Today I am sharing the Marathi verison of a dish famous all across India: Kheer. Kheer can be called the Indian version of an English Rice Pudding – the main difference being that you add zesty and sweet ground cardamon, saffron and rose water, which adds a delicious floral hint to the creamy pudding. There are many varieties of kheer, including those made from rice, semolina, and even tapioca. Today we’re making Sevai Kheer!
This is the most common variation in Maharashtra, and it’s a personal favourite of both my partner and I. Sevai refers to long, thin noodles made from either rice or wheat. In other areas of India, the same dish may be referred to as Semiya or Seviyan Kheer. The thin noodles are quick to cook, making it a comparatively easy and stress free dish to prepare as compared to the other variations.
In my partners family, the woman of the household keep ancient traditions alive and gather together to make long strands of sevai by hand. The process is long and arduous but quite magical to watch! The taste of the sevai made by hand cannot be compared to any other, and each time we visit India Nikhilesh returns with a great big parcel of carefully wrapped sevai in hand. However, it is easily available from Indian supermarkets and for those in more rural areas, Amazon stocks a great brand.
Creamy, rich, sweet, thick milk. Subtle hints of rose and zesty cardamon. The occasionally crunchy nuttiness. Kheer is a dessert with a flavour sensation.
Sevai Kheer is perfect to serve for any festive or special occasion. The milk is boiled until thick, sweet and creamy, and there really is no other dessert quite like it. We usually serve Sevai Kheer for birthdays, Indian festivals, and sometimes as part of a larger thali (A selection of courses from starters to desserts, on a large steel plate).
The wonderful thing about kheer is that you can adapt it to your own tastes and cook it slightly differently depending on your fancy. Sometimes we make a simple version with just cardamon, sugar, almonds and cashews. The recipe which I’ve shared below is perfect for festivals and more auspicious occasions, and I suggest you try this first and then adapt it to your preference if you want to. Honestly though, it’s pretty perfect as it is!
If you’re looking for more amazing dessert recipes, do check out my easy recipe for Bengali Rasgulla, my delicious and foolproof Sea Salt, Olive Oil & Chocolate Brownies, or another Marathi recipe – this Instant Mango Shrikhand. Okay, now onto the recipe!
Sevai Kheer - Vermicelli Rice Pudding
- 120g Sevai/Seviyan (Vermicelli Noodles)
- 1/2 tsp Ghee, for roasting sevai
- 1 tbsp Ghee
- 10 Almonds, roughly chopped
- 8 Cashews, halved
- 2 tsp Raisins
- 850ml Full-Fat Milk
- 1/2 tsp Cardamon Powder
- 80g Granulated (White) Sugar
- 8 Strands Saffron, optional
- 1/4 tsp Rose Water
- 4 Pistachios, finely chopped
- Rose Petals, to garnish, optional
- To begin, add 1/2 tsp ghee to a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low-medium heat. Once the ghee has melted, add broken vermicelli noodles to the pan. Stir constantly to ensure even cooking, and cook until the vermicelli turn a beautiful golden brown. Turn off the heat and remove the vermicelli from the pan. Place into a plate and set aside.
- To the same pan add 1 tbsp of ghee over low-medium heat. Once the ghee has melted, add the chopped almonds, cashews, and raisins. Cook gently until the nuts are slightly browned and the raisins have swollen.
- Next, immediately add milk to the pan. Stir occasionally to prevent the milk from sticking and wait for the milk to come to a gentle boil. At this stage add the cardamon powder, sugar, and saffron (optional).
- Add the roasted vermicelli to the kheer. Stir everything to mix. Cook for a further 4-5 minutes, until the milk has thickened and become creamy and the vermicelli have swollen and cooked completely. Do stir regularly otherwise the vermicelli can stick together.
- Once the kheer has cooked, turn off the heat and immediately add rose water. Garnish with pistachios and rose petals, and serve immediately.
How do you serve Sevai Kheer?
In our household we like to eat kheer hot, straight after it’s been cooked. Some people prefer to eat kheer chilled. The longer the kheer has to cool, the thicker it will become – so if you want to eat it cold, I suggest adding more milk when cooking to compensate.
We serve kheer with puris – a puffy fried bread eaten in India. The combination tastes fantastic together. However, you can also serve kheer with parathas, or eat it straight from the bowl with a spoon!
Can you make Kheer Vegan?
You can! Just substitute ghee for vegan butter or vegetable ghee, and use almond milk instead of dairy milk. I will share a recipe for vegan kheer on the blog soon.
How do you store Kheer?
If you can’t finish the kheer in one sitting, I’ll be surprised – but if you find yourself with this problem, simply pop it in the fridge, covered, overnight. Eat the next morning from chilled or gently warm it on the hob before serving.