The way my mom looks at it, sevai kheer is an instant dessert that she can cook within 20 minutes. She is not too much into kheer(s) otherwise. Obviously, I never could form a bent towards sevai kheer, it looked pretty unappealing, nothing more than milk, sugar and sevai thrown together. After ignoring this kheer for so many years, I made it for baby A on N’s suggestion. Both baby A and N were disappointed by what I served. A spitted it out while N being kind enough not to follow her example, just made faces while eating it. This gave me the push to go figure how to make the perfect kheer. I plunged into the blogosphere and came out successful. The next time I made sevai kheer, I took a good one hour and both A and N loved it.
By experience, I came up with a few ‘tips and tricks’ to get the perfect kheer, which I have noted below along with the steps.
Sevai/ Vermicelli – half cup (I use Bambino roasted vermicelli)
Sugar – 2 tbsp ( We like it mildly sweet. Add 3 if you want it very sweet)
Milk – 750ml ( I use toned/ 3%, full cream works too)
Cardamom/ Ilaichi powder – 1 tsp
Dry fruits – a fistful, chopped small (optional)
Ghee – half tsp
1. Take a wide, heavy bottomed kadhai/ pan. I use Hawkins hard anodised.
2. Put it on a sim flame and add ghee.
3. When ghee melts, add in the sevai and roast it in the ghee for a minute. Now, though I buy raosted vermicelli, I dont miss this step, as the slight coating of ghee in the sevai prevents them from sticking to each other and form a lump. If using unroasted sevai, roast these for a little longer – two minutes.
4. Pour in the milk. Leave a saptula with a long handle in the pan. You need to keep stirring in between and also, the presence of the spatula prevents the milk from spilling over.
5. Keep the flame sim. As the milk boils, keep stirring gently to ensure the sevai is not sticking to the bottom and also to incorporate the thickened milk that gathers at the sides of the pan.
6. Before the milk gets too thick, when it has just started to boil (after 5 minutes), add the ilaichi powder. If you add at a later stage, the powder may get caught in the lumps of thickened milk, and you may end up having black lumps floating in the kheer.
7. Continue to boil the kheer till it gets a pinkish hue and the milk gets to one third of its original volume. Pick out a sevai stand and check if it has softened. This stage should take 20 minutes to reach.
8. Add in sugar and boil for another 3 minutes.
9. Switch off the gas and remove the pan from the burner.
10. The job is not yet done. If you leave this kheer to cool on it’s own, you will see a thick layer of cream formed on the top surface, which when you try to mix into the kheer later, will refuse to comply.
11. As the kheer is cooling, keep stirring in between. This will not let the thick film form and your kheer will be consitently smooth and thick.
12. Serve warm. You can refrigerate it for later use, but you may have to re-heat with some milk added, as it tends to thicken further when refrigerated.
13. Lastly, dont let this long process drive you away from this yummy kheer. I never spend time in the kitchen just to make kheer. While this is boiling off on one burner, I am able to cook the entire lunch/ dinner on others.