If asked to define simple, sweet and comforting, my answer would be a bowl of Seviyan Kheer. May be its the nostalgia or the convenience of making it or the fact that it’s utterly delicious, Seviyan kheer recipe always comes to my mind the first thing when I want a dessert in hurry.

Seviyan, also known as sev, semia and shemai in different parts of the Indian subcontinent, are long and thin pasta shapes, and come under the umbrella word ‘vermicelli’ which is used to describe different sorts of long pasta shapes from around the world. In South and East Asia, Seviyan are cooked in various savoury and sweet dishes.

My father was a big fan of all sorts of seviyan based desserts and quite good at cooking a few too, including a dry fry dish that he called Seviyon ka Zarda that he topped with a squeeze of lemon and chopped pistachios. Seviyan kheer was always a go-to summer dessert in my parents’ home. A chilled bowl of light, mildly sweet and aromatic vermicelli pudding is all you want to eat sometimes on a warm afternoon.

The recipe when dressed up with loads of assorted nuts and dried fruits, topped with cardamom tempered desi ghee and served hot, becomes Sheer Khorma – a traditional dessert cooked and served in almost every Pakistani home on the occasion of Eid.

My simple Zafrani Seviyan Kheer recipe is perfect for both breakfast and dessert. I enjoy it served warm for breakfast with a cup of tea and chilled for dessert with lots of almonds. Aromatics like cardamom, saffron and rose water elevate this simple pudding to a very exotic level. It’s unbelievable how quick n easy it is to make really!


2 cups wheat or rice vermicelli

3 cups + 2 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons sugar or to taste

1 teaspoon green cardamom seeds, crushed

A few strands saffron

2 teaspoons rose water (optional)

1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee (clarified butter)

This Is a What You Do:

Soak saffron strands in 2 tablespoons warm milk. Set aside.

Break vermicelli into 3-4 inch long pieces.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan on medium low heat. Add cardamom seeds, sauté for a few seconds or till aromatic.

Add vermicelli and fry for a minute or till they change colour to a slightly darker golden. Keep an eye on them at this point because they burn very easily in hot oil.

Remove pan from heat, add milk. Sometimes the milk immediately boils over when poured over hot vermicelli that’s why it’s better to take this precaution.

Add sugar and put the pan back on medium low heat. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes or till the sugar dissolves and pudding begins to thicken up a little bit. Add saffron and rose water. Remove from heat.

Vermicelli soak up the milk pretty quickly that’s why the kheer keeps getting thick even when removed from heat. If you don’t like very thick consistency, add extra milk when cooking or don’t thicken the pudding for too long. You can add more milk to kheer even after it’s cooked to get the consistency you like.

Garnish with crushed almonds or pistachios.

Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 2

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