This traditional Vermicelli Sweet Recipe is made by Muslims across the world on Eid ul Fitr. Prepared with a combination of milk, cream, sugar, nuts and very fine wheat vermicelli this sweet defines the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan.
This dessert is also popularly known as Sheer Khurma, which is the Persian word for Milk (Sheer) and Dates (Khurma). As per tradition and ancient custom Muslims open their fast with dates. We can safely assume that in ancient Saudi Arabia leftover dates were soaked in milk overnight to prepare a dessert for the morning of the Eid celebration.
This original version of Sheer Khurma changed and evolved as Islam spread to other regions. We can safely assume that a wider repertoire of ingredients were added to the original two as the recipe traveled across these various regions.
The Persians likely added nuts to the mix as they were indigenous to that particular region. Similarly, per food.ndtv.com Vermicelli originally came to the subcontinent in the form of rice noodles by way of the silk route. However, the version we eat today is far removed from this.
There are many different versions of "Sevyan" or "Sevyan ki Kheer" as this dessert is also called. I am presenting one of my personal favorites to you today and hope to find the time to get some of the other versions up on the blog soon as well so you can see which one you like most.
Traditionally, the men attend the big Eid prayer in the mosque while the ladies pray at home and get breakfast ready for their return. The Eid preparations actually start the night before, after we open our last fast. This night is called "chand raat" or literally the night of the moon sighting. The new moon indicates that the month of fasting is over and the 3 day Eid festival will start next morning.
The kitchen is a bustle of activity in preparation for the household members as well as the anticipated guests. The men of the family usually take their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters out to buy "choorian" (traditional glass bangles) and get henna on their hands.
Clothes that have been prepared in advance are now ironed and hung up neatly for the upcoming frenzy of activities. There will be huge family lunches and dinners interspersed with visits to the houses of loved ones. Beautiful clothes, shiny bangles and artfully applied henna will be shown off and compared amongst cousins and friends.
All kinds of culinary delights will be tasted and enjoyed throughout the day. But the main item served at each home will be a bowl of the family's secret Vermicelli Sweet recipe.
We always had two versions of Vermicelli on Eid at our house. My father has a real sweet tooth and there is no concept of too much dessert in this family! For the post prayer breakfast we go with the more traditional milk and date version of the Vermicelli. This is served warm and I'll share that recipe at a later date.
The recipe shared today is one that is made a day ahead and is served to guests as a chilled dessert.
The Vermicelli is first roasted in a little bit of oil along with some cardamom till you can smell it's deliciously nutty aroma.
Next you add the milk, cream and sugar and cook the mixture till it reaches a boiling point.
At this stage, turn your flame to a medium setting and cook for about 30 minutes.
Remember that the goal is to have the 'Kheer' as we call it just coat the spoon. As the liquid cools it continues to thicken and you don't want it to become gelatinous.
Wait till the 'Kheer' is half cooled before adding your nuts. I mix half of them in and reserve some, along with the rose petals as a garnish.
If the liquid is too hot the nuts get soggy and I like mine to stay crunchy. Wait till the 'Kheer' is completely at room temperature before refrigerating.
Vermicelli Sweet Recipe
- ¼ cup cooking oil
- 4 pods cardamom
- 1 packet vermicelli (SEE NOTES)
- ½ gallon milk
- ½ pint heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup almonds (slivered)
- ¼ cup pistachios (chopped)
- 2 tbsp dried rose petals (OPTIONAL)
- Break Open the cardamom pod and crush the seeds to release the aroma. Discard the husk.
- Heat the cooking oil and saute the pods along with the vermicelli.
- Once the vermicelli is roasted well add the milk, cream and sugar and stir to mix.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer and thicken.
- Stir occasionally and adjust the heat as necessary.
- Once the spoon comes out coated with the liquid your sweet is ready.
- Cool for an hour or two before stirring half the nuts in, reserving the rest for garnish.
- Once the kheer is at room temperature chill it in the fridge.
- Serve it chilled and garnish it with nuts and rose petals just before serving.
- The Vermicelli used is not of the pasta variety that you may be familiar with. Pakistani Vermicelli is as thin as a strand of hair, dark brown and brittle until cooked. It can be found in South Asian specialty stores or on www.amazon.com .
- The only tricky part in this entire process is roasting the vermicelli. It must be roasted till it's an even brown. To insure this the oil must be heated well and the vermicelli must be turned constantly. Otherwise it will burn in spots and the Kheer will have a burnt and smoky taste.
- Similarly, over thickening the kheer means it ends up tasting gloopy after it has chilled. The trick is to turn the stove off as soon as the spoon gets coated. Remember that the liquid is so hot that it will keep cooking a good 20 minutes or so after the stove has been turned off. As it cools down it will thicken considerably and the end result will be perfect.
This Eid try my recipe for the easy-chicken-korma and follow it up with this Kheer! You will want nothing more! Don't forget to rate the recipe when you try it!