Sheermal Delights: A Sweet and Saffrony Treat

Sheermal or Shirmal, is a traditional saffron-flavored flatbread from Greater Iran. The word Sheermal is derived from the Persian words meaning milk and meaning to rub. Translated, Sheermal means churned milk. After being introduced to northern India by the Mughal emperors. It became a delicacy in Lucknow, Hyderabad, and Aurangabad. It is enjoyed in Old Bhopal and Pakistan.

Shirmal is a mildly sweet naan made from Maida, leavened with yeast, and baked in a tandoor or oven. It was traditionally made as roti. Today it is prepared like naan. The warm water in the naan roti recipe has been replaced with warm milk sweetened with sugar and flavored with saffron and cardamom.

Shirmal is sometimes served with kababs or alongside nihari.


  • Flour 2 ½ cups
  • Salt ¾ tsp
  • Powdered sugar 1 tablespoon heaped
  • Solid milk ½ cup
  • Instant yeast 2 ½ tsp
  • Kewra water 1 tsp
  • Clarified butter 3 heaping spoons
  • Cream 3 spoons
  • Eggs 1
  • Milk powder 4 heaping spoons (full cream)
  • Lumpy water for the dough
  • Brush milk
  • Sesame seeds for sprinkling

How to make a Sheermal

  1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl: flour, salt, powdered sugar, milk solids, instant yeast, kewra water, clarified butter, cream, eggs, and milk powder.
  2. Mix well and knead into a pliable dough with lukewarm water.
  3. Beat the dough well, knead the dough well, and let it rise until doubled in oil in a bowl.
  4. Cover, and press 3 or 4 balls out of the dough.
  5. Spread with your hands to a quarter of the size of the plate, place on the foil.
  6. Pierce the center with a fork, do not pierce the sides.
  7. Leave covered for 45 minutes.
  8. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 12 to 15 minutes.
  10. Remove immediately and brush with milk.
  11. Immediately cover with foil until needed.
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