Shemai (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding)

It’s time for the Eat the World Recipe Challenge and we are headed to Bangladesh!

As I started looking at recipes for this challenge, I immediately got nervous. I say a lot of curries. I saw cinnamon in main dishes. All the things that make my family turn up their noses at a dish.

I searched, and searched, and searched. I found a dessert that was a short of chickpea fudge that fascinated me, but then I realized that the chickpeas from the recipe were not the readily available US chickpeas.

Then I found this vermicelli pudding. Originally I thought it was a dessert (and served it as such) and then reread the recipe and realized that it may actually be a breakfast dish.

It was nearing that deadline and then I got slammed with a crazy busy week and came screeching in at the last second. As I read the recipe again and cross checked it against others, I realized that I may have bought the wrong kind of vermicelli…

I definitely didn’t have the exact kind cited in the recipe, but I got what I thought was closest. But was I supposed to have wheat vermicelli or rice? The vermicelli I bought was rice and it did not become pudding-like as described in the recipes (would wheat have made the difference? Did I make a different mistake?)

Despite what looks (according to internet pictures) to be a vast difference in consistency, the pudding was delicious. It was almost a bit too sweet (I think more nuts would balance it well). 

Check out all the wonderful Bangladeshi dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us! 

Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Fulkopir Chop (Bangladeshi Cauliflower Fritters)
Pandemonium Noshery: Zafrani Pulao
Sneha’s Recipe: Goalondo Chicken Curry With Bella Chara Porota
Palatable Pastime: Jhal Muri (Spicy Puffed Rice Street Snack)
Making Miracles: Bangladeshi Chicken Korma
Kitchen Frau: Chingri Masala (Bangladeshi Prawn Curry)
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Shemai (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding)
A Day in the LIfe on the Farm: Yogurt and Cilantro Marinated Chicken

Disclaimer: This post contains a recipe highlighting a different country or culture. While I strive for authenticity, I sometimes need to make adjustments to recipes due to ingredient availability.  

Shemai (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding)

Adapted from CKBK


2 ½ cups milk (I used 2%)

½ cup sugar

1 bay leaf

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ tablespoon butter

4 ounces (120 grams) rice vermicelli, crushed

1 tablespoon pistachios, chopped

Place the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the sugar, bay leaf, cinnamon, and cardamom. Gently cook for 5 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and milk is infused with the spices. Do not boil.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the butter begins to brown. Add the vermicelli and cook until lightly golden, stirring constantly.

Add the toasted vermicelli into the milk mixture and cook on medium heat until the vermicelli is softened and milk is absorbed.

Shemai can be served warm or chilled. Serve topped with chopped pistachios and a dusting of cinnamon.

Amy Eats the World in...

Cuba: Ropa Vieja (Slow Cooker Beef)

Ireland: Cheesy Potato Soup with Irish Ale

Thailand: Chicken Satay
Kenya: Crunchy N’Dizi (Peanut Crusted Bananas)
Sweden: Rodbetssallad med Getost (Grated Beet Salad with Goat Cheese)
New Zealand: Kiwi Burge
France: Fougasse (Provencal Flatbread)
Argentina: Chimichurri Sauce
Mexico (Halloween Special): Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread)
India: Spiced Golden Mil
Poland: Chrusciki (Angel Wing Cookies)
Ethiopia: Buticha (Hummus)
England: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Leaky Cauldron-Style Mini Cottage Pie 
Georgia: Lobiani (Bean-Stuffed Bread)
Mexico: Crispy Pork Carnitas
Cambodia: Loc Lac (Shredded Beef with Lime)
Israel: Chicken Albondigas (Chicken Meatballs)
Finland: Sima (Lemonade) 
Puerto Rico: Arroz con Tocino  (Rice with Bacon)
Egypt: Ghorayebah Cookies
Ukraine: Scuffles (Rohalyky) Cinnamon Crescent Rolls
Soul Food (United States): Oven-Baked Ribs with Cola BBQ Sauce 


  1. In the end...the taste is all that matters anyway.

  2. I am fascinated by this recipe - I know what you mean about sometimes struggling to find a dish that you think the family will eat. I generally assume my kids aren't going to eat the international ones I try - maybe one day they'll expand their tastebuds!

  3. This looks delicious no matter what noodles you used! I don't know how old your kids are, when mine were little they weren't too keen on international flavors but it's what I wanted to cook so I did and 10 years later they get really disappointed when I get lazy and stop doing it.

  4. That looks intriguing. I might have to make that for breakfast soon!

  5. That looks like it would taste great - all the flavours of a delicious rice pudding. When my kids were little they used to love leftover noodles with butter and sugar on them - this looks like a more gourmet version of that.