Eid 2022: Meet the traditional sevaiyyan-makers of Lucknow

As the world celebrates Eid, an old establishment in Lucknow makes mountains of sevaiyyan that will be carted off to kitchens where it will be the hero of meethi Eid.

Abhishek VermaAbhishek Verma   2 May 2022 9:36 AM GMT

Eid 2022: Meet the traditional sevaiyyan-makers of Lucknow

All photos by: Abhishek Verma

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Aminabad in Lucknow is as always bustling with activity. But, it is the smell of roasting sevaiyyan that leads one to Atisham's home and workplace, where there is nonstop activity as mounds of sevaiyyan are being readied for Eid.

Atisham is a the third of fourth generation person in his family who makes sevaiyyan, the hero of Eid feasts across the world. His family is well known as one of the oldest in the area making sevaiyyan.

Curtains of sevaiyyan hang like diaphanous creamy dupattas on the terrace of their home, and an elder of the family carefully inspects it.

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"Nothing much has changed in the way we make the sevaiyyan. It is still made only with flour and water, nothing else," Atisham told Gaon Connection.

How sevaiyyan are made traditionally

Buckets of wheat are taken out of huge drums and added with water to a dough maker where with the right amount of water, a dough is made. A sieve with miniscule perforations, made in it manually, is placed underneath and the kneaded dough passes through the sieve and emerges as the finest sevaiyyan.

"There is no way modern technology can make the thin zero number sevaiyyan like we make here. Maybe it can make thicker ones, but not such slender ones," Atisham reiterated.

The light-as-air sevaiyyan are carefully draped over steel rods that in turn are placed on stands on the terrace of Atisham's home to dry. The sevaiyyan will be roasted once they are dry, bundled up and sold.

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"We make more during Eid, but even otherwise we make it for other occasions such as Raksha Bandhan as well. Many things can be made with the sevaiyyan, both sweet and savoury. We have sevayyians of different thickness depending on what is to be made out of it," Atisham explained.

Roasted in a woodfired oven, the sevaiyyan in shades of golden brown are broken off and either fashioned into spirals or hanks and kept ready to be carted away to kitchens where they will be roasted in ghee, smothered in dry fruits and cooked in milk and sugar, before being lovingly served to family and friends. A dish fit for kings, and indeed, there are stories of how it was a favourite on the tables of the royal Mughals.

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