Sheer Khorma or Sheer Khurma is a festival special dish made during the Eid festival. Eid is an important festival for Muslims that marks the end of the Ramadan fast. This festival celebrates the end of the month long dawn to dusk fasting observed by the Muslims. Sheer khorma is served as the festive breakfast dish or as a dessert as well.
One of my best friends back from NY always had us over for the Eid celebrations. Most of her friends including me were vegetarians and hence almost every year she made many vegetarian dishes instead of the routine meat based dishes. She made wonderful vegetable biriyani and her sheer khorma is something to die for.
When I chose the theme for festival recipes from around the world, I wanted to make this famous Persian / Middle Eastern dessert as one of the dishes. I pretty much followed my taste buds to make the recipe as I have eaten this almost every single year when me and my friend lived in NY. She also no longer lives there and I truly miss having the Eid feast in her house. It also happens that next Friday, the 17th of July is the Eid festival this year. So there cannot be a much apt time to make this special dish.
Sheer means milk in Persian and it closely resembles the Sanskrit word ‘Kshir’ which also means milk. Khurma means dates in Persian. This dessert has a rich flavor of dates in milk along with loads of milk and vermicelli. The vermicelli used for the recipe is the thinnest variety available. These are usually very long and thin and I broke them into small (about 1 inch piece) and used them.
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – 70 minutes
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients – serves 8-10
- Milk – 2 liters / 8 cups (I used 2% milk)
- Dates – 8 to 10 (chopped)
- Vermicelli – ¾ cup (thin variety broken into 1 inch piece)
- Sugar – 2 cups (use less if you prefer mild sweetness)
- Mixed nuts – about ½ cup (I used sliced almonds, pistachios and cashews)
- Raisins – 4 tbsp
- Saffron – a large pinch
- Ghee – 1 tbsp
- In a heavy bottom pan, measure the milk and add the chopped dates and the saffron to it. I have electric coil in the house and hence had to take extra precaution to avoid the milk from scorching in the bottom. Always use a thin layer of water in the empty pan before you add the milk. Also I added a steel plate (small one) to the pot. I made sure the heat was always in medium and kept stirring every 7-8 minutes. These steps helped me cook the milk without burning it in the bottom.
- Cook the milk until it reduces to about ¾ its original quantity. It took me about 45 minutes in medium heat. The dates added to milk cooked really well and I just had to mash it every now and then. The flavor of the dates infused really well with the milk and it also imparted a very nice color to the milk along with the saffron.
- Meanwhile in a separate pan, heat ½ tbsp of ghee and fry the nuts. I used blanched, sliced almonds along with finely chopped pistachios and cashews. Fry the nuts until golden brown and then add the raisins. Fry until the raisins puffs up and then remove it on a plate.
- In the same pan, heat the remaining ghee and fry the vermicelli. I used roasted vermicelli, but still fried them to get some flavor of the ghee.
- Once the milk cooks down, add the sugar. Mix well and cook until the sugars dissolves.
- Now add the fried vermicelli and cook it for about 10 minutes until they become tender.
- Next add the fried nuts and the raisins and let it cook for 10 more minutes.
- Serve when warm or chilled down. The sheer khorma thicken when it cools, so if you find it thickening too much, add a little more milk and heat it. Also adjust the sugar as needed.