Sheermal: Saffron flat bread with touch of cardamom

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Sheermal/shirmal is the common delicacy of Awadhi cuisine which was influenced by Mughlai kitchens. It has similarities towards Persian saffron bread. It is mildly sweet flat bread common in Lucknow and Hyderabad cities and Kashmir state in India and in other countries like Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh. One morning I saw picture in Facebook about the sheermal bread, and got hooked enough to search for the recipe. Finally I made sheermal this weekend, and yes it is really yummy. Traditionally it goes well with spicy mutton soup called Nihari, but since I don’t cook mutton, I served it with spicy pickle.
In Kashmir, they make both sweet and salt version of sheermal bread. The sweet version of Sheermal is served with ‘kehwa’, a spicy traditional green tea made without milk, mixed with saffron. The salty Sheermal, on the other hand, is taken with noon -chai or sheer chain (Pink tea) read from here. Sheermal is an old recipe of over one hundred and fifty years. Earlier version is made thin and flat like roti/chapthi with flour and milk and sugar, however the modern day sheermal includes ghee, eggs, spices and sugar baked in tandoor (clay oven ) or oven. I searched a few recipes from internet as well as YouTube. Some recipes use butter and heavy cream as fat. I decide to use ghee as it is more authentic when comes to Indian cooking. Nowadays it is available as important street food; I have seen pictures of freshly baked sheermal by a street vendor; he makes it early in the day to attract his customers and here is a YouTube video,  showing finished product and and also making sheermal here

My recipe is adapted from here and here. I used instant yeast along with all-purpose flour, saffron infused milk both for dough and final brushing and one egg with 1/4cup of ghee and little cardamom. This is delicious aromatic flatbread I have ever tried. Yes you will fall in love with them with the first bite. Saffron and cardamom gives a royal touch. If you go to any Indian store you will get sheermal in frozen section. I bet you if you want authentic traditional taste, don’t get fooled by that one, make one on your own. Fresh out of oven is really great; your house had an aromatic bread smell which was really enthralling.
It takes only 1 and 1/2 hours to make it. You can have them with your favorite curry or soup. We can’t roam around the streets and taste these delicious treat so make it in your kitchen.

Sheermal: Saffron flat bread with touch of cardamom


Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 4

Delicious aromatic saffron infused flat bread with touch of cardamom
  • 2½ cups/312.5g all purpose flour/Maida
  • ½ teaspoon /3g Salt
  • 1 large egg/ 30g
  • 1 tablespoon/ 15g sugar
  • 1 packet/ 7g/ 2 ¼ teaspoon Instant yeast
  • ½ cup + 3 tbsp (176g) milk
  • ¼cup/49g gheeHomemade ghee
  • 8-10 strands saffron
  • 4 cardamoms powdered
  • 2 teaspoon melted butter for final brushing of the bread
  1. In a bowl, dissolve saffron into of warm milk.
  2. In a kitchen aid bowl add all purpose flour, salt, sugar, instant yeast, ghee, cardamom and mix everything.
  3. To this add ½ cup of warm saffron milk and egg.
  4. Knead well to form a soft dough transfer to a well greased pan and set aside for 1 hour for first rise.
  5. Preheat oven to 400F/ 200°C. Line the baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper. Punch down and divide the dough (581g) into 4 equal sized portions of (145.25g).
  6. Roll out each portion into a circle of about ½ inch thickness and about 6 inch diameter.
  7. Prick the rolled dough with fork so that it won’t puff up in the oven.
  8. When you are ready to bake brush them with saffron milk.
  9. And bake at 400F/ 200°C for 12-15 minutes or until it become golden yellow color.
  10. Once the bread is baked and out oven and still warm brush with melted butter.
  11. Serve with any soup or spicy curry or simple pickle.
Copyright ©2014 Zesty South Indian Kitchen by Swathi(Ambujom Saraswathy) All Rights Reserved.

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