As a little Muslim boy at home in India, nothing gave me quite as much pleasure as waking up on the morning of Eid-ul-Fitr at the crack of dawn (after the initial five alarms go off), heading off for the morning prayers, and coming home to a piping hot bowl of my mother’s sheer khurma. And that’s counting the separate pleasure of receiving money from all my relatives over the course of the next two days. Now, as a slightly older boy far away from home in New York, the pleasure derives from thinking of that bowl with its contents too scalding to consume, but one you’ll lap up with childlike glee anyway.
Sheer khurma is one of the trademarks of Eid-ul-Fitr far and wide across the Indian subcontinent. The vermicelli pudding is a festive dessert that marks the end of the month-long fast, ringing in a sweet, sweet day of celebration. Its a mix of sickly saccharine thin strands with a surprise crunch from the nuts and dry fruits you don’t see coming. And the fact that it’s made in batches enough to survive the onslaught of family that descends on each household over the course of two days means that you’ll never find yourself short.
Given that we’re celebrating a COVID-compliant but still more traditional Eid-ul-Fitr this year, maybe sheer khurma might be the reminder we need of happier times. Here’s a recipe that my mother uses for her signature preparation that I’ve gotten so accustomed to enjoying all those early mornings. I hope it can be part of a similar tradition for you.
Milk – 250 ml
Vermicelli – 100 gms
Condensed milk – 4 tbsp
Ghee – 2 tsp
Dry date – 1 pc (crushed)
Cardamom – Powder of 3 pods
Chopped nuts – A handful
Crushed Saffron – 4-5 strands
Sugar to taste
- In a big pan, heat the ghee and throw in the vermicelli after breaking it into smaller pieces.
- Sauté for a few minutes till the vermicelli turns brown.
- Now pour in the milk, stir well, and let the mixture cook for at least 15 minutes on a low flame.
- Then add the crushed dry date and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Take the pan off the heat and pour in the condensed milk and add the cardamom powder. Mix well.
- Pour the sheer khurma into two bowls. Garnish with the chopped nuts and saffron strands. Serve hot. Enjoy!
For more Eid talk, check out I Feel Like a Butterfly, Emerging Out in the Open. Eid Mubarak, everyone!