Allow me to call it a beauty.I dont mean fancy or flashy.NeitherÂ I want to hint that I toiled over this dessert for hours. It is something hopelessly easy to make, yet succeeds in achieving the delight a dessert is supposed to bring. Softly tart yogurt flavored with freshly ground elaichi (cardamom),topped with a luscious mango saffron compote – as simple as it can get but like a little sunshine on the spoon.
It is hard to believe that something so unfancy & minimal as yogurt & sugar can turn into a creation which appeals to the sweet tooth. I admit that cardamom & cream add more body to the dessert – making it a little more wonderful.Cream is traditionally not used – I like it for the added richness that it lends here. Trust me, never a easy dessert would taste so very spectacular.
ShrikhandÂ is a yogurt based sweet dish originally from western parts of India. But now, it is popular all over the subcontinent. BasicÂ shrikhand recipe is like a blank canvas – some like to add nuts, some combine chopped or pureed fruits with it and some let the melt in the mouth consistency remain unadulterated. Experiment as it pleases you.
I ateÂ shrikhandÂ for the first time prepared by one of my friend’s mom in Pune. She served it along sideÂ poorisÂ (deep-friedÂ flatbread) & a spicy bean sprouts curry. The combo was tad odd for me. Supposedly the yogurt is supposed to calm down the spices of the meal as you eat.I m not exactly sure how few bits of that first not-so- appreciable taste testing stuck with me.Eight years down the line & now I immensely enjoy shrikhand withÂ pooris. Just like any comfort food, the sugar & oil overload is quite addictive.
Usually, pureed mango is mixed with hung yogurt &Â shrikhandÂ becomesÂ amrakhand. My favorite summer fruit is here. I bought season’s first batch last week & they seemed perfect to add a texture to the dessert.The mangoes were ripe & sweet – a compote was definitely on my mind. Addition of saffron to it seemed an obvious decision to accentuate the exotic flavors. The fact that I prepared the dessert with homemadeÂ dahiÂ (indian style yogurt) made me a little happy than usual.
Preparation Time :- About 8 hours (includes draining in the refrigerator)Â
Cooking Time :- 10 minutes (for bothÂ shrikhandÂ & mango compote)
Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)
For theÂ Shrikhand
For the Mango Compote
Needed:-Â Colander, Muslin/CheeseCloth,Bowls
Line a colander with muslin/cheese cloth large enough that you can tie up its ends. Place the colander over a large bowl. Ensure that there is gap between the colander bottom & the bowl bottom to collect the draining liquid. Pour theÂ dahiÂ into the colander,wrap up and tie up all the ends of the muslin/cheesecloth. Let theÂ dahiÂ drain for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight inside the refrigerator.
Note :-Dont leaveÂ dahiÂ while it drains outside, else it will turn sour.Discard the whey once drained. Reserve the muslin/cheesecloth.(If in hurry, you can use Greek yogurt to make shrikhand too. Skip this step if doing so)
Transfer the strained, thick, coldÂ dahiÂ into a bowl. Add cream to it and start whisking using a hand beater. Slowly add the sugar and beat until you get slightly stiff peaks.
Again tie theÂ dahiÂ – cream mix in the muslin/cheesecloth & let drain in the colander arrangement (as explained above) for another 2 hours inside the refrigerator.
Break open the cardamom pods & grind the seeds using a mortar & pestle.Tip – Always buy whole cardamom pods.This way of making your own powder saves a lot of money.
After 2 hours, transfer the drainedÂ dahiÂ mix to a bowl. Add cardamom & nutmeg powder and stir gently with a wooden spoon. Let chill for at least 3-4 hours or till ready to serve.
Scoop the chilledÂ shrikhandÂ into serving bowls & top with mango compote (recipe below). Keeps well in fridge for 2-3 days.
Making Mango CompoteÂ Â
In a medium bowl, dissolve the saffron in lukewarm water till it dissolves. About a minute or so. Stir in the lime juice, sugar and mix till sugar dissolves. Add in diced mangoes. Cover and chill upto 1 day.