Javvarisi Semiya Payasam | Sabudana Seviyan Kheer

Javvarisi Semiya Payasam | Sabudana Seviyan Kheer


Have you noticed how food has the ability to teleport you to places that only exist in your memory from the past? I only had to think of sago (javvarisi / sabudana), and in no time I was transported back to the sunny kitchen at my grandmother’s home. What’s not to love about sago as a kid? It looks like the love-child of a ball and bubble (when cooked of course!)… and is perfectly playful when in the bowl or when you have a mouthful of the jelly-like pearls. I can’t imagine how easily my paati used to be able to make sago kheer, with absolutely no planning or prep needed – and think about how often we actually end up making kheer or that sweet/special something outside of a festival for an excuse. Times sure have changed.. but I am glad I have the memories to cherish.


Back to the present. I wanted the little guy A to make some memories with sago too. So one fine evening, last year, I tried making this. With no prep or planning.. paati-style you see! Except the outcome was nothing like paati’s. I have no idea why the sago refused to cook and turn translucent.. the dreamy little balls they are supposed to be. Instead, they get all lumpy and mushy and disintegrate. A total disaster! Turns out, not all sago are made equal. There are several different types out there.. and the smaller variety cooks faster with little to no soak-time, the larger ones need to be soaked overnight. So after mulling over sago for months, I finally got around to making it again. I was cautiously careful, but it all turned out perfectly well this time. I made it again in less than a week – just to make sure it wasn’t a one time thing – and now.. finally.. the recipe is ready for you. If you did not know this already, when it is ready for you, it is nothing short of perfect 🙂


Javvarisi Semiya Payasam | Sabudana Seviyan Kheer 

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 2 hours – overnight soaking | Cook Time: 30 minutes


  1. 2 Tbsp ghee
  2. 2 Tbsp mixed unsalted nuts (cashews, raisins, almonds), chopped
  3. 1/2 cup sago (Indian variety of sabudana/javvarisi, medium-size)
  4. 1/4 cup vermicelli (semiya/seviyan), roasted
  5. 1/2 cup sugar, adjust to taste
  6. 2 cups milk
  7. 2 green cardamoms, crushed (substitute with pinch of cardamom powder)




  1. Wash and drain the sago pearls.
  2. Soak for at least 2 hours, in hot water with a lid on, or overnight. The sago will plump up to almost double its original size.
  3. Drain all water after soaking, and set aside.

To make the payasam / kheer:


javvarisi-semiya-payasam-step-by-step-picture-recipe (2)

javvarisi-semiya-payasam-step-by-step-picture-recipe (3)

  1. Heat some ghee in a heavy bottom-pan.
  2. Add the chopped nuts, and roast until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  3. Lower the heat, and add the soaked and drained sago pearls to the remaining ghee.
  4. Saute on med-low heat for a few minutes to coat all the sago in the ghee.
  5. Add 1 cup water to the mixture, along with the  pre-roasted vermicelli. Note: If using regular vermicelli, roast before adding sago until golden brown and then add to the mixture.
  6. Combine and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until the vermicelli is cooked and almost all of the sago pearls have turned translucent and bubble-like. Note: Add more water if the mixture turns thick due to the starch. Move on to the next step when you can no longer see the white sago pearls, as sometimes the sago clumps together at this stage but the sugar will help separate them.
  7. Add the sugar, and stir until it is all melted and combined well. Note: The sugar will help clarify the mixture so you can see the sago pearls better now.
  8. Add the milk, and crushed cardamoms, and stir well.
  9. Add the roasted nuts and mix well. Save some for garnish if you’d like.
  10. Keep stirring, and cook on a medium-high flame, for another 15-20 minutes until the milk has reduced to half the original quantity and thickened somewhat.
  11. Turn off the flame when the payasam/kheer has reached the right consistency. Note: It should be thinner than you finally want it to be, cause the starch in the sago will cause the payasam to thicken as it cools down.

This payasam is best served warm, so you can keep it for a few days in the fridge but warm it up before serving. You can add warm milk to thin the payasam if it becomes too thick.


2 Responses to “Javvarisi Semiya Payasam | Sabudana Seviyan Kheer”
  1. Preeti says:

    Haven’t had this one in ages!. Will bookmark this!

  2. Poppy Bhavan says:

    Tasty tasty.

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