Fig. 1. Shevaiyaan Kheer
We are abstaining from sugar in our cooking this month. One of our foodies here needs to restrict sugar and carb intake. But obviously, if you tell me "don't make anything with sugar" all I can think about is sugar!! I have even gone out of my way to specifically click and ogle at the items under dessert labels on most food-blogs! And I am just the cook! What about our sweet-foodie here? Especially when the doctor tells you that sugar is the last thing you want to eat now, sugar is immediately the first thing on your mind. Psychology-shmychology!!
Anyway.. here we were. Desserts were taunting us in our dreams at night, pervading our senses in the day and when enough was enough.. we turned to SPLENDA. I cannot say much about artificial sweeteners. There is a plethora of brands and varieties out there. Lots of confusing data about what is good and what isn't. The doctor told our foodie that Splenda is ok, so that's what we are going with now.
I made some Shevaiyaan Kheer. Our foodie had missed kheers for Ugadi.. then came all the other New Years. So kheer it had to be. No Indian festival, wedding or religious community event is complete without a Kheer or Payasam! Also, Shevaiyaan Kheer is the simplest kheer anyone can make, and takes the least amount of time and effort. The shevai themselves soak up a lot of liquid and there is not much need to wait around for the milk to condense.
I looked up my Mom's recipe, but didn't have all the ingredients she had listed. So I will post Mom's specifically sometime in future. I also looked up the recipe at Aayi's Recipes. The one I have made here is my generalized combination of both those recipes to suit the ingredients I had at home.
Milk (1% reduced fat) ~ 4 cups
Shevai (vermicelli) ~ 1 cup. I think this could be reduced to 3/4 or 1/2 cup in future. Or I could use thin vermicelli like Mom does.
Ghee ~ 2 teaspoons
Cardamom (elaichi) - 2 or 3 finely ground. The peels have fragrance too. So I add the peels too and remove the peels later.
Almonds ~ 15 chopped into slices for garnish.
Sugar ~ 1/2 or 3/4 cup, taste and add as per your preference.
Splenda ~ 4 small packets
1) Fry shevai in ghee for a few minutes till they turn light golden in colour.
2) Now add the 4 cups of milk in a deep pot. Stir the milk till it boils. Reduce heat and let it thicken just a little bit.
3) Add fried shevai and ground cardamom to the boiling milk. Stir till shevai are well cooked. The kheer will still be very liquid.
4) Turn off the heat. Add sugar or splenda as per taste and mix. We needed only about 4 packets of splenda. It varies from sweetener to sweetener. Some of them change taste after heating. So that's why I have added this at the end. (Note: If using sugar, Shilpa/Varada Aunty at Aayi's recipes have noted that adding sugar before the vermicelli is cooked will slow down the vermicelli cooking process.)
5) Garnish with chopped pieces of almonds while serving.
My foodie likes this kheer hot. I prefer it to be chilled. Not sure if there is a norm. The above pic is taken after chilling it for a few hours. You can see that the kheer has condensed/thickened quite a bit. Ideally it should be a bit thinner... even after chilling. I think I will use thin vermicelli next time and condense the milk for a shorter time.
Anyway, we offered some as neiveydhya to the Gods in our little dev-ghar at home, and they registered no complaints. ;) So we celebrated and ate the festive kheer with splendid spirits! :)
I am sending this post to a few events -
1) Jihva - Wedding feasts hosted by Priya at Akshaypaatram. This event is the brainchild of Indira of Mahanandi.
2) The Cooking with Seeds - Cardamom event hosted by Priya at Easy N Tasty Recipes.
Cheers and happy cooking everyone!