The excitement of Eid al Fitri(also called Sweet Feast, the feast of breaking the fast, Sugar Feast) after a month of fasting is quite different from any other festival I know of. The day of celebration is decided after the sighting of the new moon. As soon as sun goes down on the 29th of Ramadan, people rush to their rooftops to sight the Eid moon, with binoculars or with naked eye – a ritual that adds to the excitement of the festival.
The sighting of the Eid moon is announced with loud cheers from rooftops, sirens from the mosques, and, more recently, through instant text messages on cellphones and social media. Everyone is calling or texting friends and relatives felicitating on the sighting of the moon.
Then begins all the fun and festivities with the Chand Raat, or “the night of the moon” which is like the Christmas Eve a night before Eid. People rush to the markets for last minute Eid shopping. It has become a ritual with ladies to buy colourful glass bangles and get their hands tattooed with Hina (Henna) very late in the night, after they are done with all the cooking and kitchen chores for the next morning.
I can’t separate Sheer Khorma from Eid in my mind; as its preparations begin as soon as the Eid moon is sighted, for as long as I remember I’ve seen my mother soaking and chopping dry fruits first thing on Chaand Raat. On the morning of the Eid, as soon as the Eid prayer is over Sheer Khorma is served as breakfast in every household I know of amongst my family and friends. It’s a must for dessert on Eid party table and hostess trolley.
This recipe for Sheer Khorma is my maternal grandmother’s recipe and is quite a rich recipe to suit the festive mood of the occasion. Traditionally sheer (milk) and Khorma (dates) are the main ingredients besides vermicelli. But this recipe is loaded with all kinds of nuts and dried fruit, which make it quite an energising treat after a month of fasting.
Eid Mubarak to all from Pakistan with love 🙂
For Sheer Khorma, Vermicelli Pudding:
1+1/2 litre milk
1/2 packet (75g) fine vermicelli
8 dried dates
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1/4 cup dried coconut flesh (copra)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed
3 tablespoons sugar or to taste
4 tablespoon olive oil or ghee
2-3 strands of saffron soaked in 2 tablespoons milk
This Is What You Do:
Soak the dates and dried coconut in warm water for an hour, then chop them. Chop almonds and pistachios. It becomes very easy to prepare this dessert if the nuts and dried fruits are prepared a day ahead.
Bring milk to a boil in a deep pan. Add cardamom and sugar, reduce heat and let it simmer till 1/3 evaporates. Meanwhile heat 2 tablespoon oil in a frying pan, break vermicelli into 3-4 inch lengths. Fry the vermicelli till they are three shades darker golden than they were originally, about 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Set aside the vermicelli. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the frying pan and stir fry all the chopped nuts and dried fruits for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the milk from heat, add vermicelli and fried nuts and dried fruits and stir( save some nuts for garnishing). Stir in saffron milk (optional). Pour in the serving bowl, garnish with some fried nuts and dried fruits. Serve hot.
Tip: keep 1/4 litre extra milk to add to the pudding, as vermicelli will keep soaking up the liquid.