Parsi Sagun ni 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 in combination with sweetened yoghurt on most festive occasions. The contrasting textures, flavours, and temperatures (warm, crunch-topped sev, smooth, cool yoghurt) complement each other perfectly. The two seem to be synonymous; many of us actually refer to the duo as one word, "sev-dahi" in conversation!
Rose water, cardamom, and nutmeg fragrances and flavours familiar to most sweet delights of Parsi cuisine—topped with roasted or fried plump, golden raisins and slivered almonds or other nuts—complete this delicious dish.
|Sev topped with raisins and almonds|
1 tsp butter
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup water + 1/2 cup if needed
1 1/2 tbsp oil or ghee or a mixture of both
200 g/ 7 ½ oz vermicelli
A pinch of salt
1/4 cup rose water
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp butter
85 g/ 3 oz raisins
85 g/ 3 oz slivered almonds
In a pan, fry the raisins and almonds in one teaspoon of butter for one minute. Remove it and keep it aside on a kitchen paper towel to drain the oil.
In a pan, dissolve the sugar in cold water over a low flame. Do not allow it to boil. Keep aside.
In a flat, large pan, melt the ghee or heat the oil. Add all of the vermicelli, tossing it frequently until it is a caramel golden brown. Do not overcook or it will burn.
Add the sugar water to cover the vermicelli, pressing it down with the back of a spatula. Cover the pan tightly with a lid and let it simmer over a very low flame until the water has evaporated, about 15-20 minutes. Fluff the vermicelli with a fork and test if it has cooked through. If it has a bite but is still not soft, add another few teaspoons of water, cover and cook for an extra 5 minutes. Now add the salt, rosewater, vanilla, cardamom, and nutmeg. Set aside for 3 minutes to steam after tossing with a fork. Serve it sprinkled with the raisins and almonds.
The colour of your final dish will depend on the initial roasting.
To avoid a mess, break the long strands of vermicelli before opening the packaging.
You can use any combination of oil and ghee or even use butter. I personally prefer using at least half oil as this prevents it from burning easily as well as from congealing once cool.
Traditionally, sev does not include vanilla, but it does add a lovely fragrance and flavour to the dish.
If preparing ahead of time, reheat covered in a low preheated oven.
An alternate cooking method is steaming. After adding the sugar
water, put the pan in an oven for 25 minutes, starting at 180 °C | 350 °F
and reducing it to
120 °C | 250 °F halfway. Remember to toss the sev with a fork at this point, checking if it is soft and moist on its own or needs a sprinkle of water to continue cooking. Pick a pan that seals well enough to steam.