“SRIKHAND” – PERFECT ‘NO COOK’ FESTIVE DESSERT!
Srikhand is a creamy, flavourful and nutty dessert that is very typical of Gujarati & Marathi cuisine and traditionally enjoyed during festivals and weddings. I have been wanting to make it for some time now and recently made a big batch to serve at a dinner party. It was a real crowd pleaser, and everyone loved the distinct flavours of saffron and cardamom along with delicious nuts (add as much or as little as you like).
The only labour of love in making the best Srikhand is hanging the yogurt in a muslin cloth over a kitchen tap to drain any excess water. Don’t hurry up the process of removing the liquid from the yogurt. A good Srikhand is thick and creamy and not watery.
It is also important not make it too sweet as it can overpower the rest of the simple flavours. The other great thing about this dessert is that you can prepare it in advance as it stores very well in the fridge in terms of its texture and flavour.
One of the legends around the origins of the dish is that the travelling herdsmen hung yogurt overnight to make it easier to carry while travelling. The thick fermented yogurt collected the next day was then mixed with sugar and nuts to consume during the long journey. There are other legends of the dish having travelled to India with the Persians.
The purists will only flavour the yogurt with cardamom powder, sugar and saffron. However, you can also add seasonal fruits like mango, pomegranate, strawberries or pineapple to give this a bit of a twist. I am sharing a simple recipe below with some tips to achieve the rich creamy texture of the yogurt that is essential to making a finger licking Srikhand!
- Use a good quality organic greek yogurt for a smooth creamy texture. I used Rachael’s organic Greek yogurt and it was just perfect! http://www.rachelsorganic.co.uk/range/
- Avoid using low fat yogurts as they are more processed
- You can buy green cardamom powder from any Asian grocery store or alternatively you can grind some pods in a pestle & mortar.
- Soak saffron in 1tbsp warm milk for 3-4 hours
Greek yogurt – 1kg
Saffron – 15 strands/threads
Almonds (finely slivered) – 15
Unsalted Pistachios (finely slivered) – 20gms
Green Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
Sugar (fine granulated or icing sugar) – 100gms
Line a sieve with a wet muslin cloth and add all the yogurt here.
Hang the muslin cloth as shown in the picture over a kitchen tap to drain as much water as possible from the yogurt. Allow the yogurt to hang for at least 30mins and typically in cold weather it can even stay out for 3-4 hours. But if you are concerned about the yogurt going rancid then place the sieve on top of a deep bowl to collect the draining water and place it back in the fridge.
Before you start mixing the ingredients it’s a good idea to open the muslin cloth and lay it flat on a newspaper or a kitchen towel as it absorbs more water.
Lastly using a fine strainer mix the yogurt and the sugar using your hands and allow to pass through the strainer. This helps mix the sugar very well and also gives the yogurt a very creamy mousse like texture.
Now start adding cardamom powder, saffron and half of the nuts (almonds & pistachios) reserving the rest to garnish. Mix really well and lastly garnish with the reserved nuts. You can add more or less depending on preference.
Chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving.