How do you make a Sheer Khurma with saffron strands?

How do you make a Sheer Khurma with saffron strands?

How do you make a Sheer Khurma with saffron strands?

Sheer Khurma (also known as Sheer Khorma) is a rich, decadent, traditional dessert of vermicelli pudding made during the festive occasion of Eid al-Fitr in the South Asian countries of India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan. In the Persian language ‘Sheer‘ means milk and ‘Khurma‘ means dates. This creamy and delish Sheer Khurma recipe is made with milk, dates, nuts and dry fruits, vermicelli and flavorings like rose water, saffron or cardamom powder. How do you make a Sheer Khurma with saffron strands?

More on Sheer Khurma

Sheer khurma is a rich dessert consisting of various dry fruits, nuts, ghee, and milk. Think of it like a rice pudding, except instead of rice, you use angel hair pasta.

More on Sheer Khurma
More on Sheer Khurma

As with most Indian dishes, there are many different variations of making it. My easy recipe calls for only a handful of pantry staples, meaning you don’t have to go searching for ingredients like condensed milk or khoya (mawa).

In my recipe, I roast the vermicelli (also known as seviyan in Hindi) first and then add it to milk which has been simmering and thickening slightly. The roasted vermicelli gets an almost nutty flavor, which is then imparted to the sweetened milk mixture as it simmers. As the vermicelli-milk mixture thickens, I add dates together with more dry fruits and nuts for sweetness and texture.

I only add about 4 tablespoons of sugar in my sheer khurma recipe because I use both dates and raisins, which lend their sweetness to the pudding. You can adjust the proportion of sugar according to the dates you use and your taste preference.

This delicious, sweet pudding is also an excellent dessert to be made in winters as it has plenty of dry fruits and nuts which give a lot of heat and warmth to the body. It is best to have sheer khurma served hot from the pan during winters.

Difference between Sheer Khurma and Seviyan Kheer

Though Sheer Khurma and Seviyan Kheer (Vermicelli Kheer) look similar, they are not the same. Dates are added to sheer khurma, but are not added to vermicelli kheer.

The method of cooking sheer khurma is also different than vermicelli kheer. In sheer khurma, milk is thickened slightly before adding vermicelli. This results in a thicker, creamier pudding consistency than kheer.

In India, many sweet puddings are made with rice or vermicelli during festive occasions. I have listed some popular Indian festival pudding recipes below.

How to Make Sheer Khurma

1. Gather and rinse the dried fruits and nuts except for chironji (charoli seeds). If you want, you can rinse them too. Later drain all the water.

You will need the following dried fruits:

  • 30 pistachios (roughly 3 tablespoons or 20 grams)
  • 20 almonds (approximately 20 grams)
  • 16 to 18 cashews (approximately 20 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 4 large or 8 small to medium-sized dates (about 100 grams)

2. Chop the dates and measure. You should get about ½ cup of chopped dates.

3. Next chop all the nuts – pistachios, almonds, cashews and also the raisins.

Roast Vermicelli

Roast Vermicelli
Roast Vermicelli

4. Break 40 grams thin and fine wheat vermicelli to shorter strands. You should get 1 cup of broken or chopped vermicelli strands.

5. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet or pan or kadai (wok). When the pan becomes hot, lower the heat. Add the vermicelli. Stirring often, dry roast the vermicelli on low heat.

6. Roast until golden and set aside in a plate or tray. You can also opt to roast the vermicelli in ghee if you prefer.

Sauté Nuts, Dates and Dry Fruits

7. In another skillet or frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons ghee.

8. Add chopped dry fruits and nuts (chopped dates, raisins, cashews, almonds, pistachios. Also add 2 tablespoons chironji seeds.

Chironji seeds give a nice nutty texture, but you can choose to omit them if they are not available to you.

9. Stirring often, sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on a low heat.

Heat Milk

10. Meanwhile heat 1 litre whole milk in the same kadai (wok) or skillet in which you roasted the vermicelli. Stir the milk a few times while it becomes hot and comes to a boil.

11. Let the milk come to boil on medium-low to medium heat.

12. Lower the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until the milk slightly thickens. Stir the milk at intervals.

Cook Vermicelli

13. When the milk has thickened slightly, add the roasted vermicelli.

14. Add 4 tablespoons sugar (or as required) to the pan. Mix very well.

15. Simmer until the vermicelli are cooked and are softened. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes. The milk will also thicken and reduce by the time the vermicelli cooks.

16. The vermicelli should be nicely cooked and softened.

Make Sheer Khurma

17. When the vermicelli has softened and cooked well, add the flavorings: 15 to 18 saffron strands and 1 teaspoon cardamom powder.

18. Add the entire mixture of sautéed dry fruits, dates, nuts, and ghee from the pan.

19. Switch off the heat and mix well. The chopped dates will thicken the consistency more. Check the taste and add more sugar if needed.

If the sheer khurma is If too thick for your liking, add ¼ to ½ cup hot milk. Remember to add sugar as needed when you add more milk.

Serve sheer khurma hot or warm in individual bowls. Sheer khurma will thicken as it cools, so allow it to cook to the consistency you want.

20. Lastly add 1 tablespoon rose water and mix to combine. Instead of rose water, you can use kewra water (pandanus water).

21. Serve sheer khurma hot, warm or chilled. You can also garnish sheer khurma with rose water, saffron strands, rose petals or powdered cardamom while serving.

Keep in mind that the consistency of sheer khurma thickens as it cools. So make sure to keep a lighter flowing consistency when the khurma is hot.

Sugar and its replacements

Because the dates bring in a lot of sweetness in sheer khurma, you don’t need to add a lot of sugar to this recipe. But you can always add more according to your taste preference. You can also opt to skip it entirely – just increase the amount of dates. How do you make a Sheer Khurma with saffron strands?

If you want to substitute sugar with some other sweetener, feel free. Jaggery, palm sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup or agave are all solid options.

TIP: If you are adding jaggery, palm sugar, or coconut sugar, follow these steps: First, cook the sheer khurma completely. Then remove the pan from the stovetop and set it aside for 4 to 5 minutes. Add chopped jaggery, palm sugar, or coconut sugar according to the sweetness you prefer.

Expert Tips & Optional Variations

  • Vermicelli: The type of vermicelli added in sheer khurma are the thin, long, and fine strands of whole wheat vermicelli. These have long strands, so you have to break them before roasting. Traditionally sheer khurma is always made with wheat vermicelli. If in case you cannot source this variety of vermicelli, opt to use rice vermicelli. But the texture and flavor will be different.
  • Nuts & Dry Fruits: Sheer khurma recipe has plenty of nuts and dry fruits added in it. If you are allergic to some nuts, you can easily skip them. You can also add your own favorite combination of nuts to it.
  • Dates: Use any good quality soft dates; Medjool and Ajwa are good choices. If there are seeds in the dates, then chop them and discard the seeds. Dry dates (known as kharik) can also be added. If using dry dates, then soak them in water for a few hours until they soften. Add the dates when you add the roasted nuts and ghee.
  • Chironji: Wondering what chironji is? These are small brown-colored seeds with a nutty flavor and taste. In India, we easily get them in any grocery shop. They are also known as ‘charoli‘. If you do not have these seeds, then simply skip them. Be sure to use fresh chironji as they go rancid very quickly.


  • Coconut: You can add about 2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut (unsweetened) to this recipe.
  • Condensed milk or Khoya: For a richer taste and flavor, you can add ¼ cup grated khoya (mawa) to the milk. If using sweetened condensed milk, add 1 to 1.5 tablespoons (or as needed), skipping the sugar entirely in the recipe.
  • Flavorings: While cardamom powder and rose water are the preferred flavorings, you can optionally add 12 to 15 saffron strands. Swap rose water with pandanus water (kewra water). Mix the saffron strands in a few tablespoons of warm milk for that beautiful yellow color in the sheer khorma. Add this saffron-infused milk when you add the sautéed dates, nuts and dried fruit mixture.

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