Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Parsi Se`v

Parsi Se`v

Vermicelli, thin fine noodles made of roasted whole wheat; also referred to as seviyan. Dry vermicelli in a packet is available at all Sub-continental grocery stores.
Parsi Sev is generally served as a combination with sweet yogurt on most festive occasions. The textures, flavours and the temperatures (warm sev and the cool yogurt) compliment each other. it seems to be synonymous; many of us refer actually refer to the duo as one word "sev-dahi" in conversation! 
Aromas and fragrances familiar to most sweet delights of the Parsi Cuisine; rose water, cardamom and nutmeg powder topped with roasted or fried plump golden raisins and slivered almonds or other nuts completes this delicious dish.

Sev topped with raisins and almonds
sev -dahi

Serves 8 -12 persons


200 gm/ 7 1/2 oz vermicelli
3/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cup water + 1/2 cup
1 1/2 tbsp oil or ghee or mixed
pinch of salt
1/4 cup rose water
optionally 1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds

In a pan take a tsp of ghee or oil and fry the raisins and almonds for a minute. Remove and keep aside on a paper towel to  drain and absorb the oil.

In a pan melt the sugar in cold water. Do not allow to boil. The flame should be low. Keep aside.

In a flat large pan melt the ghee or heat the oil. Add all of the vermicelli tossing it around until a caramel golden brown. Do not over cook or it will burn.

Add the sugar water all over. Press it down with the back of the spatula. Cover the pan tightly with the lid and let it simmer on a very low flame until the water has evaporated.This should take 15-20 minutes. The water would have all evaporated. Fluff it with a fork and test if it has cooked through. If it has a  bite to it and is still not soft, add another few teaspoons of water and cover and cook for an extra 5 minutes. Now add the rosewater, vanilla and the spices. toss it with the fork, and cover and steam another 3 minutes. Serve with the raisins and almonds.
Alternately you may also 'steam' cook it in an oven. This method is simpler when making a large quantity as it is hard to find a large flat pan. Instead tip the fried vermicelli batch by batch into a large tin foil roaster, add the sugar water, cover it tightly and place it in a preheated oven of 350 F/ 180 C degrees. Steam for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and toss the sev with a fork to separate. Sprinkle the rosewater, cardamom, nutmeg and the salt all over. Toss around with a fork again to fluff it up. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes, reducing the oven temperature to 250 F/ 120 C.
Remove once again from the oven and check if it is cooked through. It should be soft and moist. If not, sprinkle some water with your hands all over, cover and let it cook for another 10 minutes until finally done.
Remove to your serving dish and sprinkle with the raisins and nuts. Serve it warm with chilled sweet yogurt~ Parsi Dahi


The colour of your final dish will depend on the initial roasting. 
Break the long strands of the vermicelli before opening the packaging. This avoids a mess as it flies all over while trying to break it down in the pan. 
Pick a large pan that is oven proof and that seals fairly well if using alternate method.

You can use all oil or all ghee. You may also substitute the ghee for salted butter. 
I prefer using at least half oil to prevent it from burning easily and congealing once cool. 
Adding Vanilla to it is a good option.
Reheat in the oven on a low preheated oven covered if preparing ahead of time.

Read more about Parsi Food history and origins in my cookbook 

Also download 
Niloufer's Kitchen: Quick and Easy for a classic Parsi Recipes.

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