Both, the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) as well as the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) have announced that, with the predicted appearance of the new moon, Sunday will be the last day of Ramadan for most Australian Muslims and the day of Eid Al-Fitr will be Monday 2 May 2022.

Eid announcement by ANIC.

The last few days of Ramadan are bitter-sweet as everyone anticipates Eid but grieves the end of a special time of fasting, spiritual reflection, reading of the Quran, prayer and forgiveness. But in kitchens across Australia, there will also be a flurry of preparation ahead of hosting and visiting relatives and friends.

If you haven’t finalised what you’ll be cooking and serving up, we invite you to try some of the snacks and sweets on RecipesForRamadan.com.

Eid announcement by AFIC.

There’s plenty of ideas to keep your Eid trolley stocked and to take as gifts. From savoury snacks like Mehar’s samosas, Nasreen’s sambosas and Mehreen’s pakoras to a mouth-watering menu of sweet things.

There’s a range of can’t-stop-at-one sweets from Izeta’s Bosnian Baklava and Maqsood’s Bangladeshi Halwa to Fatimah Omran’s Eid Maamoul Biscuits and the Shahrouk Sisters’ Lebanese Jam Crescents; and from Sally Mousa’s Qatayef to Hoda Hannaway’s Znoud El Sitt, Layelle Ayoubi’s Halawet Al Jibn and Zohra Aly’s Kenyan Kalimati.

Zohra Aly’s Kenyan Kalimati – beware: it’s impossible to stop at one!

There’s beautiful cakes from Fatimha’s Lebanese Semolina Turmeric Sfouf – bursting with the sunshine everyone on the east coast craves after the incessant rain of recent months – to her Carrot and Pistachio Cake with  lemon icing and fresh figs and Mama G’s Namoura Semolina Cake.

And there’s desserts that require a spoon like Sueda’s Japanese Sweet Tapoica with Coffee Jelly and Kiran Afzal’s Sheer Khurma which her family eats for Eid breakfast.

Kiran who grew up in Karachi says, “Enjoying a bowl of “sheer khurma” is one of my favourite Eid traditions. A popular Eid dessert in Pakistan and in India, it is made with vermicelli (called seviyaan) cooked in milk with dates, nuts and cardamom.

Kiran Afzal’s family recipe for Sheer Khurma a vermicelli and milk dessert which graces every Eid table in Pakistan

The preparation for my mother’s sheer khurma always started the night before Eid, known as Chand Raat or ‘the night of the moon’. Similar to Christmas Eve, this was the time when it seemed like the entire city was out and about.

People rushing to the grocery stores to get last minute ingredients, girls to the beauty parlours to get mehndi (henna) applied, and of course last-minute shopping for bangles, clothes and gifts. Every shop, beauty parlour and tailor open late catering to all the customers.

…. My responsibility was chopping and slicing the nuts. I would do this late at night after I had tidied up my room and set out my clothes, shoes and bangles for Eid. Then I would slice up almonds and pistachios and set them out in a container for my mother.

Next day, when I would wake up there would be a huge pot of sheer khurma on the stove….  When my father and brothers came back from Eid prayers, we would all wish each other Eid Mubarak, and sit together to have breakfast followed by a bowl of hot sheer khurma.

If you want to try Kiran’s Sheer Khurma for your Eid breakfast, her family recipe is below.  This and the recipes for all other sweets and cakes mentioned above can be found on https://recipesforramadan.com/recipes/. Zohra’s Kenyan Kalimati and Mama G’s Namoura Semolina Cake will also feature in Guardian Australia’s 5-part Recipes for Ramadan series tomorrow.

Sheer Khurma

Prep Time 30 minutes

Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Total Time 2 hours

Servings 6 people

Ingredients

3 tablespoons almonds

3 tablespoons pistachios, sliced

½ packet roasted vermicelli – available in South Asian grocery stores or in the international aisle of major supermarkets

4-6 cardamom pods

2 litres full-fat milk

1 cup sugar (adjust to taste)

4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or oil

8-10 dried dates (chuwaray) – available at the South Asian supermarkets under the name dried dates or chuwaray.  These are added to give a subtle flavour and aroma to the sheer khurma. As they are dried, they can be left to cook in the milk for a long time without disintegrating. If not available, fresh dates can be added, however, they should only be left to cook in the milk mixture for around 10 minutes.

Edible dried rose petals, for garnish (this is not traditional but I like the colour and aroma)

METHOD

STEP 1: Prepare the nuts: Place the almonds in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. The hot water will help release the skins. Once the water is lukewarm, peel the skins off. Once the almonds are cool, slice them lengthwise. Slice the pistachios lengthwise and set them both aside. (You can also use pre-sliced almonds and pistachios.) Heat 2 tablespoons ghee / oil in a medium frying pan and add the sliced nuts. Fry for about 2 minutes till they become light golden in colour. Remove from the heat and set aside.

STEP 2: Place the milk in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring the milk to a boil, and then turn heat to low. Add the dry dates (chuwaray). Cook on slow heat for an hour stirring every 10 minutes or so to ensure the milk doesn’t burn. The milk colour will change from white to a pale yellow as it keeps cooking. The dry dates become soft as they cook in the hot milk – they can be removed before serving.

STEP 3: While the milk is cooking, peel the cardamom pods, and remove the seeds. Pound the cardamom seeds with a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin and keep aside. Add another tablespoon of ghee in the same frying pan that was used to fry the nuts. Add the crushed cardamom seeds and cook for about a minute. Then add the roasted vermicelli, roughly crushing with your hands. Fry for about 2 minutes till it changes to a light golden brown, and then add to the milk. Cook the vermicelli in the milk for about 10 minutes, and then add sugar. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring every minute to make sure the vermicelli is soft and the sugar is dissolved. Taste the sheer khurma and adjust sugar if needed. Add the fried almonds and pistachios. Cook for 2 minutes and serve right away in bowls. Garnish with dried rose petals.

Note: If a thicker sheer khurma is preferred, increase the quantity of vermicelli used.

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Sheer Khurma – a Pakistani tradition and a delightful way to start your Eid celebrations