For long the only meaning of Eid-ul-Fitr for me was Sevaiyon ki kheer (vermicelli pudding). But after marriage Eid became the most important festival. Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated after the month of Ramadan during which Muslims fast for the whole month. The delicacies during Eid thus are even more tempting for all! On the day of Eid, Sheer Khurma is prepared in large quantity and it is then served throughout the day to all the guests who come to greet you and celebrate Eid with you.
On our first Eid after marriage, we were in Scotland, and I had no clue of how to make the traditional Sheer Khurma (and not Sevaiyon ki kheer as Sikander keeps insisting!). So I went to the most knowledgeable source – the Internet guru; found a video of a Pakistani chef and wrote down the entire recipe. For everyone in my family, making Sheer Khurma is very easy and natural but I still need to refer to this recipe every year.. It’s also a little different from how it is made in our home. and mind I say I like teh Pakistani version more than the Indian version! I am sure there must be many more versions of this dish; but here’s what the Pakistani lady (I have forgotten her name and just can’t locate that video I saw 4 years back on web) taught me:
1 ltr whole milk
6-7 dry dates
3-4 green cardamom (lightly beaten)
200 gms (half tin) Condensed milk (Nestle Milkmaid)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vermicelli (sevaiyan)
2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
A pinch of saffron
1 cup crushed dry fruits (almonds, pistachio and cashew)
- Soak dates in warm water for 3-4 hours or until they become soft to cut. Remove seeds and cut the dates into small pieces.
- Boil the dates in 1 cup of milk, till the milk is reduced completely. The dates will absorb all the milk. These as such also taste very nice.. I keep popping some while making the dish :). That why I always soak a little extra!
- Boil milk in a thick bottomed pan and keep on low flame for about 40 mins until it is thick enough. Keep stirring the milk in between else it will stick to the bottom of the pan. (I always use a non-stick vessel and a wooden spoon)
- Add condensed milk. This is my addition to the recipe. I like Sheer Khurma to be thick while the traditionally it’s not very thick.
- In a separate pan, add 2 tbsps of ghee, cardamoms and vermicelli. Fry for some time until the vermicelli is light brown (it would take just about a minute). Note: if using roasted vermicelli, you might skip this step, but I still fry for about half a minute because the ghee and cardamom give a flavour to the vermicelli
- Add the vermicelli to the boiling milk and cook for 10 minutes
- Add sugar and cook for 2-3 minutes until the sugar dissolves. (Adjust sugar according to taste. The condensed milk is also sweet so you might want to taste the milk before adding sugar)
- Add saffron mixed in a tbsp of hot milk to the milk
- Add about ¼ cup of dry fruits and half the dates. Cook for 2-3 minutes
- Remove from fire
- Garnish with remaining dry fruits and dates.
- Serve warm (some like it cold as well, so you might want to keep some in fridge also!)