Your favourite vermicelli kheer (seviyan kheer/ semiya payasam) goes vegan! This vermicelli pudding is a popular desi dessert enjoyed on festivals and special occasions. It's made with roasted vermicelli noodles and coconut and cashew milk, cardamom powder, dried fruit and nuts. This sweet and creamy vermicelli pudding is quick and easy to make. It comes together in just 15 minutes. This kheer is amazingly fragrant with cardamom and vanilla and it's refined sugar-free too! You can enjoy this healthy, vegan version of this popular vermicelli pudding for breakfast as often as you like.
So this will be my first Eid without my Pakistani husband, and I am not gonna lie: I am freaking out a little bit. I am not Muslim, but I always loved that there was just something really amazing about how special that day felt for him and his family.
So where was I. On Eid morning, my (now ex) husband would always run to a mosque to pray. After that, we would visit his brother. Every year, they had this vermicelli kheer (sheer khurma) for late Eid breakfast. I was always dying to try that popular desi dessert, but the only problem is that it's full of milk and ghee, like all Pakistani / Indian desserts. So it's about time I do what I always meant to try: I will veganise vermicelli kheer! It may seem like an insane idea to some. After all, my ex would say it's ghee and milk that makes the dish. But stop me if you can. You can veganise anything. What makes this vegan vermicelli kheer so amazing is that it's way healthier than its traditional version, full of fat and refined sugar. My seviyan kheer is sweetened with dates only, and the combination of full-fat coconut milk and cashew milk works amazingly well here. It's so rich, creamy and satisfying and at the same it time it's lactose-free and cruelty-free. If you know, then you know.
So what is kheer, exactly?
Kheer ( payasa, payasam or phirni) means milk pudding. It's one of the most popular pudding recipes enjoyed In India, Pakistan Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal. Kheer is made by boiling milk, sugar, and rice, although rice may be also substituted with vermicelli noodles, tapioca pearls, millet or even sweetcorn. Typically, it is flavoured with desiccated coconut, cardamom, dried fruit, saffron, cashews, pistachios and almonds. It is a simple yet special dessert, enjoyed mostly on festivals and family gatherings and celebrations. Seviyan kheer (vermicelli pudding) is a sweet speciality of the Eid celebration but it's also a popular Diwali dessert.
So my vegan friends, now you can get the idea of what vermicelli kheer is. This vegan vermicelli pudding is much healthier than the original version, so you can enjoy a big bowl of it for breakfast, not only on an Eid morning. And I think it's going to become one of my favourite staple breakfasts from now on.
Ingredients you'll need to make this vegan vermicelli pudding:
- wheat vermicelli noodles (seviyan)
- cashew milk
- full fat coconut milk from a can
- soft dates (I used fresh Mazafati dates)
- coconut oil
- cardamom powder
- 3 cloves
- cashew nuts
- agave nectar or maple syrup if you want it even sweeter (optional)
- vanilla essence
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
- optional: rose water
- almond flakes
- edible rose petals
What is vermicelli?
Vermicelli (lit. 'little worms' in Italian) is a type of thin noodles. In a way, it's similar to spaghetti but it's much finer. Vermicelli's closest cousins would be angel hair pasta (also called capellini). Vermicelli is available either as thin, long strands or cut into pieces. Rice vermicelli is very popular in noodle soup and dishes in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine but the vermicelli traditionally used to make this Indian pudding is made from wheat flour. Feel free, however, to experiment with millet or rice vermicelli noodles for a gluten-free option. I have seen a few photos of gluten-free vermicelli kheer here and there.
Wheat vermicelli used for this kheer recipe is available at South Asian grocery shops and of course, you can also order it online. Wheat vermicelli is known by many different local names: seviyan in Hindi and Urdu, semya in Telugu, shemai in Bengali and semiya in Tamil. It is very versatile as in the South Asian subcontinent it is used for both sweet and savoury dishes.
What is the difference between sheer khurma and semiya payasam, exactly? I'm confused.
I was too! I'm still figuring things out! Sheer Khurma and semiya payasam are very similar South Asian puddings and sometimes these names seem to be used interchangeably. Both puddings are made with milk, vermicelli noodles, lots of sweetener and dried fruit and they are both popular festive desserts. The major difference between these two is that sheer khurma uses dates in the recipe and semiya payasam is made with raisins.
As I already mentioned, I am not the biggest fan of raisins hiding in desserts so in my simple vegan kheer recipe I used dates only.
Why you'll love this vegan sheer khurma:
Because it's sweet, delicious and creamy. It's delicate yet decadent. You won't believe it's vegan. This seviyan kheer ridiculously easy to make yet it tastes so special. And also: it's got cardamom in it! My favourite thing about Indian desserts: snorting cardamom.
How to make vegan Vermicelli Kheer / Sheer Khurma / Semiya payasam:
- Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a pot. Add cloves and fry on low heat for one minute until they start releasing aroma.
- Add broken vermicelli and roast in the coconut oil until golden brown, on a very low flame. Keep stirring so they won't burn.
- This is why this my kheer recipe is refined sugar-free: I blend coconut milk and cashew milk with 3 dates and this is how I sweeten this dessert! If you've been checking my other recipes, you know I do the milk date thing a lot (it's my favourite hack for reducing refined sugar in recipes).
- Now add the blended date milk to the pot.
- Add cardamom powder, salt and vanilla essence. Cook on low heat for 5-8 minutes, until milk thickens and vermicelli is soft.
- Add chopped dates, chopped cashew nuts and chopped almonds. Cook for five more minutes on low heat.
- It's ready! Transfer to serving dishes of choice.
- Tastes amazing hot or cold (everyone has their own preference, hehe). Garnish with chopped pistachios, rose petals and almond flakes.
For the full ingredient list, exact measurements, complete recipe method, please scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom.
Tips for the best vegan vermicelli pudding:
- Make sure you roast your vermicelli noodles (seviyan) on a very low flame so you don't burn them!!!
- Feel free to add a bit more coconut oil if you don't worry about fat content.
- Substituting the combination of full-fat coconut milk and cashew milk with another plant milk (like almond milk or soya milk) is acceptable (as in it's not going to be the end of the world) but for the best flavour and creaminess, I highly recommend sticking to the ratios from the recipe card!
- The consistency of this Indian vermicelli kheer should be just right: not too thick and not too runny either but of course feel free to slightly adjust the milk amount according to your preferences.
Optional add-ins, variations and substitutions:
- I like my sheer khurma quite simple like that. Traditionally you should also add some raisins to your vermicelli pudding. I am not a big fan of raisins so this is why I didn't include them in this recipe but feel free to add them to your version.
- I also feel like this vermicelli kheer is really sweet enough just with dates blended with the milk and then more chopped dates added to the pudding but if you're still not satisfied feel free to a tablespoon of your favourite sweetener (maple syrup or date syrup would work well; do not even think of adding coconut sugar as it's too strong and overpowering for this delicate creamy dessert!)
- If you want to make your sheer khurma really fancy and extra, add a tablespoon of rose water to your vermicelli pudding. This is optional though as it's already perfect made just vanilla essence, cardamom and cloves.
It's all about toppings. Always.
I love having my seviyan kheer topped with almond flakes, chopped pistachios and some rose petals but obviously feel free to customise your toppings with your favourite nuts and dried fruit.
How to serve this vegan vermicelli pudding:
Serve this delicious sheer khurma with your favourite customised toppings, hot or chilled - it's up to you! Both versions taste awesome and there's always an ongoing debate on what is more amazing: a bowl of kheer hot or chilled. I personally enjoy my vermicelli kheer straight from the stove. It's like a hug in a bowl and my ultimate definition of comfort food.
How to store any leftovers:
I don't think that such a thing exists, kheer always disappears in no time but in case you couldn't manage this sweet and creamy deliciousness (I am not judging you at all), you can keep leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container for up to two days. I wouldn't say this is suitable for freezing.
And obviously, as it sits in the fridge it will thicken up a little bit so add bit more milk if you want to reheat your leftovers.
This vermicelli kheer is:
- 100% vegan (it's eggless and dairy-free)
- can be made gluten-free if you use wheat-free vermicelli
- healthy as it's refined sugar-free (it's sweetened with dates only - adding more sweetener is optional)
- quick and easy to make (it comes together in just 20-25 minutes)
- requires only a few simple ingredients
- a simple fuss-free dessert recipe (perfect to whip up for an emergency treat for announced guests)
- delicate, sweet and creamy
- delicious and satisfying
- a traditional South Asian pudding enjoyed in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan
- perfect dessert for special occasions and festivals (it's a popular treat enjoyed during Eid or Diwali)
- perfect treat for lazy Sundays with your fam or more official family get-togethers
- a great porridge alternative and it can be enjoyed as a healthy breakfast treat
Love this sheer khurma recipe? Then I am sure you'll love these too:
Bubur Injin - Indonesian black rice pudding served with caramelised bananas and creamy coconut milk.
Blue coconut rice flakes - great gluten-free breakfast option and porridge alternative. And, yes, it's blue 😉
Crispy corn chaat - step up your chaat game with this crunchy and insanely satisfying corn chaat!
Mumbai cheese toastie - when a cheese toastie goes to India to find itself... And it goes vegan, too!
Vegan keema curry - nowadays, thanks to so many amazing vegan meat alternatives available on the market, vegans can enjoy this popular Indian dish, too!