Food Stories: Sheer Khurma

July 28, 2014

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All memories associated with Ramazan and meethi Eid are joyous, filled with love, laughter, eidi, family, friends and the mandatory Sheer Khurma.

My mother made the most delicious Sheer Khurma every year; warm as a mothers embrace and sweet as her love. Returning home from the Eid namaz as my father entered through the front door, we would line up for our eidi, (cash gift distributed on Eid) and our wonderful cook Basher pulled in the trolley laden with delectable Eid treats, and there it was, the Sheer Khurma, sitting front and center.

Sheer means milk in Persian and Khurma means dates, and how and when vermicelli was added to this delightful dessert, your guess is as good as mine.

History tells us since Saudi Arabia is abound in the harvest of dates, people would break their fast with dates, as we still do today, and cook a milk and date dessert come Eid morning. Hence Sheer Khurma is an Eid-ul-fitr delight in all Muslim households.

This simple yet delicious dish is versatile as it can be served hot or cold. Dates being one of the main ingredients (since in those days this milk and date dessert was sweetened with dates alone and not sugar) that enhance this delicacy, are in themselves nutritious and a complete meal, like milk.

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Generally fresh ripened dates are used in the making of Sheer Khurma, but many prefer using dry dates also.

The Edible Magazine featured a story on Eid and the importance of dates,

Eating dates at dusk is as old as Ramazan itself. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is said to have ended his own fast with the fruit, which is among the sweetest on Earth.

This sugary morsel gives any fasting observer a quick boost of energy, a few dates at the end of a long day of fasting quickly helps revitalize mind and body. Therefore it is no wonder that after a month of intense focus and fasting, much of the celebration food on Eid morning is in the form of this date dessert.

Traditionally Sheer Khurma is made with vermicelli (a very fine kind of spaghetti). It is cooked in milk and dates, adding a variety of dry fruits to make it a rich and aromatic dessert. Sheer Khurma is a customary Muslim festive breakfast or dessert dish and is served to family and friends to show hospitality and joy on this happy occasion.

The Kulfi chronicle

The Eid fiesta brings with it sublime food flavours. After a month of strict abstinence, Eid-ul-Fitr is most associated with feasting and would not be complete without the Sheer Khurma.

The recipe I share with you today comes from Anjum Khala’s kitchen. It is delicious, quick and makes for a sweet Eid morning.

Ingredients

8 cups or 2kg full crème milk
100 grams vermicelli
4 onz. condensed milk
8 onz. sugar
10 to 12 green cardamoms
10 to 12 dates (chopped lengthwise)
½ cup (pistachios, almonds, cashews, raisins)
Pinch of salt

Method

Bring milk to boil, add vermicelli and keep stirring, simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, adding sugar, condensed milk, cardamom, salt and dates.

Let simmer for 20 minutes to half an hour, reducing the quantity.

Add dry fruit, cook for a few more minutes. Pour into serving bowl, garnish and serve hot or cold.


-Photos by Fawad Ahmed