Bakrid (AKA Bakra Eid, Eid-ul-Zuha or Eid-al-Adha) is one among the many festivals falling in July and August. This happens to be the second Eid celebration post-Eid al-Fitr. During the festival, the Muslim community concludes the annual Haj pilgrimage made by themselves. Celebrated worldwide with religious fervour, Bakrid is an occasion that commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s ready sacrifice of his own son to the lord to prove his devotion. While offering his son’s head, he converts it into a lamb’s head as a reward.
Apart from preparing some delicious main courses after distributing the meat among its people and the needy, the Islamic community also cooks Sheer Khurma. The creamy vermicelli pudding is not only made in Pakistan but also across many regions of South Asia and Central Asia, including India and Afghanistan on this auspicious occasion.
Originated from Persia, sheer implies milk and khurma mean dates in Persian. Dates signify as an important food in Prophet Mohammed’s life. They also play a significant role during Eid as Muslims break their fast with it in the evening. Sheer Khurma is prepared not only during Eid celebrations as a dessert but, at times, like a spicy variant for breakfast and sometimes even guests are also treated with a bowl of aromatic sweet Sheer Khurma.
The origin of Sheer Khurma can be traced back to the era before the British invaded the subcontinent. The Silk Road that linked the Subcontinent and Persia, remains the first and one of the most important roads to transit goods and cultures of ancient times, at least in the South Asian subcontinent.
In North India, ‘seviyan’ or vermicelli has a different culinary use, leaving us with the thought that it had arrived in the subcontinent through a different trade route, controlled by the Arab, who in all likelihood might have introduced the Italian Pasta in a new form to the courts of Delhi and Agra.
However, it varies from region to region in terms of consumption. Typically, vermicelli, milk and dates are the primary ingredients to prepare Sheer Khurma. But as time went by, people across different regions kept experimenting depending on their taste buds. In today’s version of Sheer Khurma, we see people adding pistachios, almonds, clove, saffron, rosewater etc.
Not only the Muslim community but also many people across the globe go crazy over this flavourful wholesome dessert. In the contemporary scenario, it marks the tradition of the whole family gathering together to enjoy the sweetness of the occasion, apart from highlighting in the festive spirit.