Take sugar and 3 tbsp water in a thick bottomed pan. Simmer the flame completely and let it begin to melt by itself. Do not stir the sugar.
Once the sugar caramelizes and reaches an amber shade, add 1/4 cup of hot water(be careful while adding it, it will splash). Mix well.
Add milk and 1/2 – 3/4 cup water to this. Mix well. Bring it to a rolling boil.
In the mean time, heat 1 tbsp ghee in a pan and roast the vermicelli till light brown in colour.
Once the milk starts boiling, add semiya and mix well. Bring it to boil and simmer till semiya cooks through.
Simmer completely and cook till the milk reduces slightly, thickening the payasam.
Heat a pan with ghee, add chopped cashews and raisins and roast till brown. Transfer this to the kheer and mix in. Caramel payasam is ready to be served hot or cold.