Thursday, March 22, 2012

Banarasi Kemami Sevaiya

There are several versions of sevaiyan made into a kheer. This one was made by Zebi on Master Chef in season one. It made Akshay Kumar gush about the taste that reminded him about his mother's sevaiyan. This one had Khoya in it so I knew it is a rich version but this rich! is something I didn't imagine. This Holi I made it for my family. I moved back to Mumbai and am back with my family. I know its late to post about Holi but never too late to share this luscious recipe. It is the first time I am using Makhana and that too in a sweet. This blogging really is motivating to use new ingredients, that have not been known neither have been ever used in cooking in your entire family.

So here is the recipe, I tweaked it a bit as I did not have kevara essence. Plus I was cooking for a family of 6 adults so I halved the recipe and used very little ghee. That much ghee in the  original recipe is really unnecessary I think. The sugar was adjusted to our liking. I loaded the sevaiyan with all possible dry fruits I had at home. She uses water for the syrup as she uses khoya, I used milk and condensed milk for the lusciousness.

Benarsi Kemami Sivaiain recipe by Zebi Zubair


  • 1/4 kg Benarsi Siwai 
  • 1 litre milk
  • 1 kg Khoya (I used 3/4 tin condensed milk)
  • 250 gm Sugar 
  • 1  tablespoon Pure ghee
  • 3 drops Kevra essence / I used 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 3-4 Green cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg powder (zaifal)
  • 1 cup Makhana (chopped)
  • 1 small piece Coconut 
  • 10 Cashewnut
  • 4 -5 Almond
  • 10g Kishmish
  • 4 roundels dried figs
  • 10g black raisins
  • 10gms khajur
  • 5 pieces Silver foil (chandi ka waraq) optional Or rose petals

In a pan add ghee and roast the sewai till brown, add Makhana and roast a bit. Add sugar, water, khoya or condensed milk and milk to a pan and bring to a boil till you get a four string consistency. Shallow-fry the dry fruits in oil. Add the roasted sewai to the dry fruits and sugar syrup. Cook on a slow flame for five minutes. Remove from heat and then add kewra essence (3 drops) in the mix. Season with cardamom powder and zaifal powder, rest it for 4 minutes. Decorate with silver foil and fried dry fruits before serving, is what Zebi did. I added a splash of color with rose petals to hint about the gulab pani.

One note: even 1/4 kg sevaiyan was a lot for 6 people, we shared with 5 more people. Next time I will make it with just 1/8kg.

At the end of the yummy recipe you are left wondering, where is kemami in the ingredients? Well well, I had to google hard to know Kemami or Qimami, means scented/ perfumed in Persian and Urdu. Zebi's were Kevara scented mine were with Gulab pani, what will you scent it with? How about Khus?

Another version:

Shevayi Kheer

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Help! Viren Needs Treatment For Leukemia

Dear Reader,
Wish you a very good day!

Mr. Viren Navin Shah, who is one of my best friends since childhood, has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML a type of blood cancer) and needs urgent treatment. I've shared here his relevant documents for your reference.

Viren has already completed his first round of chemotherapy at Bombay Hospital, Churchgate, Mumbai. He is currently admitted at Tata Memorial Hospital's ACTREC, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai under treatment and supervision of Dr. Navin Khattry for further rounds of chemotherapy.
He also needs to undergo unrelated matched bone marrow transplant (post acquiring bone marrow from a third party donor) because his brother Jatin’s bone marrow did not match with his bone marrow.

The funds that Viren and his family have, would not be sufficient for the entire / long term treatment. Almost all of their savings have already been exhausted. Estimated treatment cost as per the attached document provided by Tata ACTREC is INR 50,75,000/- (i.e. USD 105,000/- approx.) and hence I’m forwarding his request to you in order to provide financial aid for Viren's treatment. 

Apart from funds, Viren also requires regular transfusion of B+ blood and platelets. It would be great if you can help Viren find more and more donors for this purpose as well.

Viren is 31, married and has a son of age 2 years. He had lost his father when Viren was 16 years old and since then, he is the bread earner of his family. Please help us raise the required funds to get Viren out of this life threatening disease.

If you wish to meet us in person for this purpose then any of us (mentioned below) would be more than glad to be available to meet you, whenever you find time.

I / we look forward to your support and thank you in advance for your time.

Yours Truly,

Nikhil Sadanand Wange
(Viren's friend since childhood)

Cheques can be accepted in the name of  "Viren Shah"
OR "Tata Memorial Hospital"

You can also donate by wire transfers crediting into

A/C no: 9100 100 3263 7451
A/C holder: Viren Shah
IFSC: UTIB0000328
Name of the Bank: AXIS Bank, Branch- Andheri East

New a/c (Donations only)

Savings Account Number  -  912010010577759
Bank / Branch   -  Axis Bank, UTHALSAR NAKA, THANE
IFSC Code                 - UTIB0000509

Viren's paypal account -


Go to the Facebook page created by friends


More of Viren's friends :
yogesh kanade<>;
Vikas Gupta<>;<>;
prasoon kakrania<>;
Pritesh Shah<>;
Pavan Dimri<>;
Santosh Vishwakarma<>

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Sicilian Caponata With Rice Croquettes

Sicilian Caponata with Rice Croquettes and Tzatziki

Hi Friends! Its been a long time since I posted. Couple of friends dropped comments here to check on me. Appreciated. Well there is some news at my end but that is for later first things first for the love of food that I will have to stay away from henceforth. The same food that I was so obsessed about now is rarely going to be cooked in the same way in my home. I the foodie and food blogger have a voice ringing in my head, " Run...cholestrol ~ ~ ~" when I see the beautiful glasses of strawberry and cream or fried food on blogs and TV shows. I still watch food shows not easy to give that up yet but what's playing in my mind is how can I make the recipes heart healthy

Now before I begin to post heart healthy recipes let me get done with the 15 in my draft. Those who are younger and who exercise enough can still enjoy them. So here is a recipe I made from the memories of an experience at the cafeteria in the visitors center at Auroville. In Auroville live people from 40 countries and visitors from all over the world so the menu is always continental. The recipes are contributed by these visitors who work at the cafeteria during their stay and the food is mostly homestyle.

Sicilian Caponata Sauce, if  I had to tell family, is a Vangya chi bhaaji with Italian herbs it could be fresh or dried parsley or rosemary like I used. In addition to the dominant aubergines and tomato you can add a whole lot of veggies or for the non veg version any meat of your choice.

Traditionally the aubergines are used with the skins on but here I wanted to make a special lunch so I scooped out the flesh and made boats just to add glamor, it was a weekend meal after all. Plus I wanted my Dad to enjoy it because we had left him behind at home while my bro and me went off on Pondicherry-Auroville-Mahabalipuram trip, where we had enjoyed this memorable meal.

I made Rice Croquettes on this day because that is what we had at Auroville but you could serve is with an crusty bread or even use it as a pizza topping.


Sicilian Caponata Sauce

1 large aubergine (7X4 inches)
4 tomatoes
2 large onions
1 teaspoon dried Rosemary
2 teaspoon olive oil
salt and sugar to taste

Rice Croquettes 
3 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup finely diced carrots
1/2 cup finely diced Capsicum
1 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste
wheat flour for dredging

Oil for deep frying the croquettes

Lets begin with the sauce. Wash and pat dry the aubergine. Cut vertically into two halves. Now with a spoon scoop out the flesh, dice it and keep aside. Chop up the onions and tomatoes into large chunks and keep ready.

In a frying pan add the oil, saute the onions till transparent. Follow in with the aubergines and mix to coat well will oil. Cover and cook for 5 mins. Then add the tomatoes and put the lid back for another 5 mins. Remove the lid and season with dried rosemary, salt and sugar. Cover and cook for 5 more mins till everything melds well.

Rice Croquettes 

For the rice balls just mix together all  the ingredients and don't forget the salt. Roll them and dredge in whole wheat flour. Heat oil and deep fry in hot oil. When they are golden brown pull them out and let them drain on a absorbent paper.

Putting together and serving

In a greased baking tray arrange the aubergine boats. Brush them lightly with oil. Bake for 4 mins. Then scoop in the Sicilian Caponata Sauce into it. Bake for another 5 mins.

Remove each boat into a serving plate and place one rice croquettes on it. Serve with some fresh crunchy vegetables or like I did with Tzatziki

With that it's a bye bye to fried food. You will see it on this blog only if it is prepared for others or if there is a recipe in the draft yet to be posted. I have been Stented and can never go back to eating carelessly like I used to. I am still contemplating whether my writing a separate post on it is going to help other people. When I have made up my mind I will detail my experience of Myocardial Infraction and the treatment I received and what I am doing for rehab.

On Trail