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Perhaps he was indulged as the youngest, maybe he was just born with it, or perhaps he’s developed a highly tuned set of taste buds. Either way, my Uncle Stan loves his sweet stuff. But it’s not just any sweet-smelling or sweet-looking distraction that appeals to him, it’s desserts that have been lovingly prepared and cooked. I think I’ve inherited his sweet affliction, enjoying Indian-style pieces of mithai (fudge,) and milk-sweetened desserts popping with nuts and raisins, some gooey, some loose, but all moreish and irresistibly yummy.

Seviyan is a family favourite, and has no bigger advocate than Uncle Stan. Once the main courses are cleared and the desserts are being laid up, he switches to sport mode, and with the tenacity of a Formula One driver he manages pole position every time.

This dish isn’t an obvious dessert given that it uses rice noodles, but it hits notes of smoky toffee-ness, basking in rich velvety milk. The texture of crushed nuts and chewy raisins and cranberries could lull you into a momentary sense of ‘being good’, but banish those thoughts and get real. Let your inner kid loose and get stuck into this dish with gusto.

Seviyan Dessert

How To Make Seviyan

Serves 4–6 in smallish portions

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 50g vermicelli rice noodles
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 225g condensed milk
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 3 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and pummelled into powder
  • 2 tbsp mixed raisins and cranberries
  • 2 tbsp mixed pecan and pistachio nuts, crushed (not powdered)

Using a medium-sized pan, melt the butter over a low heat and, before it starts frothing, fry the vermicelli until golden brown. Take the pan off the heat. In a separate pan, boil the milk, then add the condensed milk, vermicelli, sugar and cardamom powder, and cook for 3–4 minutes until the vermicelli (seviyan) becomes soft. Whilst hot, spoon this Indian dessert into bowls and sprinkle the nuts and fruit over the surface.

Stan’s seviyan can also be eaten cold.

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