Srikhand | An Indian Treasure! Saffron & Cardamom infused Yogurt, Pistachios & Almonds
Today is cleaning day and that means I am elbow deep in chemicals that are doing God knows what to my insides. So as I was busy wiping down the countertops, I look down and sniff only to realize that the kitchen paper towel I was using for cleaning was the same I had used to soak up the bacon grease from breakfast....UGH!
How do these things happen to me?
Now left with the task of scrubbing the countertops yet again, my mind drifts to a humongous bowl of yogurt that has been sitting in the refrigerator since the day before and I know that no matter how I am feeling at this moment, it is impossible to not feel instantly elevated when I am just a few steps away from my favorite dessert.
Srikhand is one of the main desserts in the Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra and since I have Gujarati blood flowing through my veins and Maharashtrian by geography, can there be any doubt, that I imbibed the love for Srikhand before I took my first steps?
Another reason for my addiction - my Mum! While many buy this dessert ready-made or at restaurants (phooey to that) are used to thick, cornflour hardened, somewhat sour tasting Srikhand, I grew up on my Mum's which is as sweet and smooth as silk.
Thick sweetened yogurt, infused with the scent & flavor of saffron and lavishly bestowed with nuts, can you think of anything more refreshing on a hot day?
And like any true love, this one has had me in its clutches from the cradle and probably to the grave which for a change is a good thing. One bite of this devilishly simple dessert and you may be joining in the chorus line singing its praises as well!
Srikhand | Indian Dessert with Saffron & Cardamom infused Yogurt, Pistachios & Almonds
approx 3 cups white sugar (for every 1 cup yogurt = 1/2 cup sugar)
1 tsp saffron strands
2 tbs milk
1-1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sliced or chopped pistachios
powdered sugar if needed
large bowl under the sieve
4-5 layers cheesecloth or large cotton kitchen towel
To get started, gather a large 5 lb tub or 2# 2lb tubs of plain, whole fat yogurt, sugar, saffron strands, ground cardamom, sliced almonds and sliced or chopped pistachios
Cook's tip - It is best to buy the yogurt at an Indian or Pakistani grocery store. I fin the yogurt here less slimy than those available at a regular grocery store here in the US.
Use a large sieve and place a large bowl under it.
Line the sieve with a cotton kitchen towel large enough to drape over the sieve or 4-5 layers of cheesecloth. I am using a clean old cotton sarong that is in tatters (lol).
Measure the yogurt in cups and for every cup of yogurt, use 1/2 cup of sugar. I had a total of 6 cups of yogurt, so I used 3 cups of sugar. 1 cup yogurt = 1/2 cup sugar
Empty all the yogurt into the cloth-lined sieve. Add the sugar and stir. Place the sieve with the large bowl underneath in the refrigerator for at least 24-48 hours.
The bowl at the bottom of the sieve is meant to trap excess liquid that the yogurt will release.
This is the liquid that gathers in the bowl at the bottom of the sieve. Discard the water in the bowl.
Remove the sieved, thick yogurt with the sugar to a large, clean mixing bowl. Don't worry about the sugar crystals - they will blend right in.
Prepare the saffron - In a mortar or bowl, place the saffron strands and crush with a pestle.
Once the strands have somewhat disintegrated, add 1 tbs milk and continue to crush and mix the saffron till a rich color has infused the milk.
Add the saffron to the yogurt and add another tbs of milk into the mortar to wash out all of the saffron into the yogurt bowl - It is, after all, the most expensive spice in the world, so waste none of it!
Add the remaining garnishes and condiments to the yogurt - sliced almonds, chopped or sliced pistachios and cardamom powder.
With a whisk keep beating for a few minutes until the mixture is completely smooth (except for the garnished of course) and the sugar has blended in.
Taste and adjust the seasonings - especially for sweetness and the cardamom powder.
The sweetness will reduce as we chill the dessert so it must be sweet but not overly so.
Chill for at least 4-6 hours before serving so all the flavors mature and season.
Remove to individual serving bowls and serve chilled.
Make-Ahead Tips: Will keep in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Never keep at room temperature. Also if it is too thick to your liking thin with 1 tsp milk at a time just before serving.
If you need more sugar, use only powdered sugar now. I added 1/3 cup powdered sugar after tasting.