For as long as I can remember, I have associated Ramzan (aka Ramadan) and Id-Ul-Fitr with delectable sweets; Malpua, Phirni, Sheer Korma, Meethi Seviyan, Zarda Pulao/Meethe Chawal,… May be because I am a vegetarian these are the only delicacies I can enjoy.
All my life, I have been blessed with people who have kept me supplied with these goodies. When I was a kid, we used to live in an apartment provided by the organisation my mother used to work for. In those days, we had a lady by the name Astaribai who used to work full-time in our home. She used to make us the most amazing Sheer Korma for Id. Astaribai was an amazingly generous person who used to regularly get home-cooked goodies for us. What I remember most about her is the time she gifted my brother and me some clothes from the middle-east. It was the late 70s and Indians were just starting to go to the middle-east in large numbers to work. Astaribai’s son was among these first lots of migrant workers. She asked him to get me the best lace for a dress and my brother some soft cloth for a shirt. My mother made me the most beautiful dress from the white lace and I felt like a princess in it!
When we shifted to our own home, my bother became fast friends with Muzzammil or Mojju as we called him. Mojju’s mother kept us supplied with all sorts of goodies; Sheer Korma apart, she used to make the most amazing vegetable biryani for us. I am still touched by the great lengths Aunty used to go to ensure she made a veggie version of her mutton biryani for us. Just opening the steel “dabba” she sent it in would send delectable aromas wafting through our home and make our mouth water.
The came my friends Naveed and Rizwan. These guys spoilt us by sending us Malpua, Sheer Korma from not only their home but also from the famous Mohammed Ali Road. During Ramzan, Mohammed Ali Road in Mumbai transforms into a giant food court at sundown and is famous for its delicious food. There is nary an inch to set a foot in during the month of Ramzan. Read more about this lovely food paradise in this article.
With Ramazan just staring today, how could I post anything but a recipe for Sheer Korma! This is a pudding made with super-fine vermicelli, dates (khurma), and milk; and laden with dry fruits.
- Super Fine Vermicelli or Sevai – 150 gms
- Milk – 2 Litres
- Dates – 12 to 14
- Green Cardamom – 6 to 8
- Almonds – 10
- Pistachios – 10
- Raisins – 10
- Cashews – 10
- Sugar – 250 gms
- Ghee or Clarified Butter – 1 tbsp
- Fresh Cream – 1/2 Cup (optional)
- To a heavy-bottomed vessel, add 1 litre milk and the dates.
- Bring to a boil.
- While stirring continuously, cook till the milk reduces to half the volume.
- Let the milk and dates cool.
- Take the dates out of the milk and save the milk.
- Pit the dates and cut them into fine slivers.
- Peel the cardamom pods and crush the cardamom seeds to a fine powder.
- In a heavy bottomed vessel, melt the ghee.
- Break the vermicelli into 3″ pieces.
- Add to the ghee.
- Over low to medium heat, sauté the vermicelli till it starts to brown.
- Add the raisins and sauté for a minute.
- Add the cardamom powder, date slivers, date flavoured milk, and the remaining milk.
- While stirring gently, bring to a boil and cook till the vermicelli is cooked.
- Add the sugar and stir till it melts.
- Turn off the heat.
- Add the cream and mix well.
- Crush the almonds, cashews, and pistachios to a coarse powder.
- Add to the sheer korma.
- Serve warm or chilled.
- I reduce the milk to thicken it and that gives my sheer korma a rich, creamy flavour. As a result, I do not need to use fresh cream to add richness to the sheer korma.
- You could cut the almonds and pistachios into fine slivers instead of crushing them and decorate the sheer korma with it.
- Be careful while sautéing the vermicelli as it tends to burn quite quickly.
- You get pre-roasted sevai in the market. If you use this, then you need not sauté it separately. In this case, mix raisins, cardamom powder, date slivers, date flavoured milk, and the remaining milk. Bring this mix to a boil and add the roasted sevai to it directly. This way you can avoid ghee.
- Semiya Payasam, Semiya Kheer, or Vermicelli Pudding – 1 (aahaaramonline.com)
- Phirni (Rice and Milk Pudding) (aahaaramonline.com)