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Shemai - Creamy Vermicelli in Sweet Rose Infused Cream

My shemai is an adaptation of my mother’s version - at its very essence the recipe is made up of three core ingredients - milk, sugar and roasted vermicelli.  In my version I use evaporated milk combined with a little whole milk and condensed milk to reduce cooking time while still achieving the correct consistency and sweetness.  Additionally, I add a generous amount of cranberries, raisins, sliced almonds and crushed pistachio inspired by the style of Mughal cuisine. Finally I infuse the dish with a little rose water, because I think it gives it a particularly refreshing taste.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: DESSERT
Servings: 8 people


  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 ¼ cups sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 ½ cups evaporated milk
  • 5 ounces roasted vermicelli wheat
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • ¼ cup pistachios finely chopped, unsalted


  • Add milk, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil. As the milk gets closer to the boiling point, stir vigorously with a whisk from time to time to ensure that the milk does not burn at the bottom of the pan and the three types of milk is evenly distributed
  • Once the milk boils, add the vermicelli and stir as necessary so that the vermicelli can cook - about 2-3 minutes. The vermicelli should not be broken into small pieces - keep the strands as long as possible as some strands will break naturally during the cooking process. The milk will stop boiling when the vermicelli is added.
  • Once the milk boils again add the raisins, cranberries and slivered almonds. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the mixture is completely cooked through and reaches a creamy consistency through evaporation.
  • Once the mixture looks quite creamy, add the heavy cream and rose water and transfer immediately to a serving dish to cool. After 1-2 minutes garnish the dish with the finely chopped pistachio nuts. The shemai can be eaten warm once it has set a little - about a half hour and is considered best after having been chilled for at least 3 hours in the refridgerator.


For best results, serve chilled for desert (overnight is best) or serve warm with grilled flatbreads for a sweet breakfast.
If you purchase vermicelli which is not roasted, you will need to fry the vermicelli first with a little ghee, otherwise the vermicelli will melt into the cream.
Can be made 1-2 days before a party.