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Chef Maryam Ghaznavi of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina’s Malika Canteen, keeps alive many of the Pakistani culinary traditions she grew up with in Saudi Arabia. Among them are many of the dishes she and her family enjoyed in celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the month of fasting, Ramadan. Sheer khurma is a delicate, milk based pudding, traditionally enjoyed on Eid morning, after prayers, and throughout the day by the guests streaming in and out of the house. The ratio of noodle-to-milk is personal, with some versions thick and spoonable, while others like it soupy and milky. For this version, Ghaznavi has also substituted the traditional raisins with rich medjool dates. The khurma is traditionally enjoyed warm, but is just as delicious straight out of the fridge.

Sheer Khurma
Maryam Ghaznavi’s creamy, cardamom- and saffron-scented vermicelli pudding.
Yield: serves 6
Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 7½ cups whole milk
  • ⅔ cups sugar
  • ¼ tsp. green cardamom powder
  • Pinch saffron strands
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter or ghee, divided
  • 1 cup wheat vermicelli, snapped into short lengths (or purchase broken)
  • 2 tbsp. coarsely chopped unsalted almonds
  • 2 tbsp. coarsely chopped unsalted pistachios
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 5 mejdool dates, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1–2-in. piece edible silver leaf (optional)

Instructions

  1. To a large pot set over medium heat, add the milk, sugar, cardamom, and saffron; bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the milk has reduced by a ¼, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium nonstick skillet set over low heat and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Once bubbling, add the almonds and pistachios and cook, stirring frequently, until toasty and beginning to brown, about 30 seconds. Stir in the coconut and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds more. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Return the skillet to low heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Once it is hot and beginning to bubble, stir in the vermicelli and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to brown, 3–4 minutes. Transfer the vermicelli to the simmering milk and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender and the milk is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the dates and half of the reserved nut-coconut mixture, then remove from the heat and set aside at room temperature to cool slightly.
  4. Pour the sheer khurma into a large serving bowl, garnish with the remaining nut-coconut mixture and the silver leaf (if using). Serve warm.

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