I love recipes that are easy to cook and don’t require lot of preparation. With a work-in progress home renovation and an almost 4 year-old boy I cannot ask for more, can-I?
My boy has his “ Craving for the day” a la carte that changes every day depending on his mood. The one in all things is his love of and for sweets! He just digs the dessert course better than the others.He does enjoy his daily dose (or should I say overdose) of “Poli-Bhaji” (Roti and Vegetables) but sweets are his soft point. His spouse (whoever and wherever she is, you are going to handle this crazy foodie, my respects!) is going to have a cakewalk into his heart if she manages to discover that detail about him!
Anyway, he loves this simple and totally delicious milk based, loaded with nuts and saffron, fused with cardamom and ready in minutes sweet that he longs to eat with Roti (mostly) or Puri (rarely).
I like the minimal usage of ingredients to the fullest! Hence I let them shine on their own, without overcrowding them. Unlike the traditional version of Sevaii Kheer where a variety of nuts are used in the whole form, I used a powdered mixture of pistachios, saffron and cardamom. The Pistachios elevate the colour and flavours of this dish.
I like to address it as “Kesariya-Pistewali Sevaiiya” (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding lightly infused with Saffron & Pistachios) for obvious reasons!
Ingredients: (4-6 medium sized bowls of pudding)
- 1/2 cup. vermicelli noodles. (These are sold separately and are thinner as well as finer sold in rectangular boxes or coiled to form U in plastic bags in most Indian stores. The ones for Upma are little thicker than these and have more starch in them)-crushed with hands.
- 2 tsps. clarified butter or ghee.
- 8 strands of saffron.
- 2-3 pods of green cardamom.
- 1 tsp. nutmeg powder (optional).
- 1/4th De-shelled and unsalted pistachios.
- 2 cups 1% organic milk.
- Honey as per taste or 6 tbsps of sugar.(as per taste)
- 2 cups of water.
- Good coffee grinder or any other grinder of your choice.
- In a deep pan heat (on a low flame) the clarified butter and roast the vermicelli noodles on it.
- The aroma of the roasted vermicelli would soon fill the whole house. Add the milk and boil it. The milk and vermicelli cook together quickly. The mixture starts to thicken. Keep stirring.
- Add half the water into the thickened milk.
- Fine grind the pistachios, cardamom and saffron. Add the powder in the milk and bring to a boil.
- Gradually add the sugar or honey as desired, stirring often to avoid burning.
- As the mixture boils, the kheer turns thicker and thicker-almost on the verge of forming a thick soft cake. Add the remaining water. Bring to a boil and switch the flame off.
- The kheer is ready
I remember as a child my Aai (mother) used to make it at least once a week. We probably could not afford making it, as I think about it now. But she still made it so that her daughter gets the sweetness of life that she could not relish much.
In retrospect, all I remember is she wore the same pair of surgical footwear for years to make that kheer so enriching for her only child. Our generation did not have the pleasure of luxurious gifts for birthdays they say, I’d say we had better than that!
My Baba (father) would work 8-8 for the love of working. The numbers never mattered to him on his balance sheet. He believed that fame and money would follow if his efforts were honest. He worked for the love of working. And to see the man I loved more than myself for all my life and will do so for the rest, I feel our generation has had the privilege of witnessing the best luxuries of life that our children would never see.
2 years ago when he passed away, he was still the man who was world famous for his innovative engineering concepts and ground-saving solutions but wore simple footwear that costs nothing more than 500 inr. But I would say, our generation was luckier to witness the creased sole of the cheap footwear that walked such a remarkable journey of life.
The ideologies of need and want were different then or have we surrendered to the luxurious life way too much to be able to enjoy simplicity of life??
If cometh a day that I shall be able to treasure preciousness of life, I’d save my father’s creased and worn out footwear sole, his glasses and a copy of Bhagwat Geeta he read everyday. They will remind me that the richess I inherited have the sweat and blood of my Baba!
This kheer is a toast to the struggles that my parents went through to raise me and make me the person that I m. I hope that our generation could pass some sense of responsibility to our kids that they inherit naturally but have lost to the so-called ideas of privacy!