Kesar-Elaichi Shrikhand (Flavoured Hung Yogurt)

Shrikhand is a….well, we’ll get to that later. First, let me begin by saying how good it feels to be back; not that I was gone, gone, but being horribly sick these past weeks has taken its toll. Most of all, on my cooking/blogging, because well, when you’re alternating between throwing up and wanting to die, the only thought in your mind, believe it or not, is that you’d rather sooner die. Ugh! Anyhoo, I survived (now now, let’s not get dramatic, it wasn’t that bad 😉 ) and am back, albeit on a slower foot than before.

And to celebrate this glorious return… *cue enamoured clapping* … why not put up something sweet on offer? After all, it’s Holi soon, and also my birthday on Friday… 😀 yes, I’m very modest about that 😛

Kesar Shrikhand 1

So what is Shrikhand? To put it simply, it’s just strained hung yogurt, that’s flavoured with saffron or cardamom, or sometimes with dry fruits, nuts, or seasonal fruits. It’s mildly sweet with a tangy after-taste, and is a staple in the western states of India, mostly Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Shrikhand is also best enjoyed with Poori (deep-fried flatbread), and can also be had by itself; it often forms part of a ‘Thali’, which is an India platter of several dishes. Each dish is served in small bowls/silverware, starting with an appetizer, mains, sides and ending with desserts. And Shrikhand is an integral part of a Maharashtrian or Gujarati thali 🙂

Kesar Shrikhand 2

It is also said that Shrikhand was a favourite of Lord Krishna, who was a fan of dairy products; milk, butter, yogurt. So you’ll find Shrikhand being made largely around Janmasthami or Krishna Jayanti. It is also a popular dessert during Holi, the festival of colours. And since it’s so simple to make on a short-notice, it’s the perfect sweet treat to serve guests, friends and family during festivities.

Kesar Shrikhand 3

I have loved Shrikhand since I was a child and have eaten it countless times. It’s also a family favourite, and even my Dida and Dadu (maternal grandparents) would love to indulge in some when they’d visit us. There is this one dairy company in Maharashtra called Warana that was our staple when it came to Shrikhand. I can’t say I’ve had better Shrikhand elsewhere in all my 30 years! So much so that I bought two dozen Shrikhand and Amrakhand (mango Shrikhand) packs during my last Mumbai trip 😛

As you see in the pics below, the small plastic Shrikhand box from 1998 still lives in my house 😛 now used to store cardamom powder, heh.

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The process of making Shrikhand is simple, and you can save a lot of time if you hang up your yogurt/curd at night; tie it securely in a muslin cloth and suspend it over a strainer in a large bowl./jug. The whey will slowly drip out and the bowl will collect it, leaving behind a thick and creamy end-product, pretty much like Greek yogurt.

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See how all the whey has dripped out, leaving behind very thick hung curd?

I made Kesar-Elaichi Shrikhand, but you can change flavours as per your preference. Badam-Pista is my personal favourite. And don’t forget to try some Amrakhand, or mango shrikhand in summer!

Kesar-Elaichi Shrikhand – 

Ingredients:

  • Chakka/Hung Curd – 500 gms (made from full-fat milk) OR Greek Yogurt – 500 gms (if you have access to Greek yogurt, use it
  • Powdered sugar – 4 tbsp (adjust as per your preference)
  • Condensed milk – 3 tbsp (optional, I just like my shrikhand sweeeeeet)
  • Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • Saffron – about 12 to 15 strands, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot milk
  • Almonds – for garnish

Method:

  1. Strain the curd to make the chakka first (You can use homemade or store-bought curd for this, just ensure it is NOT SOUR.)
  2. Tie the fresh curd in a muslin or cheese cloth and secure the ends well.
  3. Now, place a bowl underneath to catch the whey, and hang the curd-filled muslin cloth above (you can tie the ends to a shelf or a handle inside your fridge) and keep it like so for 6 to 8 hours. Overnight is best. (I used a tall jug, passed the ends of the cloth through the loop and let the whey collect underneath)
  4. Next morning, remove hung curd from cloth, and reserve whey for making chapati dough or adding to curries if you wish.
  5. Use a whisk or fork or a large slotted spoon and mash the curd to make it smooth.
  6. Add the sugar and condensed milk, elaichi/cardamom powder and saffron soaked milk.
  7. Whisk well until it becomes smooth, creamy and lump-free. (You can use an electric beater here, but please don’t over-whisk it or you’ll have butter in your hands.)
  8. Shrikhand is done 🙂
  9. Serve with a smattering of slivered/flaked almonds of crushed pistachios.
  10. This is best had chilled, with some flaky Atta pooris

Kesar Shrikhand 4

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