Parsi Sev (Sweet Vermicelli)
Today is a huge day not just for me but for the world - yes it sounds a bit dramatic but today is the day that right here, right now, on this very blog that I will revealing a closely guarded family secret recipe for a fool-proof Parsi Sev recipe courtesy of my Mum, who I've dubbed for my blog, Mama Vil!
My Mum has served this recipe in Australia, India and the USA, no matter where she goes they ALWAYS say it is the best Parsi Sev they have ever tasted and I tend to agree as well and I am not biased at all (*smile).
Parsi Sev, is a beautiful sweet celebratory dish made from roasted vermicelli (found at all Indian grocery stores) to which sugar, oil, salt and spices are added. This dish is often served for breakfast of the day of any special occasion, including birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, or the start of anything important within the family. It is also served for breakfast during the festival of Navroz The idea behind sev stems from the cultural tradition of "mithu monu" or "sweet mouth" which is the literal translation. The idea is to start the day or occasion with something sweet to signify it be happy and successful. It is often served with sweetened, plain or Greek yogurt. I prefer it with the Greek or plain because I like the contrast of the sweet with the tang of the yogurt combination.
Although this recipe is very, very easy, I must confess, there is a bit of an "art" to making this dish
so I really encourage you to watch Mum in action in the video below
You can fry your nuts and sultanas for garnishing if you prefer
Ensure that you have your water boiling and ready to go when you are ready to cook your sev. Boiling in a kettle is easy and faster than on the stove top
A large stove-top pot or even a large wok, is ideal for cooking this recipe
Give the sev some time to "breathe" after it is cooked to dry out slightly and GENTLY mix/turn to allow the steam to escape
YOU WILL NEED
1 kettle/pot of boiling water
225g | 8 ounces roasted vermicelli (sev)
3 tablespoons of rice bran oil/vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup | 175g | 6 ounces caster or raw sugar
1/2-3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla essence
12-15 drops cardamom extract OR ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (or to taste)
Grilled or fried slivered/flaked almonds, cashews and/or pistachios for garnish (optional)
Sultanas soaked in boiling water for 5-10 minutes and drained for garnish (optional)
Keep a kettle/pot of boiling water ready – you may not not need all of it but you should not fall short of boiling water when you are cooking the sev.
Break the sev roughly into 2.5cm/1 inch bits and set aside.
In a large non-stick pot add the sev, oil, butter, sugar, a good pinch of salt, vanilla extract/essence, cardamom extract/cardamom powder and nutmeg powder (if you are using it.)
Place on the stove on high heat. Pour in the boiling water until it JUST covers the sev. Turn the stove down a little allow to continue bubbling away. Use a spoon to push all the sev down so it is completely submerged in the water and allow the water to boil and evaporate away, stirring gently.
Taste the mixture and if needed, adjust the flavor accordingly. Add more sugar. cardamom or nutmeg if using to your taste.
Allow to cook until the strands are soft and water has fully absorbed and evaporated from the sev. This will only take a few minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Continue to give a gentle stir to allow the steam to escape and for the sev to “dry” a little.
Before serving and if needed, take two forks and gently separate the strands of sev, (as if you are shredding meat).
Empty into a serving dish and serve with grilled almonds or nuts of your choice, sultanas and some plain, Greek or sweetened yogurt if desired.
SERVES 5-6 GENEROUSLY