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.