food, Recipes

Vermicelli Phyllo Basket

Production Leana Schoeman; Photographs Elsa Young

Recipes, food production and styling Mumtaz Dasoo Production Leana Schoeman Photographs Elsa Young


  • 3T ghee (or clarified butter)
  • 1 cup vermicelli
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cardamom pod, seeded ν a few saffron strands dissolved in ½ cup milk
  • ¼ to ½ cup sugar (depending on taste)
  • 3T condensed milk ν 30g pistachio nuts, chopped (reserve some for garnishing)
  • powdered cardamom
  • 3 phyllo pastry sheets, cut into squares
  • butter for brushing
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and pipped
  • fresh coconut shavings, for garnishing

Melt the ghee in a small saucepan and add the vermicelli, cinnamon stick and cardamom seeds. Lightly sauté, coating the vermicelli in the ghee, until light golden brown. Add the saffron-infused milk, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and leave to simmer slowly, until the milk has been absorbed and the vermicelli has softened. Add the sugar and condensed milk and stir through. Add the pistachios and a little powdered cardamom if desired.

To make the phyllo baskets, preheat the oven to 180ºC. Brush butter generously on each pastry square and layer three sheets on top of each other. Press the layered squares into the holes of a cupcake tin and bake until golden brown. Remove and leave to cool.

To make a mango coulis, place the mangoes and two tablespoons of sugar in a blender and liquidise until smooth. Add more sugar if necessary, although the sourness works well with the rest of the dish. For a smoother texture, pass the coulis through a sieve.

Once the baskets are cool, spoon in the vermicelli and top it with more of the cream mixture. Garnish with shavings of fresh coconut and more pistachios, plus saffron if desired. Decorate each plate with mango coulis. Serves 4–6 starter portions

This recipe originally featured in the September 2013 issue of HL.