that your Kesari becomes loose in consistency because of the sugar melting. Let all the water evaporate, your Kesari will slowly come together and become thicker. It will thicken further once it cools down, anyway, so keep that in mind.


  • Switch off the flame. Add cardamom powder and mix well.


  • In a separate pan, heat 2-3 tsp ghee. Once hot, break a few cashew nuts and let it turn a nice golden brown colour.


  • Add this to the Kesari. Mix well and serve hot or warm.


  • If you have some condensed milk on hand, just add a teaspoon or two at this point. If not, feel free to skip it. It takes the taste up to another level!



  • The general rule of thumb for cooking semiya is 1:2 (for one cup of semiya, you add about 2 cups of water). However, this may vary with the brand you use. You may have to try a few times to get it right. Two cups should be more than enough, though. I generally use either Bambino or MTR brand for Kesari.
  • If you do not have access to roasted vermicelli, simply fry your vermicelli in a teaspoon of ghee until it turns lightly golden.
  • Sugar is another ingredient to be careful with, 3/4 cup should be more than enough despite how sweet your sugar is. It again depends on the brand you use.
  • Do not let your cashews brown too much, the Kesari will end up having a bitter after-taste.
  • You could also add chopped and fried almonds, pistachios, raisins, etc. to this dish.
  • Feel free to add more ghee to your kesari if you like the flavour; the more the merrier!

Enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜€

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