1, six-inch bowl of pudding
This dessert is warm and comforting, timeless; having graced Pakistani households for decades, and rich; the sweetness undercut perfectly by the nuttiness.
- 150g vermicelli
- 10 dates, washed and pitted
- Raisins (as desired)
- Almonds (as desired)
- Cardamom (5 pods)
- 4 cups milk (plus a little more for soaking the dry fruit)
- 1 cup white sugar (granulated)
- Clarified butter/oil, for frying
- Soak the dates and raisins in some warm milk. Set aside.
- Heat some clarified butter or oil in a skillet. Empty the cardamom pods into the pan and stir lightly until they release their signature fragrance. Add the vermicelli (break it into smaller clumps, if you find that easier to manage) and roast until a golden-brown colour and well coated in the fragrant oil. Transfer to a large pot and set aside.
- Pour 4 cups of milk into a large pan and cook on a medium heat until reduced to about half, and thickened.
- Pour half the hot milk onto the vermicelli, so that it cooks and softens.
- Add the sugar, and let the mixture stand for a while so that the sugar completely dissolves.
- Add the remaining milk, gradually. Stop when you find you have the desired consistency (I like a relatively thick pudding and was left with about half a cup of milk).
- Add the dates, raisins and almonds to the mixture.
- The more milk you add, the more sugar is required. Conversely, the less milk you add, the sweeter the pudding will taste, and less sugar is needed. So be cautious and keep tasting the mixture as you are adding the sugar.
- You can use pre-roasted vermicelli, I found it doesn’t make a difference. But you don’t want to skip the frying step since that is what gives the pudding a wonderful cardamom fragrance.