Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sewain Kheer

Sewain Kheer 

I believe that memories play a huge role in our lives. The memory of watching movies throughout the weekend with your cousin sister, the memory of that first kiss, the memory of romance and then there is memory of food.

I met Lubna at a culinary event and we both loved the Sewain kheer and that is when we got to talking and I requested for the recipe of Sewain kheer the way her family makes it at home. She was sweet enough to share it and basically the recipe is quite easy which is when I asked her where I might get the best sewain in town. She told me to go to Zakharia street during Ramazan and pick up good sewain.

From that day onward I knew that I had to make that trip to Zakharia street for the Sewain. I can be crazy that way. Anyway Pritha and I headed to the old neighbourhood of Nakhoda Masjid to get haleem, have kebabs and I knew I wanted to buy the sewain.

The man at the counter had 6 different kinds of vermicelli aka sewain and he was patient and kind enough to explain how the white ones need to be roasted at home and the brown ones are already roasted. I noticed the finest of fine  sewain and asked him the difference between that and the other thin variant.

The two variants of vermicelli
(The one on the right hand side is the super fine one and the one on the left hand side is thin but sturdier than the other one) 

He told me that the finest of fine sewain which I am calling 'thread sewain' needs a few seconds of cooking else it turns into 'halwa' a thick sweet dish which is not what you want to do with sewain. I picked up 500gm each of the 'thread sewain' and the normal thin sewain and we headed back home happy and content.

I made some sewain that night itself and as I took my first spoonful a memory took me back to that day when I had first fallen in love with sewain. The truth is I was not really a fan of Sewain kheer which my grandmother would make quite often. So instead they stopped making sewain kheer at home and switched over completely to rice kheer which we call 'payesh' . Anyway one day a friend of mine had got some nut filled dessert for lunch at school and a spoonful got me addicted to it. I made her promise that she would request her mother to make it again and the kind lady sent an entire bowlful of fantastic sewain kheer the next week. I guess its the ultra thin sewain which makes all the difference.

Anyway since the recipe given to me by Lubna and the sewain seller was exactly the same I guess this is the standard recipe for very good sewain.

I cannot call this recipe Sheer Khurma because Khurma means dates and if I do not use dates it does not make it sheer khurma which is why this is called Sewain kheer.

I love cooking with a lot of ingredients but saffron and pistachio happen to be my top favourite ingredients when I am making Indian desserts. I use it very frequently for a lot of dishes hence when I get the opportunity I use other flavouring and so I used 'Kewra water' Panadanas water. I did use a lot of pistachios though.

The timing for cooking vermicelli 'sewain' will largely depend on how thick it is. I had bought 2 variants one very thin yet not as thin as the one which hardly needs cooking. So while buying your vermicelli ask the shopkeeper how much it would take to cook the variant you are purchasing. I am sharing 2 methods.

Method 1 which needs minimum cooking time for the Vermicelli

The Variant of vermicelli which takes 20 seconds to cook on fire 

Makes 4 small servings or 2 large servings

500ml whole milk (full fat milk)
1/2 cup thinnest variant of Vermicelli aka Sewain {cup used holds 250ml liquid}
2.5 tbsp almonds
3.5 tbsp pistachios
2 tbsp raisins
1/2 tsp Kewra water 'Panadanas water'
2 tbsp sugar which you should adjust as per taste
1.5 to 2 tbsp melted pure desi ghee 'clarified butter'
1 green cardamom roasted peeled and pounded

Start by first bringing 1 cup of water to a roaring boil and blanch the nuts. Now reduce the milk with 1/4th tsp ghee {using the ghee helps keep it smooth and the milk does not burn easily} for 10 minutes. Keep stirring from time to time.

Skin the blanched nuts and chop them up. Slice the almonds and chop the pistachio and raisins.
Now take a heavy wok and heat the remaining ghee and add the chopped nuts on low heat and fry till golden and quickly add the milk and sugar and the pounded cardamom and Kewra water and simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes to 8 minutes.

Now here is the tricky part. When using the ultra thin variant of sewain it needs minimum amount of cooking.

So once you add the sewain count till 20 and switch off the gas else the sewain will stick together and become lumpy.

Let it stand for 10 minutes cool it chill it and then serve. Before serving make sure you mix it well. Clarified butter tends to solidify in cold temperature hence you need to stir it well before serving.

You may also have it warm or at room temperature but I find the taste to be better when served chilled.

Method 2 with a slightly thicker variant

The Variant used needs 5 minutes to 8 minutes cooking time 

500ml whole milk
3/4th cup vermicelli
3tbsp pistachios
2.5 tbsp almonds
2 tbsp 'ghee'clarified butter
2 tbsp, sugar
1/2 tsp Kewra water

Blanch and chop the nuts. Now heat the ghee and fry the nuts on low heat and keep aside. Fry the vermicelli and keep aside. Now add milk to the same pot and the nuts with sugar , kewra water and reduce the milk for 8 minutes. Add the vermicelli and cook on low flame for another 6 minutes to 8 minutes till you see the milk changing its colour to a beige shade and bubbling away . Once the colour changes immediately switch off the gas stove.
Cool, chill, serve.

Personally speaking I loved both of them because both were more or less thin but the ultra thin one simply melts in the mouth.


  1. This is a dessert and has calories so I would highly recommend that you do not lessen the amount of ghee. If you want a healthy dessert I suggest having some fresh plums, peaches for this season which I often have.
  2. In case the sewain you are using is slightly thicker you need to cook it for a longer time. I do have that variant so one of these days I shall make Sewain kheer with the thin yet slightly thicker variant and mention how much time that takes. 
  3. I used my favourite nuts. You can always add cashew nuts or repalce one of the nuts with cashew nuts. Please do not add peanuts.  

1 comment:

  1. Lots of great looking dishes here! I can't keep up with all the dishes I want to make...there's always so many good ones :)
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