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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kesari Seviyan/Vermicelli Halwa with Pineapple and Nuts

In English, the Italian loanword "Vermicelli" is used to indicate different sorts of long pasta shapes from different parts of the world but mostly from South or East Asia. The dish in the original language are variously known as seviyan in Urdu and Hindi, shemai in Bengali, sev in Gujrati shavige in Kannada sevalu or semiya in Telagu and semiya in Tamil and Malayalam. The noodles are used in a number of dishes including a variation of Kheer, a sweet dessert similar to rice pudding,  Vermicelli are also used in many parts of India to make a popular dish called sweet Kesari Sevia Halwa and also savory Upma  To prepare it, dry oil-roasted vermicelli are boiled with a choice of vegetables with spices.

This is the recipe is for Halwa, will post the Sevia/Kheer pudding recipe separately some other time.

This recipe yields 8 generous servings.
* Sevia/Vermicelli – 1 pack (16 oz)
* Ghee/Clarified Butter – 1/2 cup
* Sugar – 1.5 cup
* Water –2.5 cups
* Saffron – few strands
* Cardamom Powder – 1 tsp
* Chopped Pistachios  2 tbsp
* Broken Cashews halves- 1-2 tbsp

* Sliced Almonds – 2 tbsp
* 1 can of crushed pineapple with some of its juice

* Roast nuts in a pan and keep them aside.
* Heat a pan on medium heat and pour in the Ghee.
* Add in the Sevia/Vermicille
* Cook with stirring constantly till it releases an aroma and has a  light-golden color.
* Boil water in the microwave

* Add water and sugar and mix in well in to Seviyan.
* Lower the heat
* Add crushed pineapple
* Add in the Saffron and cover the pan and let it cook for few min
* Keep stirring in between and cook until ghee start to come out and vermicelli start receding the pan
* Lastly, add in the Cardamom Powder, mix well, add roasted nuts, and allow it to stand for a couple of minutes.
* Serve hot!

* Sometimes my mom used to add Jaggery instead of sugar which comes out very good too. * You may add half Jaggery and half sugar.
* You may also add golden raisin to this as well, I didn't this time.
* Seviyan pack can be bought from local Indian grocers.  They come in long strands, if you desire you may break them up, but I like to cook them as they come.

Enjoy :)

Description of Vermicelli source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermicelli
Recipe adapted by Surekha from her mom's recipe.
Photographs by Surekha

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Strawberry Raita

Raita is an Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi side dish made with Yogurt (Dahi) and can be used as either a dip or sauce or condiment.  The yogurt may be lightly seasoned with roasted cumin powder, cayenne pepper, cilantro, or mint, and other herbs and spices. 

It is commonly served as side dish to give a cooling/soothing effect to the palate with all the other spicy dishes.


* 12 Strawberries
* One 6 oz cup of Strawberry yogurt (I used Fit and Active brand from Aldi)
* Use same 6 oz container filled with fat free sour cream
* 2 and half cups of plain yogurt
* 1/4 teaspoon of  Black salt 
* 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
* 2 teaspoon of  roasted cumin power
* 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
* 1/2 teaspoon of  Mango powder
 * 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro (optional)
 * Salt to taste
* 1 finely chopped green chili (optional)


* Mix strawberry yogurt, sour cream and plain yogurt.

* Take few strawberries and slice them for garnish. Set them aside.

* Chop rest of  the strawberries in to small pieces of desired size small chunks.

* Add strawberry chunks to yogurt mix.

* Add all the spices.

* Fold all the salt and spices and chunks of strawberries in yogurt well.

*Although I did not add this time, but you may fold in 1 tables spoon of  chopped cilantro and 1 finely chopped green chili to this.

* Garnish with strawberry slices. You may add /garnish with some pomegranate seeds for extra savory crunch and color.

* Serve chilled as side dish with Chapatis/parathas or Biryani/rice dishes.

 Enjoy :)

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha
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