As good as it gets

Do you remember the times that your life moved forward in an almost unseen way?  When in a moment you knew, for certain, that life had changed.  When, despite everything, a shadowy dream seemed to take life. Like the words from Rainbow Connection.

Have you been half asleep?

And have you heard voices

I’ve heard them calling my name…..

I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it

There’s something that I’m supposed to be

It seems to me, that I’m here finally.  I’m filled with warmth, hope, and desire.  In an odd way, I’m reminded of winter, when it seemed that spring would never come.  The trees reached upward with bony, gnarled fingers.  I couldn’t see any sign of buds or blooms.

I should have had more faith.

To celebrate these new beginnings, I’d like to share my mother-in-law’s recipe for seviyan kheer.

This nutty, creamy milk pudding with thin strands of melt-in-your mouth toasted noodles, bits of almond, and crushed cardamom, is filled with the flavor of celebration and festivity. I never thought I’d even like it, let alone fall so utterly and deeply in love with it.  It’s sweet, rich and nourishing.  I can’t stop eating it, and I usually fall asleep at night thinking about when it might be ok to make it again.

Seviyan Kheer

For this kheer, you can use any thin vermicelli noodle.  However, the variety that comes from Pakistan, found in the Indian grocery stores like Patel’s and Bhavani, is far superior in flavor.  Go in and ask for the “seviyan from Pakistan,” and the people in the store will send you to the right shelf.

Serves 4

1/2 gallon milk (about 2 litres)

3/4 roughly filled cup of thin vermicelli noodle

1 tbsp ghee

¼ cup raisins

½ cup whole raw almonds, soaked, skin removed and sliced

about ½ cup sugar, brown or white

1 tsp of cardamom powder, if possible freshly pounded

  1. Bring the milk to boil on medium heat in a big pot until it reduces by ¼ of its original volume.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  2. Separately, heat the ghee in a small pan on medium heat.  Add the vermicelli and toast for a minute until it turns into a deeper brown.  Turn the heat off, and keep aside until the milk is ready.
  3. When the milk is about ¾ of its original volume, add the toasted vermicelli, the almonds and the raisins.  Keep boiling the milk until it reduces to half its original volume.
  4. Now add the sugar and continue to cook.  Taste for sweetness (be careful not to burn your mouth) and add more sugar if needed.  By now the vermicelli should have cooked through and the pudding should have a fairly thick, dropping consistency.  Test by pinching a strand or two of vermicelli between your fingertips.  Add the crushed cardamom and remove from flame.
  5. Enjoy hot or cold.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. sylvia says:

    devika, how i miss your writing! it’s as beautiful and lyrical as i remember from so many years ago, during our time in NYC. i hope you continue to share. and also i cannot wait to try out more of your recipes. xo

    1. devikakumar says:

      hi Sylvia! it’s so nice to hear from you. Thank you for the sweet words :-). I hope you are doing well.

    1. devikakumar says:

      I promise that you will love it!

  2. Rima says:

    have been eagerly waiting for you to resume updating calcutta chow! loved this post!

    1. devikakumar says:

      Love your support!! Thank you.

  3. Sucharita Roy says:

    Comes out really good. Keora essence also goes well.

    1. devikakumar says:

      Thank you for the feedback!

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