At first when I went to India, the incessant offerings of sweets and desserts made me feel quite queasy. They love sugar! Heaps and spoons of it, all a bit too much for me. So now I can make my own desserts, I hold back on the sugar and make everything to my taste, plus one spoon to make my husband happy!
Kheer is one of our favourites. So simple and sooo tasty. It's comfort, home food, perfect in the summer straight from the fridge and in the winter straight from the pan!
All quantities can be changed to suit your own taste... this will make enough for 4 people.
100g Seviyan (Roasted Vermicelli)
Semiya Payasam (South Indian), Seviyan (Hindi/Urdu), Sev (Gujarati)
Seviyan is made from Semolina, unlike the Italian version which is made from Durum Wheat or the Chinese version made from rice flour (glass noodles)
Kheer can also be made from the following in case you don't have a packet of Seviyan in the store cupboard!: Rice, spaghettini, quinoa, chickpeas, semolina, moong beans, even banana and cornflakes!
1/2 tin of Condensed milk
You don't have to use these but they give a nicer flavour...
Flavourings of choice...
I like to use:
5 Cardamom pods (crushed)
A nice scraping of fresh Nutmeg and Cinnamon
And of course a few spoons of brown sugar...
(You could use anything you fancy really, like vanilla pods/essence, raisins, sultanas, almonds, cashews, coconut, saffron, even grated carrots!...)
A pint of Milk
Only roughly use as much or as little as you like, like rice pudding, some people prefer it stodgy, some runny.
Then for a really authentic Indian taste, try to get hold of some Kewra Essence or Kewra Water...
Kewra is an extract distilled from Pandanus flowers. Kewra flowers have a sweet, perfumed odour with a pleasant quality similar to rose flowers, but kewra is more fruity.
To me it is such an 'Indian' smell, a whiff of this and I am transported to the streets of Bombay!
In a thick bottomed saucepan (to avoid burning, husbands take note:) Melt the butter, then add the spices/nuts/fruit and fry a little to bring out the flavours.
Add the condensed milk, milk, kewra (only a drop if essence or a splash if water) and sugar.
Stir it all up and simmer gently for a while. You may need to add some more milk as the kheer cooks. We like it quite runny, because if there is any left over (which is rare!) it gets thicker with time.
You can garnish with Saffron, nuts, sultanas or even gold leaf if you're feeling fancy!
There are a couple of online UK Indian Food stores that seem to have a nice variety of products. One is 'Spices of India' and the other 'The Asian Cookshop'. They both have Kewra and Vermicelli for less than a pound.
For my little sister Hanna... 'cos she loves Kheer too!