Sevai Kheer / Semai Payesh / Vermicilli Pudding

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Becoming Beautiful…

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Being pretty and beautiful is every girl’s dream… chasing it is a folly of which we are all guilty of once in a while as am I.

Some of us are born beautiful.. then there are those who grow out of their braces and bangs into a beautiful woman while some of us acquire it with good clothes or a good hairdo or a great makeover. Whatever the case may be we are all beautiful in our own unique ways and yet every morning we wake up and stand infront of the mirror trying to be a little more beautiful… we all long for a little bit more than what we already have.

I cant say I was ever a very pretty child, maybe cute … sometimes… but mostly plain and simple looking. I remember once when someone had commented on my ordinary looks my mom had defended me saying that whatever I lacked in looks I made up in personality and brains. I do not know if she said that to protect me/my feeling or to comfort herself or because she really believed that swapping beauty with brains / personality works in the world we live in. Not that I ever remember pining for being beautiful but I did long for the attention and glances that came with it. When I left home for college, with all the other things, my mom gave me several homemade beauty solutions for me to try on. She was doing what every mother loves to do for her daughter.

Those first two years after high school were pretty challenging ones, leaving home, staying in a hostel, realizing that the much coveted independence was not as desirable any more, trying to find my way in this world and all the accompanying upheavals, changes, struggles and resurgence of family bondings was a very humbling experience for me. It made me comprehend what counts in life, what matters most to me and what I can do without. I guess that was the time I grew up to be a little more kind, a little more caring, loving and dependable person. It was as if for the first time I was introspecting on my life, my priorities and becoming a better person each day… Looking back I realize that I was becoming beautiful inside out.

My mother, on the other hand, was perseverant in her endeavors, constantly prompting me with her tips for a healthy skin and hair and sending over her remedies. I can’t define what really worked for me and when, but it did. I may not be an exceptionally good looking creature around but I surely do stand up as a quite pleasant one. I was surprised that I stumbled upon beauty when I least expected it, but I understood that besides my mother’s tireless efforts (for which I will always be grateful) it had something to do with my inner self.

Beauty is not only about looking good, but also feeling good from within. So take time and dress beautifully everyday, keep your surroundings neat and clean, dress them up a bit, pamper yourself, take care of your body, exercise, spend sometime with nature (if refreshes your mind, makes you think and adds perspective) and smile – a Lot! Do something good – Talk good, you really don’t need any more negativity around you. The world is a wonderful place to be and so are you.

This post is my way of acknowledging all those people who came and will come into my life, who touched my heart and made me little better, little stronger and a little more beautiful – Thank you!

Now about today’s post – Sevai Kheer, also called in bengali as Semai’r Payesh or simply put Vermicelli pudding. I made this for my husband’s birthday way back in May as this is the only kind of kheer that he likes. I used the recipe from showmethecurry blindly (as my versions have gone wrong before) and it turned out to be pretty good.

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Ingredients:

  • Sevai, Semai, Seviyan, Vermicilli – 1/2 cup
  • Ghee / Butter – 1/2 tbsp
  • Milk / Evaporated milk or a combination of these – 6 cups of milk, if using evaporated milk reduce the amount accordingly. Can also use condensed milk in addition to it in which case reduce the sugar content.
  • Sugar – 1/4 cup or to taste
  • Dry fruits: Cashew halves, sliced almonds, pistachios, raisins – use any of these or a combination of these – as you like it.
  • Cardamom Powder/Elaichi, to garnish – 1/4 tsp approx.

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Method:

  • Heat ghee in a pan and roast the dry fruits lightly, Drain and keep aside.
  • In the same pan roast the sevai till it changes color. Keep stirring on medium heat. I generally use the roasted sevai variety that is available in the Indian store and skip this step.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan (can use the same one for roasting as well) boil the milk. If using a evaporated milk/condensed milk in combination, this step will take lesser time.
  • Once the milk starts to thicken slightly, add the roasted sevai and let it get completely cooked. At this stage if it is getting thicker that you like add little bit of warmed milk to it.
  • Keep stirring and checking if the sevai is cooked completely and the milk is thickened to your desired consistency. Remember it will thicken more on cooling.
  • When almost done add the sugar and the roasted dry fruits and mix well.
  • Once done, sprinkle the cardamom powder and let it cool a bit.
  • Serve cold or warmed.

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Gajar Halwa/Carrot Pudding

The summer is almost at its end. One can feel it in the air…the slight chill in the evening air reminds you of the change of seasons. The leaves will soon change their colors. It’s that time of the year when everything around you is just perfect. Not too much heat, nor cold… green around with hints of the colorful fall ahead.Its time for a new recipe in my blog for all the sweet-lovers.

Gajar halwa or carrot pudding has been childhood favorite delicacy made during the winters. But since we get all kinds of vegetable and fruits throughout the year its easy to have whatever you like whenever you want. So here I am, with a tray full of carrots that I had purchased to make a carrot cake, but ended up making carrot pudding.

Ingredients:

  • Carrots – 1 kg or 2 lbs
  • Ghee (preferably), butter or oil –  2+1 tbsp
  • Milk – 2-3 cups (approx)
  • Sugar – 1/2 to 1 cup or to taste
  • Green cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Cashews (halved) – 1 tbsp
  • Raisins – 1 tbsp
  • Khoya or Mawa – 1 cup (optional)
  • Coconut flakes – for garnishing (optional)

Method:

  • Peel, wash and grate the carrots.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of ghee, oil or butter in a thick bottomed pan.
  • Add the grated carrots and saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add milk and cook on medium heat till the carrots are cooked well. Keep stirring in between.
  • Add sugar and grated khoya (optional) and sprinkle the cardamom powder.
  • Add the left over ghee, oil or butter (1 tbsp) and mix well. This is optional.
  • Cook till all the moisture and milk has evaporated.
  • Add the halved cashews and raisins and mix well again.
  • Garnish with coconut flakes. (optional)