Recipe: Vermicelli in Sweet Custard (Shemai Custard)

Serves 8-10

This sweet custard reminds me of rice pudding. The man who taught me all about how to make this dish told me that the mixture should neither pour off the spoon, nor stick too much to the spoon. I love directions like that – they make sense! Anyway, if you want to increase this recipe, or decrease it, use this guideline: for every cup of vermicelli, you need 4 cups milk.


3 oz roasted vermicelli – about 2 cups (about 1/2 the package pictured)
8 cups milk
pinch of salt
4 cardamom pods, cracked
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cupĀ himalayan raisins (or golden raisins)
1/8 cup thinly slivered almonds


NOTE: Roasted vermicelli is made of wheat flour. I found it at our local Indian market (Laxmi Spices of India 5555 East 41st St, Tulsa).

1. Cut vermicelli into 1 inch pieces with scissors, taking care to not fling pieces all over the kitchen. Just go slow and you should be fine.

2. Add vermicelli to a large pot with milk, salt, cardamom, and brown sugar.

NOTE: Do not add raisins at this point or you will never get the cardamom pods out – too hard to tell the difference once the custard thickens up. Trust me, I learned the hard way!

3. Bring mixture to a simmer and heat until thickened to the consistency of a loose pudding. Stir often. This will take 30-45 minutes over low heat. After about 20 minutes carefully remove cardamom pods and add raisins.

2. Spoon into individual dessert bowls and top with slivered almonds. Serve warm or chilled.

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  1. This is such a favorite dessert from my childhood… You have got me salivating.

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