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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fruity Nutty Shrikhand






























My mom and her mom and her mom had been making this yogurt recipe long before the fruit yogurt was commercialized in western culture and now in Indian market and local grocery stores.

Difference is that, this recipe is very rich especially in India, where they make the plain yogurt from whole milk which has about 8% fat. Here I make it out of 2% milk but I do add sour cream to give the thick texture. (of course I have to use the fat free kind)

Shrikhand is an Indian sweet dish made of strained yogurt. It is one of the main desserts in Gujarati cuisine and Maharashtrian cuisine. It is also served with Gujarati thali sometimes as a sweet dish. Preparation of this dish is very simple but it takes some time to process yogurt properly.

The possible etymology of the word Shrikhand suggests that it may have come from Ksheer (Milk in Sanskrit) and Qand (Sweet in Persian).

The yogurt is tied in a cotton/muslin cloth and left under pressure to drain off most of the water. In the past, it used to be hung from a wall to achieve the desired thick and creamy product. The strained yogurt and sugar are mixed thoroughly in a deep bowl. The cardamom, nuts and saffron are then added and mixed. It is then left in the refrigerator for the sugar to dissolve. The dish is then served chilled.

A popular variation of Shrikhand in Maharastra is Amrakhand, which is shrikhand mixed with mango pulp and made homogeneous with a blender. In a few parts of Gujarat, another variant of fruit shrikhand is also very popular and served as a sweet dish or dessert. The preparation method is almost the same, but the seasonal fresh fruits are always added.

The recipe for shrikhand is so versatile that it can practically take any taste that an imaginative person can create.

In Gujarati cuisine, shrikhand is eaten as either a side-dish with breads such as poori (usually "khaaja poori", which is a savory fried flaky bread) or as a dessert. It is commonly served as part of a vegetarian thali in Gujarati restaurants and it is very popular as part of wedding feasts. It is often served chilled and provides a refreshing counterpoint to hot and spicy curries. Dried and fresh fruit such as mango are also added.


Here is how I make it here in US:


Ingredients:


* 6 cups plain yogurt or yogurt 2% or whole milk

* 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

* 3/4 cup sugar

* 3/4 cup coarsely or sliced almonds and pistachios (roasted unsalted)

* 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

* 10 strands of saffron soaked in about 1 tbl spn warm milk

* 1 apple

* 1 piece of any seasonal fresh fruit (mango, pomegranate, or chikoo, I used white peach)

* 1 can of mix fruit cocktail with pineapple but without bananas (drained)

* 10 strawberries

* 1 small can of mandarin oranges drained

* 6-7 lychees drained and chopped from can (optional)




Method:



* Take a clean muslin cloth and pour the yogurt and sour cream in it.

* Tie a knot and hang it (I hang it in the sink on the faucet) so that all the water falls away from the yogurt.

* Leave it like this overnight or for 6-8 hrs.

* When ready to prepare Shrikhand, drain all the canned fruit and chop them in small pieces, also chop all the fresh fruits into small pieces as well.

* Drain liquid from all the fruits byt leaving them in a stainer for 30 -60 min.

* Roast the nuts on the griddle and when cool, chop them in food processor or slice them with knife (if you have that much time and patience.

* Save some fruits and nuts for garnish.

* Soften the saffron strands in warm milk and set aside.

* Transfer the hung yogurt in a deep bowl, mix sugar, using hand blender mix until smooth.

* Add nuts in this mix.

* Fold in drained fruits in the yogurt.

* Add the saffron, and cardamom, fold until everything is well incorporated.

* Garnish with remaining nuts and remaining desired fruits.

* You could separate the Shrikhand in small serving containers and garnish them individually and chill them separately.

* Chill for 6 hours and serve chilled.


Hint:

You can omit the nuts and cardamom and just make the Shrikhand with fruits or vice-versa if preferred. My kids don't care for cardamom and saffron flavors, so I usually make just the fruit Shrikhand, but this time I wanted to make it more traditional for my husband's birthday.

Be sure to drain the fruits thoroughly before adding to the yogurt, the key Shrikhand is the thickness and creamy texture, you don't want it to be watery and thin like the yogurt sold in stores.



Shrikhand info source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrikhand
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License


Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.

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