Sevian (say-vee-ahn) is a dessert served by Muslims in Pakistan and India during Id, a religious festival which marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting.3 oz. ghee or clarified butter

4 whole cardamom pods

4 whole cloves

12 oz. vermicelli

4 oz. sugar

8 fl. oz. milk

8 fl. oz. water

½ teaspoon crushed saffron threads, soaked in

2 tablespoons boiling water

1 tablespoon slivered almonds

12 pistachio nuts, blanched and chopped

In a large, deep frying-pan, heat the ghee or clarified butter over moderate heat. When it is hot, add the cardamom pods and cloves and fry, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderately low and add the vermicelli. Fry, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the vermicelli is deep golden brown.

Stir in the sugar, and, when it has completely dissolved, add the milk and water. Increase the heat to moderately high and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until the vermicelli is tender and all the liquid has been absorb-ed. Stir in the saffron mixture. Remove the pan from the heat.

Spoon the sevian into a warmed serving dish. Sprinkle over the almonds and pistachio nuts. Serve warm or cold.

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