Okay, a small disclaimer first. This was a totally unexpected dessert. I set out to do something else and ended up with something entirely different. But hey, if it works, everyone wins, right?
It all began when I spotted a call for action posted on FB by a dear blogger buddy Sonal (Simplyvegetarian777) asking us fellow bloggers to create unique recipes for a Holi festival collective blog post. What is Holi, you ask? Let me tell you that first. It is nothing but the most colorful and uniquely Indian festival ever. It is mostly celebrated in North India, sort of like a harbinger to spring. During Holi, people are encouraged to come together and quite literally have a blast with colors and water (think La Tomatina from Spain, but way cooler), and because of the sheer fun involved, Holi has spread to many parts of the world.
Like any other Indian festival, there is lots of food involved. Holi food is mostly snacks, lots of beverages and of course, desserts. You need the quick shots of energy to keep the tempo flowing!
I for one, rather boringly decided to play it safe and create a simple rose-flavored ‘semiya kesari’ or ‘meethi seviyan’ for Sonal’s event. This is very similar to this kesari or thick pudding made with semolina. The truth is I was craving something sweet and easy, with the emphasis on easy.
We use a very fine or super thin variety of vermicelli in many Indian desserts (most commonly, kheer or milk pudding). Meethi seviyan or kesari is another super easy dessert in which broken vermicelli pieces are lightly roasted in ghee and then cooked in milk and sugar. It can be flavored with cardamom, rose or saffron.
The advantage and disadvantage of this super fine variety of vermicelli is that it is so easy to overcook it. That is not necessarily a bad thing taste-wise, but it obviously doesn’t make for a pretty dessert.
While the sweet rose-flavored seviyan I made was cooling down, I had this sudden idea. If you read my blog regularly, you may remember how I created an east meets west carrot halwa tart topped with a light custard for Valentine’s Day. And that was my inspiration for this dessert as well.
Boy will absolutely devour anything if it comes in a glass with a pretty spoon. So why not make a parfait with the sweet seviyan and a light creamy custard? To keep the flavors harmonious, I decided on a simple cardamom infused custard. My custard recipe is a really easy one, is eggless and can be whipped up on the stove-top in under 10 minutes. Layered with lots of crunchy almonds and chewy raisins, the parfait actually turned out pretty decent.
You can simply serve the rose-flavored meethi seviyan by itself, but boy, a dollop of that custard really elevates it to another level! The guys went for seconds and were genuinely sorry when I told them it was all gone. I just love it when something I come up with on the spur of the moment turns out better than expected. It is a unique thrill and makes everything I work for with regard to food and blogging so worthwhile.
The hubby and I were brainstorming ideas on what to name this dessert and he said I should probably call it “Rose Gulumaal” or “Rose Golmaal“. Gulumaal or golmaal is an Indian expression which signifies a uniquely confusing or deceptive conundrum, but usually in a fun way. This dessert is all that and more. Easy to make, deceptively simple-looking, but very delicious. I hope you try it even if you celebrate Holi or not.
- Ghee - 2 tbsp, divided
- Fine vermicelli - 2 cups, broken and loosely packed
- Milk - slightly less than 2 cups (whole milk or skimmed)
- Cardamom powder - ½ tsp
- Rose syrup -2 tbsp
- Sugar - ¼ cup
- Whole Milk - 2 cups
- Cornstarch - 3 tbsp
- Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
- Salt - a pinch
- Sugar - ¼ cup
- Vanilla extract - ½ tsp
- Sweet vermicelli - the above quantity, cooked
- Cardamom custard - the above quantity, cooked
- Almonds - 6 tbsp, chopped (15-20)
- Golden raisins - 15-20
- Rose flavored meethi seviyan: Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Tip in the broken vermicelli and roast till golden, stirring continuously.
- Pour in the milk and allow the vermicelli to cook, 4-5 minutes.
- Then add cardamom powder, rose syrup, sugar and the second tablespoon of ghee. Stir well to incorporate. The sugar and ghee will melt and turn the vermicelli glossy. Remove from flame when this mixture is fairly dry. Cool slightly. (This meethi seviyan can be served as such topped with nuts and raisins.)
- Cardamom Custard: Mix the cornstarch with ¼ cup of milk till no lumps remain. Set aside.
- Heat the remaining milk in a deep saucepan. When the milk just begins to boil, add the cornstarch slurry and sugar. Keep cooking, whisking the mixture constantly. In 4-5 minutes, the custard will start to thicken and turn glossy.
- Now add the cardamom powder, salt and vanilla extract. Whisk well to incorporate, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Custard will thicken further once cool.
- Meethi Seviyan Parfait: For each serving of parfait, add some of the meethi seviyan in a bowl or glass. Spread a tablespoon of crushed almonds and a few raisins over it. Top with a big dollop of cardamom custard. Drizzle more rose syrup on top and serve. This parfait can be served slightly warm, at room temperature or cold.
2. Rose syrup is available in specialty food stores, Asian, Middle-Eastern or Mediterranean grocery stores. If you do not want the light pink color, you can simply add 1 tsp of rose water to the seviyan along with the cardamom powder and sugar.
3. You can add other nuts like cashew nuts or pistachios as well.
4. Instead of using rose syrup, you can flavor the meethi seviyan with kesar or saffron infused milk. This goes exceptionally well with chopped pistachios as garnish.
And there you have it, a delicately sweetened, beautifully flavored, colorful desert fit for any celebration!
Do you celebrate Holi? What are some of the traditional recipes you make? If you are looking for a dessert that is different, beautiful and easy to make, do try my meethi seviyan parfait with cardamom custard. I am sure you will love it!
Go here for more recipes for Indian festival goodies. And say it with me, Holi hai!!
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