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


  1. This looks great Anjali, I love makhanas..this must be super rich, fit for a feast...:)

  2. Hey Vinaya! Yes they tasted fabulous but I could eat only some prasad from the naivedya, the rest of the family loved it too.

  3. That looks so royal! A dry fruit studded fragrant shevaiya kheer reminds me of Id's spent at a beautiful muslim friend's home when I was in college. Adding dates adds a lovely sweetness. I havent cooked with Makhana's yet, I guess I should try them out. You are right, blogging opens up a world of new ingredients that were never used before. I love it!

  4. You got it Priti! It is one royal sweet and as I explore I see Makhana used in curries. Must go check the nutrition value besides the fibre.

  5. hi Anjali - I love Makhana in a chat-like way just like we eat mur-mura bhel. You can add nice phetlele dahi to roasted makhanas and then garnish with chopped onions, chat powder and coriander.
    In the above recipe, when do you add the makhana? Should it be roasted as well with the shevayi?

  6. Yes Kavs roast it along with sevai and that idea of a Makhana chat is lovely. Will try it out.


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