Ramadan is a time for contemplation, perseverance and thankfulness for what we receive. We can spend days with abundance and never look once at the wastage, over-consumption or extravagance of food. But Ramadan is one month that allows us to think inwardly about what we eat and how we eat it. Such was the sentiment I was always taught by my grandmothers and parents while growing up in Pakistan. Our Ramadan mornings started early at Sehri (before daybreak), waking up to the nutty aroma of ghee with paratha’s on the tawa, spicy omelletes being whipped up and a bottomless pot of chai being prepared. My favorite Sehri meal however was plain cream buffalo milk yoghurt topped with chunky caramel-like Gur – Jaggary (raw sugarcane molasses). The rest of the days began and somehow I would be fine after the first few fasts, only feeling the intense need for water in the scorching heat of the relentless Karachi sun.
Pakistani Seviyan – Sweet roasted vermicelli in milk, cardamom with pistachios and raisins
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 7-10 people
- Half a packet of Pakistani/Indian roasted vermicelli
(found in Asian shops) – crush these by hand, into small pieces before adding
- 25 grams caster sugar
- 100 grams of sweet condensed milk
- 1 pinch of saffron, soaked in 1 tbsp hot boiling milk
- 1 pint of whole milk / soya milk / almond milk
- A handful of chopped pistachios, almond, raisins
- 4-5 cardamom pods, bruised open
- Decorate with silver leaf (optional)
- Heat ghee in a saucepan on medium heat and add the cardamom. Once fragrant add the crushed vermicelli and keep stirring to avoid burning them.
- Once fragrant slowly add both the milks and keep stirring. Add sugar and stir and cook until the mixture becomes thick and vermicelli is cooked through.
- Pour in saffron and then place in a serving dish.
- Garnish with nuts and raisin – and silver leaf if available. Serve cold or hot.