Best Of Bengali- Shemai (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding)

Best Of Bengali- Shemai (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding)

Eid wouldn't be complete without something sweet to start the day. I'm sure every family has their staple dessert and in mine, it's shemai. It's very specific Bengali dessert made from roasted vermicelli noodles, spiced milk and cream with oodles of sugar. The Indian equivalent is seviyan, which includes toppings like pistachios and sultanas. I made a straightforward one but as it is a simple pudding, you can throw in any dried topping of your choice.

Servings: 4-5 dessert bowls
Prep+cooking time: 15 mins

Shemai Sweet Vermicelli & Saffron Pudding_1506_1.jpg


  • 100g vermicelli, broken into pieces for roasting 

  • 1 tbsp ghee 

  • pinch of saffron  

  • 1 bay leaf  

  • 1 cinnamon stick  

  • 2-3 cardamom pods, crushed 

  • 1 star anise

  • 300ml whole milk (plus extra if needed)

  • 200ml single cream 

  • 3-4 tbsp sugar

1) In a frying pan, melt the ghee over a medium heat and roast the vermicelli noodles for up to 5 minutes until it turns golden. Take off the heat once it's done.

2) In a separate pan, heat the milk and cream with saffron, sugar and whole spices and let it gently simmer for 5 minutes.

3) Once the milk and spices have completely combined, pour in the vermicelli and fold in.

4) Continue to cook for 5 minutes over a medium-high flame. Keep a watchful eye on the shemai at this point because the milk has a tendency to split or burn at this point. It doesn't take very long for the dessert to thicken.

5) Serve immediately. When reheating, add extra milk to prevent the shemai from drying.