The comforting memories of childhood come from those secret moments of glee, when you knew the forbidden fruit always tasted the sweetest. Whether it were the festival of Eid or just a whim on a hot Summer’s day – Seviyan is a dessert that I always craved, and was always told was meant to be eaten on special occasions, though my grandmother would always indulge me!
A marriage of all the aromas, textures and colours that define a Pakistani sweet together with it’s cooling temperature – it was always a welcome treat on a hot Summer’s day. I think of my aunt’s at the stove preparing Seviyan for an Eid dinner, my Nani making me a sweet to calm me if my parent’s were on holiday and my Dadi preparing it for my Dada (grandfather) to woo him even after 65 years of marriage (at the time), though she always made her family recipe of Qawami Seviyan which is linked here – There are many versions of Seviyan, but this is the quickest and easiest, using only South Asian roasted vermicelli, I wouldn’t try it with any other..
To me Seviyan has always been a romantic dessert – one that celebrates the romance of the land’s history, the warmth of Pakistani hospitality, the cool sea breeze of the coast of the Arabian Sea and the love we have for our Land of the Pure (the literal meaning of the word Pakistan). It highlights all the aromas used in our desserts, ones borrowed from our Mughal heritage, Irani influences and Muslim traditions – it most of all reminds me of lazy, carefree, safe days of my childhood and growing up in a country that to me will always be home. Every bite transports me to happy, endless Summers in Karachi and the safety of both my grandmother’s arms and the enveloping aromas of their kitchens, where I learnt my passion for food.
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 7-10 people
Half a packet of Pakistani/Indian roasted vermicelli (found in Asian supermarkets http://www.natco-online.com/acatalog/info_R9200.html) – crush these into small pieces before adding to milk
25 grams caster sugar
100 grams of sweet condensed milk
1 pinch of saffron, soaked in 1 tbsp hot boiling milk
1 pint of whole milk / soya milk / almond milk
A handful of chopped pistachios, almond, raisins
4-5 cardamom pods, bruised open
Decorate with silver leaf (optional)
- Heat ghee in a saucepan on medium heat and add the cardamom. Once fragrant add the crushed vermicelli and keep stirring to avoid burning them.
- Once fragrant slowly add both the milks and keep stirring. Add sugar and stir and cook until the mixture becomes thick and vermicelli is cooked through.
- Pour in saffron and then place in a serving dish. Garnish with nuts and raisin – and silver leaf if available. Serve cold or hot.