Learn a simple way to prepare sheer khurma for the festive season
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Sheer Khurma also known as sheer khorma is the traditional and most common festive dessert to celebrate Eid. Sheer khurma translates to milk and dates, and is a milk pudding or kheer. Made with seviyan (vermicelli), whole milk, sugar and dates to which aromatic spices such as cloves and cardamom are added along with dry fruits, rose water and saffron. The festival 'meethi Eid' is synonymous with this sweet preparation. Handmade seviyan is the most sought-after ingredient during this time, it is made with a mix of maida (refined flour) and suji (semolina) which ensures that it retains the crisp texture and does not become too soggy after cooking in milk. The readily available sevaiyan is usually made with just maida. The two varieties of seviyan prepared during the festive season are sheer khurma and kimami seviyan (a drier version of sweet seviyan with an elaborate preparation process). A rich and creamy serving of sheer khurma is the perfect way to end the elaborate and sumptuous festive dinner. If you are planning to make it, here is a simple and easy recipe to make sheer korma at home. 

The key ingredients of sheer khurma is sevaiyan, whole milk, ghee, sugar, dates, dry fruits and saffron. The process is fairly simple, it involves frying the sevaiyan in ghee (clarified butter). This is added to milk and cooked till it thickens. The milk is sweetened with sugar and dates, and garnished with dry fruits. Here is a step-by-step guide to make sheer khurma for the festive season. 

1. In a saucepan, bring a litre of milk to boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer, stirring continuously. Heat some ghee in a wok and toss cloves, raisins, dry coconut, cashew nuts, chironji dana (charoli) and almonds, saute till they turn light brown. Keep aside. 

2. In same pan, roast vermicelli until fragrant and light brown. Remove from pan and keep aside. Now add sugar and dates in to the simmering milk and keep reducing for few minutes.

3. Add the roasted vermicelli and cook as you stir, for 8-10 minutes. Add all fried nuts and half of the almonds and pistachio nuts. Mix well and simmer for few minutes. Into this toss some crushed cardamom seeds, few drops of rose water and stir. Transfer in a serving bowl and garnish with remaining nuts, saffron threads and rose petals. Serve warm.

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Tips to make your sheer khurma more delicious 
It is always better to use full-fat milk for creamy and rich sheer khurma. Adding 2 or 3 spoons of sweetened condensed milk also gives it a rich texture. 

When adding cloves to the mix, it is always better to crush them first instead of using the whole spice. When crushed, the cloves release a nice and strong aroma, and when it is sauteed in the ghee, it adds this beautiful flavour to the dessert.

Mumbai-based chef Abdul Quddus suggests adding few extra strands of saffron to neutralize the sweetness of the dish in case you don’t like your sheer khurma too sweet. Also, in case you are using dates, it is best to use them to garnish your sheer khurma towards the end. First flatten the dates and then chop them into small pieces before using as garnish.

With inputs from chef Rakesh Sethi, Corporate Excecutive Chef, Radisson Hotel Group and chef Abdul Quddus, Chef De Cuisine, Saffron, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu

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