This payasam/kheer could very well be made with just semiya/vermicelli and the javvarisi/sago could be skipped.
Semiya/Vermicelli - 3/4 cup, broken into small bits (in case you have the long variety)
Javvarisi/Sago - 1/3 cup
Milk - 1.5 litres or 6 cups (I used 2%)
Sugar - 1 cup (or a few tbsp more)
Cardamom - 3 to 4 cardamom pods, crushed with some sugar finely
Ghee - 1 tbsp + 2 tsp
Raisins - 1 to 2 tbsp
Cashew pieces - 1 to 2 tbsp
1) In 1 tsp of ghee, roaste the javvarisi/sago for a few mins.. It will turn a bit shiny and translucent. Transfer this to a heavy bottomed, preferably deep pan, add about half cup or so water and allow to cook on a low flame. The roasting will ensure that the sago pearls don't stick.
2) Roast the Semiya/Vermicelli separately in another tsp of ghee until golden brown and keep ready.
3) Once the javvarisi/sago has almost cooked through, add the roasted semia followed by all the milk. Allow this to come to a boil and simmer on a low-medium flame taking care to ensure it doesn't boil over. I typically sprinkle a few drops of water if I think it's going to boil over and also keep a wooden spoon in the milk at all times. This mixture has to simmer until the milk thickens and reduces a bit... Typically, I let it reduce to about 3/4 of the original volume... it doesn't have to thicken too much like Paal Payasam. During this process, the semiya will be cooked and so will the sago.
4) When thick enough, add the sugar & cardamom powder and stir. Switch off the stove. This payasam/kheer, typically thickens upon cooling thanks to the starchiness of the tapioca.
5) In a separate pan, heat the 1 tbsp of ghee and roast cashews and raisins till cashews turn golden and raisins plump up. Toss the entire mixture into the payasam and now it's ready to serve when warm. My husband loves this cold.
If you notice that the payasam is very thick upon standing, adding some milk will help thin it out.