Out of all the Indian Desserts that we usually prepare at home, Kheer has always been my very favourite. Rice cooked in fresh, full fat milk and then left to simmer for almost 2-3 hours with nuts and Indian spices.. mmm.. that aroma filled kitchen is still strong in my memories ! Back then, I only knew one type of Kheer which is Rice Kheer although Mum did use to make some variations into that. So we had vermicelli kheer, or Rice Kheer ( which was elaborated and took 2-3 hours to prepare ), then sometimes it was this Sheer Khurma. The way this is different to the usual rice or Vermicelli Kheer since it has dates added to it. Which fetch out a very different taste from the milk. And especially when it gets thickened after a while, it’s just so addictive !
Mum used to make this sheer Kurma specifically during Rmadan , to celebrate or signify the importance of a Festival. And that was the one reason we used to wait for Eid since we knew Mum would make Sheer, Zarda or Phirni all my Ramzan special desserts during that period. And then of course on the day of Eid, we used to wander in friends’ homes and used to have Sheer or Sheer Khurma at their places. So, basically I grew up having various versions of this delicacy, each one better than the rest. This recipe below is the one my Mum used to prepare it, and since that’s what I had most of the times I love it the most.
Sheer khurma or Sheer korma is a rich Mughlai dessert of vermicelli pudding made during Ramadan or for Eid. ‘Sheer‘ stands for milk and ‘Khurma‘ stands for dates in Persian language. The dominant taste of Dates is what makes this pudding very special. Dates are considered as a sacred food in Islam, and true to its designation, it holds numerous health benefits. Which includes relief from constipation, intestinal disorders, heart problems, anaemia, sexual dysfunction, diarrhoea, abdominal cancer, and many other conditions. Dates are rich in several vitamins, minerals and fibre too and are good for weight management.
Some of the health benefits of consuming Dates are:
- Dates are free from cholesterol and contain very low fat. They are rich source of protein, dietary fibre and rich in vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B5 along with vitamin A1 and C.
- It helps improve the digestive system as it contains soluble and insoluble fibres and different kinds of amino acids.
- Dates are great energy boosters as they contain natural sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose. To get more advantage add dates to milk and make it a very nutritious snack. Dates are very low in calories and are extremely suitable for health conscious people.
- Dates are rich in potassium and reduced in sodium. This helps regulate a healthy nervous system.
- Dates have high iron content and are very useful in treating Anaemia. The patients can eat many dates for better advantages. Dates also have fluorine that slows down the process of tooth decay.
- It helps people suffering from constipation. Soak dates overnight and take it along with water to have added advantage.
- Researchers say that Dates cure abdominal cancer. The best thing is that it does not have any side effect on the body and is completely natural as well as it works better than medicine. It may also help in improving eye sight and curing night blindness as well.
So many reasons to include dates in your diet, not just during Ramadan but all year round. Anyway ! Enough about Dates, lets continue our discussion on Sheer Khurma. So as I was saying that sheer Khurma can be prepared in various ways. Some roast the vermicelli, some don’t. Some roast it in Ghee ( like I have done here ) some simply just dry roast it. one of my friend’s mum used to roast all the dry fruits, including Dates as well in Ghee. However much delectable that sounds, I personally feel it makes the Pudding very heavy. So I don’t do that. You may pick your option and play around with it to see which recipe you like the most.
The texture and the sweetness also very much depends on the quality of Dates you use. When I was making this for the blog post, the Dates I got were not that great since it was already Ramadan time and all the markets were flooded with various brands of Dates. I just got frugal and bought a cheaper packet which didn’t turn out to be the best. But make sure you use good quality Dates for whatever you are preparing with them. Since that makes a huge difference to the end product. Both dates and raisins contribute to the sweetness of this Sheer, so you may adjust the proportion of sugar accordingly and as per your taste.
A final word – this delicious Dates pudding makes an excellent Winter dessert since it has loads of dry fruits and Dates which impart warmth to the body. Although I like it chilled during Summers as well, but be aware that Ghee, if being used, will be all solid if you have it cold during Summers… Just a word of caution J
Prep Time: 10-12 minutes
Cooking Time: 45-55 minutes
Serves: 3-4 people
Cuisine:- North Indian,
Spice Level: Sweet
Recipe Level: Medium
Shelf Life: Up to 10 hours at room temperature, up to 2 days in the Fridge
Serving Suggestion: as a hot Dessert, especially during Winters
Nutritional Facts:- Rich in calcium from milk, fats from Ghee, vitamins and minerals from Dry fruits and Dates.
What you need?
- 4 cups of milk – full fat , whole milk
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1 ¼ cup Sugar
- ½ cup vermicelli ( Semiyan)
- ¾ cup mixed nuts, chopped small – cashews, almonds, pistachios etc.
- 10-12 Golden raisins ( Kishmish)
- ½ cup dates seeded and chopped ( around 8-10 in number)
- 4 cardamoms, crushed to a powder in a mortar-pestle OR ½ tsp Cardamom powder
- ½ to 1 tsp rose water
Saffron strands for garnish – optional
How to make?
- Heat a tbsp of Ghee in a wide pan, and roast the vermicelli ( seviyan ) on a low flame till golden. Transfer in a plate and keep aside
- In the same pan, heat 1 tsp of Ghee and roast all the dry fruits ( nuts ) for 1-2 minutes on low flame. I skipped this step this time since I like the raw taste of nuts more. Once it’s done, transfer in a bowl and keep aside.
- Chop all the dates small, taking the seeds out and keep aside.
- Now, heat milk in a sauce pan and let it come to a boil. Then, lower the flame and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes till the milk thickens slightly.
- Add the roasted vermicelli and mix. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes till Seviyan absorbs the milk properly and becomes soft.
- Now add the sugar, nuts and dates and mix well. Keep it simmering for another 15-20 minutes till dates gets mashed up and the total quantity in the pan gets reduced to almost half of what we started with. Vermicelli should be all puffed up and soft by now.
- At this stage, check the taste and desired consistency of the Sheer. You may add some more milk if you think its too thick, or some sugar if its less sweet. Do remember that this Sheer will thicken even more with time so adjust accordingly.
- Finally, add the cardamom powder, stir and turn off the flame.
- Garnish with more crushed dry fruits, saffron strands or even Rose petals if you wish . Serve hot and fresh
Some Notes and tips;
- I simply crush the nuts with a mortar and pestle rather than chopping them with a knife. Saves me hassle and I like the crushed version more since it gets dissolved with the milk, enhancing the texture and taste as a whole.
- If you are using dry dates ( chuaara ), soak them overnight in milk to soften them. And then use like the fresh dates in this recipe
- You may use condensed milk here if you want to reduce the cooking time. The combination in that case would be – 2 cups of whole milk + 1 cup water + 1 can condensed milk. Mix these together and follow the recipe as normal. Do reduce the quantity of sugar though.