Mama’s Punjabi Recipes- Meethi Seviyaan Kheer (SWEET VERMICELLI PUDDING)

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This is another dessert that is especially associated with festivals, both Hindu and Muslim, just as chawal di kheer (sweet rice pudding) has become. Muslims make meethi seviyaan kheer or chawal di kheer on the occasion of celebration of Eid ul Fitr, but Hindus make meethi seviyaan kheer normally to commemorate raksha bandan or raakhee. It is a fast, easy and tasty desert to make.

In the old days in the Punjab, people used to make the handmade vermicelli through a huge machine that men would turn with a crank. The women would collect the strands below and place them on a clothesline or branches of trees to dry. It is still possible to find this handmade vermicelli in small stores, but these days most people turn to the readymade variety that are sold in supermarkets in packets.

The handmade ones are slightly thicker and coarse, but are much softer when cooked than the much thinner readymade ones, and are used to make regular meethi seviyaan, which is a slightly different recipe.

Meethi seviyaan kheer can be found all over India, but in North Indian it is made with ghee, rice, sugar, cardamom, raisins, kesar (saffron) and dried fruit in thickened milk. Just like kheer, it has also found a place as a chic dressed-up traditional desert at receptions and weddings, offered in small earthen bowls, garnished with strands of saffron, chopped almonds, pistachios and with sone da varak (gold film).

1 cup seviyaan (vermicelli)
2 cup doodh (milk) – whole is best, but low-fat will do too
¼ cup chinni (sugar)
2 tbsp condensed milk (if used, you can reduce the sugar)
¼ tsp ilachi powder (cardamom powder)
Dry fruits to your taste: kishmish (raisans); badam (almonds – peeled and slivered); piste (pistachios – halved or pieces)

1.Pour the milk in a saucepan or small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally to make sure the milk does not stick to the pot and thicken for 15 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, break the vermicelli into 3 to 4 inch pieces and keep in a bowl.
3.Add the condensed milk into the boiling milk; slide in the vermicelli and stir a few times for 3 to 5 minutes then turn the heat off. Do not overcook as the vermicelli will turn into slush.
4.Now, add the sugar and throw in the dry fruits. Peeled, slivered almonds taste best. Sprinkle the cardamom powder on top before serving.
5.Thicker seviyaan kheer tastes best. It can be served hot, but most people prefer to eat it cold, so refrigerate for an hour or two before serving.



Indian sweet dishes often tend to be high in calories due to the amount of sugar in them as well as often being fried, like gulab jamuns, jalebis, boondi ke laddus or made in fatty oils, like halwas. Even though it has resulted in higher incidences of Type 2 diabetes in people in India, the sweets confectioneries are always mobbed by customers, many of whom are evidently obese.

In some sweet dishes, like barfi, khoya, kulfi and kheers, try using some condensed milk instead of straight sugar to sweeten them up. It may help to reduce the amount of sugar that is consumed and also the calories.


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Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.