Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sevain ki kheer (sweet vermicilli in milk)

My earliest childhood memories start in Saltlake, Calcutta, India. There where we lived, there were hardly any houses, except for a few in large distances. Salt lake was a very new locality yet to develop properly, but then it is more than thirty years ago. Long grasses were growing all around our duplex house which we shared with another family, with two children. One was about ther age of my elder sister and the other around my age. I didn't really get along well with the boy. I rememebr having had a big fight with this boy as he assumed that my table tennis racket was his. We started fighting for it, each of us claiming it be his own, and at the end the racket broke! Ha ha ha! Yes, I can really laugh about it now. I had also picked up quite a lot of Bengali for my age. Simple sentences, which you kept hearing from others: children, neighbours, friends, in the market, while with my parents shopping, talking to the household help and so on.
Now why am I telling you all this. Because I made a dessert called "Sevain ki Kheer" Hindi. And it reminded me of my childhood memories in Calcutta and this was my favorite home-made sweetdish my mom made for us those days, when I lived in Calcutta.
The reason I specified "home made" is that my The Favorite sweet dish was something else. I have never eaten anything as heavenly as Bengali sweets in Calcutta. You name anything and I love it. And each and everything about them was just heavenly. The few names which occur in my mind right now are: Sondesh, Malai chaap- another one of my favorites, Mishti dhoi (sweetened yoghurt), cham cham and so on.

But there is another thing I would like to share regarding this dish. This dish also reminds me of "Java ki Kheer" which both my grand mothers made for us now and then. These are home made whole wheat noodles (I'm calling them so now) and resemble vermicilli to a certain extent, except that they are very short (1 -2 cm), spindle shaped noodles, thick in the middle and thinner outside. And are prepared just like "Sevain ki Kheer".
Since this is another one my recipes I learnt through watching my mom prepare it, I cannot give you precise measures. But, then there isn't much that can go wrong, simple as it is.The only important thing is that don't leave it for long in the pan over the stove, as the vermicilli swells up too much and gets too soft. It is best enjoyed when still hot. Store the left overs in the fridge and add hot milk to it for the next time.
The most important flavoring in this Kheer comes from whole cane sugar. It gives a wonderful aroma to this simple but delicate dessert. Once you have eaten it like this, you would never want to make it with white sugar. I would also love to use palm sugar or jaggery for this, but then there is more work involved, and I don't have them in any case.
So, here it goes, the easiest and yummiest recipe around!

Makes for 4-5 people.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes


(These are approximate measures)

2 cups (100 g) whole wheat vermicilli
750ml milk
100 g whole cane sugar (or use north Indian Shakkar)
1 tbsp almonds, chopped
1-2 tsp ghee or butter for roasting the vermicilli
2-3 tbsp rose water
2 tbsp raisins
1 cardamom , powdered (if using white sugar)

  • Roast the whole wheat vermicilli for short on medium heat , with or without ghee
  • Add milk and stir. Increase heat to full. Let cook while stirring in between, till it starts to boil. Reduce heat to low.
  • Add whole cane sugar (if you use refined sugar, then you might require cardamom powder or rose water for the flavour)
  • Keep stirring while coking the vermicilli till done. It should be al dente, just like spaghetti
  • Serve garnished with raisins or almonds
My son wanted some Raisins in his dessert which I added just to his hot vermicilli in his bowl.

1 comment:

Aparna said...

This is something we like too. My version is slightly different and I've never made this with jaggery.
Thanks for coming by my blog. Looking forward to your entries.