Monday, November 30, 2009

Learning And Teaching

We've barely emerged from Thanksgiving, and it feels like we're smack in the middle of Christmas already! Did you know that it was Franklin D. Roosevelt who changed the date of Thanksgiving from the last Thursday of November to the second-last Thursday of this month, simply because he wanted to create a longer Christmas shopping period? Well, he did. Just some food for thought, dear readers.

Speaking of food (and aren't I always?), have you seen the first round-up of PW recipes over at the new blog - Foodie Fans of The Pioneer Woman? It was a really good turnout, and we had a wide variety of fun comments from all of you. From all the people who left their comments on our blog, we chose two lucky-ducky winners of Ree's new cookbook. So go on over there to check if it was

Apart from Thanksgiving, DH and I also celebrated
Eid-ul-Adha, a holiday that celebrates the end of the Hajj (annual pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca). It's the Festival of Sacrifice, which honors and symbolizes the act of ultimate sacrifice performed by the Prophet Abraham, when God told him to sacrifice his only son. Of course, as it turned out, God was testing Abraham's faith and at the last minute, replaced the son with a sheep. To this day, millions of Muslims around the world sacrifice some form of livestock to honor that memory. The meat from the sacrifice is then distributed to the poor within the community. We also give a lot to charity during this time, since the idea is to make sure that everyone around us is taken care of and doesn't go hungry. And as usual, it's a great excuse to get together with family and friends, put on our best finery and party-hardy!

One of the traditional sweets that is made in almost every Pakistani/Indian household during this festival is some version of a vermicelli pudding, called
sheer korma. I make it on the first morning of Eid, since it only takes a few minutes, then DH and I savor it for days, because it's one of those comfort foods. Warm, filling, flavorful and fragrant. Oh man ... I'm craving a bowl of it right now!
Here's the vermicelli. There's Ozzy trying to open my balcony door.

My Vermicelli Pudding or Sheer Korma
Serves 8-10

Click here for printable recipe

1 package of vermicelli (found in any Indo-Pak grocery store)
1/4 cup ghee or canola oil
6 cups whole milk (could be more or less, depending on how thick you like it)
1.5 - 2 cups sugar
Handful of slivered almonds
Handful of chopped pistachios
6 cardamom, opened
Large pinch of saffron

1. Take the package of vermicelli and smush it! Basically, you want to crush the long strands into pieces about an inch or half an inch long.

2. Warm up the ghee/oil on medium heat, in a large saucepan. Throw in the cardamom and give them a minute to flavor the ghee/oil.

3. Add in all the crushed vermicelli, and toast in the ghee/oil. Keep stirring for about 3-5 mins.

4. Pour in all the milk at once, stir. Put in the saffron. Turn the heat down and let the whole thing simmer away for 10-15 mins. The vermicelli should be completely softened, and the milk should thicken to your liking. (I prefer mine on the thicker side, not too milky. You could even be naughty and add a generous dollop of heavy cream - ahem, erm, I may have done that)

5. When the consistency is where you want it to be, add in the sugar, in half-cup parts, tasting as you go. When you think it's sweet enough, stop. That's how I do it! Finally, sprinkle the nuts into it. You could add chopped dates if you wish. Let it cool off a bit, but serve warm. Keeps well in the fridge for 5-6 days - just zap it in the microwave, in individual bowls, before you enjoy it. It actually tastes even better the next day!
Verdict: Seems silly to even pass judgement on this dessert. It's something that I've grown up eating, and so has DH. I'm biased. I can't help but love this! I could swap my morning cereal for this any damn day. And it's a kick-ass afternoon snack. It's not a light dessert, by any means, but it's perfect for cooling down your palate after a spicy meal. And by serving it warm, it's ideal during the chilly winter nights. Goes down smooth and warms you up from the inside. Ahhhhhhh ... bliss.

I'll tell you what else goes down smooth - these POM Wonderful juices. DH and I have been chugging these down everyday. The kind people from POM Wonderful sent me these delicious juices, and I've really been enjoying them! I even made a new dish with them. It was really fascinating with 100% pure pomegranate juice, because I'd never done it before. Definitely a learning process. Now I'm scouring the net to find more recipes to use it in. You'll see the results in my upcoming post!
Deep, dark, mysterious pomegranate juice. Eh, not really, we all know this stuff is great for ya!


Jennifer said...

OH my gosh I have heard of that but never knew what it was! Cool!

Mari said...

I heart comfort fave is my mom's rice pudding =)

Foodiewife said...

I just read a blog on how to make ghee and I'm anxious to try it. This looks like comfort food. I'm wanting to expand dishes from around the world so this one would be a great start. Great job!

Maria said...

Oh, wow that looks amazing. I watched an episode of a food show in Greece a few months ago where a famous chef there used vermicelli (fides in Greek) in a rice pudding. But your vermicelli pudding looks even more tempting to me! Lovely dessert.

Anonymous said...

Yum, this vermicelli pudding sounds just scrumptious!

chow and chatter said...

happy Eid love the pudding like South Indian Payasam, thanks for visiting my blog


Faith said...

Eid Mubarak to you and your family! I've never had it, but your vermicelli pudding sounds so good! It reminds me of rice pudding, but sounds even more delish!

mona said...

Munaaba, Belated Eid Mubarak to you dear! Hope you had a wonderful Eid.
The Sheer Qurma looks divine!

NKP said...

I haven't tried this yet either, but I saw the noodles for it at my local Persian market.
Just checked out your PW site, good for you! I hope to learn more about it, and her, soon.

Nizsha said...

I have never cooked sheerkhorma in my entire year and a half of married life.Your easy recipe and lovely pics are tempting me :)

Joanne said...

My roommate told me that fact about FDR the other day. Apparently he moved the date so that the shopping season would start sooner in order to raise the economy. Maybe we should look into that...

This dessert looks fantastic! I love the flavor of cardamom and it seems like it would go so perfectly with the milky richness of this.

Love the PW roundup!

Kerstin said...

Sounds like a really comforting treat! The cardamom sounds so good in it!

3 hungry tummies said...

My friend's mother used to make something similar for me as a child! thanks for bringing back the wonderful memory!

Sushma Mallya said...

i love vermicilli kheer....looks amazing muneeba..

RV @ Food for 7 Stages said...

Oh this kheer reminds me of my friend.. She use to bring it for me after Eid during our school days.. Happy Eid..

Erica said...

That sounds and looks delicious!I have to try soon :)