My mother grew up in the bustling lanes of Chandani Chowk in Delhi. Her childhood revolved around food that she and her friends ate because no excuse could stop them from eating out and eating well. She would tell us stories about the holy month of Ramzan when she and her friends would visit the markets around Jama Masjid to dig into some fantastic food.
The streets of old Delhi would be lit up like a new bride dressed up in all the finery, enticing anyone who dared to enter its fold. The smells, the sights and the sounds were intoxicating. While there was a huge variety to choose from my dessert loving mother could not get enough of Sheer Khurma. Thin Vermicelli noodles deep fried in shameless quantities of Ghee and then cooked in full-fat milk was something that she enjoyed indulging in especially because as a vegetarian her choices were very limited.
When dressed with some Almond flakes, Pistachio Dust, Saffron and edible Silver this caramelized milky concoction became truly magical. She made it often for us when I was growing up, and it became a part of my life too. Even today as I sit in my home in Sydney on a cold winters night and dig into a bowl of this heavenly dessert. I can’t help but feel as if I am standing on the shimmering streets of Old Delhi, which would be dressed to the hilt for the festival of Eid making me all miss a childhood that was beautiful.
Recipe (Cooking time 60 minutes, serves 6)
1/2 cup vermicelli (sevaiyan)
Two tbsp Ghee (Do not bother making this dessert if you don’t want to use Ghee)
3/4 cup Sugar
Four coffee cups full fat Milk
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
One tsp Pistachio Dust (I just crushed some Pistachio flakes to a fine powder)
Pinch of Saffron for garnishing
Silver leaves for garnishing
Heat the Ghee in a deep pan, add the vermicelli and cook on a slow flame till it turns golden brown. Being careful that it doesn’t burn.
Add the Milk very gently and let it come to a gentle boil.
Now add the Sugar & Cardamon powder and cook on a slow flame till the Milk has thickened and the sugar completely dissolved, and the Milk has reached a thick consistency.
Remove from the heat and let it cool for a bit. Serve warm with Almond flakes, Pistachio Dust, Saffron and Edible silver leaves.