Do you guys have some customary traditional food that you prepare only on special occasions or festivals? Let’s say, maybe a specific pie that your mom bakes only during Christmas. Basically, food that makes its appearance only once or twice a year.
My family has two things I would say. Mom used to make them every Eid and now she has passed the baton to me.
The first one is more of a drink. It’s known as Badam milk aka almond milk. And no, we are not talking about the milk made from almonds. Instead, it is milk mixed with ground almonds. Everyone in my family enjoys these, especially my brothers and their kids. It is also popular with the guests who visit us during Eid. A lot of them specifically asked if we made Almond milk.
Secondly, it is this Vermicelli Kheer also knows as Semiya Payasam or even Seviyan kheer. It is an Indian dessert that is creamy and delicious. It is made with thick vermicelli, milk, sugar, raisins, nuts and is often flavored with some kinda spice. It is often served as a sweet accompaniment to lunch or dinner. Vermicelli kheer although decadent, incredibly comes together in less than 30 minutes.
If you are using roasted vermicelli, you can actually skip the step of roasting it in ghee. I personally enjoy the flavour that the ghee adds. It is the same for the raisins too. You can just dry roast them in the oven but since we only make this during Eid, the mind says go big on flavor or go home! The kheer is often flavored with some cardamom powder too but my brothers are not a fan of it, so most of the time I just drop 2 whole cardamom or just omit it totally. The kheer can be flavored with saffron in case you too are a fan of it. I usually do a bit of saffron and 2-3 drops of rosewater. Again optional but it adds subtle fragrance to the kheer. Remember to go easy on the rosewater. No one likes to eat potpourri.
I hope you give this Vermicelli kheer a try. It can be served warm or cold. I would usually eat it both ways. Warm on the day of Eid and then I sneak some and keep them in the fridge to be eaten cold the next day. The cook obviously deserves to eat a few bowls of these. It’s a good thing that calories do not count during festivals and celebrations.
- 1 cup thick Vermicelli
- 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon Ghee (clarified butter)
- 1200ml Milk
- ¼ - ⅓ cup sugar (depending on your preferred sweetness)
- 2 tbsp Cashew nuts
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds
- 2 tbsp raisins
- 2-3 drops of rosewater or saffron (optional)
- ⅛ tsp cardamom powder or 2 whole cardamom(optional)
- Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a heavy bottomed pan over medium flame. Add vermicelli and roast it until golden brown, Transfer it to a plate.
- In the same pan, heat another 1 tbsp of the ghee and roast cashew nuts, almonds and raisins until light brown. Transfer half of these to a plate for garnishing later.
- Boil milk in the same pot over medium flame.
- When milk comes to a boil, add roasted vermicelli. Stir and cook until it turns soft or for around 5-7 minutes. Keep stirring continuously
- Add sugar.
- Add flavorings and mix well.
- If you are going to serve if cold, transfer kheer to a large serving bowl. Place it in a refrigerator to chill.
- Garnish with reserved roasted almonds, cashew nuts and raisins.