Memories of food: Spaghetti Squash Seviyan


There are a million ways to spell this vermicelli-based indian dessert. I’m sure there are an equal number of ways to cook it, but I am only acquainted with one: you start with vermicelli noodles, saute/fry them in a bit of ghee (fresh butter), add milk/sugar, cook over low-medium heat, and add cardamom/rose water when you remove from the heat.

Consistencies vary from what I have heard, but I have only seen the soupy variety, which resembles a strand of string floating in a milky puddle. Why seen, you might wonder. The answer to that is simple: I have never eaten seviyan before now; only watched my mother standing over a pot stirring it diligently, preventing the milk from curdling yet ever mindful of the noodles’ consistency.

It is a strange thing, this memory. Unlike my other memories of foods, which are irreversibly bound to taste and texture, this memory is a fleeting image in my mind. A shadow of a pot over a bright orange flame, strings of noodles, thick billows of rose-infused steam.

That was the image flashed across my mind as I scraped the bottom of my spaghetti squash the other day. It’s subtle sweetness jumped out at me, so much so that it was all I could taste. Visions of tomato-drenched spaghetti covered in cheese fled from the strong taste, leaving an irrepressible desire to make something noodly and sweet at the same time. Something like….

Seviyan Kheer with Spaghetti Squash
servings variable

  • Light butter
  • Spaghetti squash, cooked
  • Evaporated milk (or mix 2/3 c. milk powder with enough water to make one cup)
  • Sweetener
  • Ground cardamom
  • Rose water

→Dry the spaghetti squash strands. If you have a dehydrator, now would be a great time to use it. Otherwise, lay the strands on a paper towel and microwave until dry (but be careful not to burn them).

Melt a bit of light butter in a medium saucepan. Add the spaghetti squash and “fry” it in the butter over medium-high heat.

Add the milk and turn the heat down to low. I always seem to have issues with curdling, so I like to keep the heat really low. Let it cook for a few minutes and taste a spoon. The spaghetti squash will most likely release some of its sweetness into the milk. Add sweetener to taste.

Once the kheer (pudding) is the consistency you like, remove it from the heat and add the cardamom and rose water. Stir well.

Serve with some crushed pistachios.


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