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Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand - Yogurt dessert with distinctive spices like cardamom and saffron




Shrikhand is a delicious and simple dessert recipe made from thick yogurt with sugar, saffron and cardamom. Whether you use homemade aged yogurt or take a shortcut by using store-bought Greek yogurt, this simple dessert is the perfect after-dinner sweet.


Shrikhand is an Indian dessert that is common in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. This sweet dish is also popular in Karnataka, but goes by the name Shikarni or Shikharini.


This no-cook no-fail, creamy, thick and silky dessert tastes like a tart cheesecake filling, creamy mousse or a thick pudding.


If sweetened yogurt doesn't sound like a dessert to you, let me point out that Shrikhand is best enjoyed with hot puffed Pooris in summer and is a must at thali meals and weddings in Maharashtra and Gujarat. This humble dessert is also served at Indian festivals like Gudi Padwa and Ganesh Chaturthi.


Homemade Shrikhand is prepared with just 6 ingredients and is ready to eat in less than 15 minutes. It is also free from any additives and artificial colors unlike the store bought one.


All you need to do to prepare a delicious Shrikhand at home is to thicken the plain yogurt.


Yogurt is hung in a cloth so that all the extra liquid in it drips off and you get a thick creamy yogurt, also called Chakkaor hanging curd.


Traditionally, a device called Puran Yantra (similar to a food mill) was used to make chakka, but you can use a muslin cloth or cheesecloth to make it.


Chakka forms the base of the Shrikhand, which can then be flavored with flavors of your choice, the most common being sugar and ground cardamom.


To save time, you can use Greek yogurt instead of plain yogurt. Greek yogurt is already pretty thick and doesn't need to be strained.


I also love that I don't have to feel guilty about eating this traditional sweet. One serving of my Shrikhand recipe with hung yogurt contains 20% of the daily recommended protein and over 30% of the calcium needed in a day. "Good for you dessert" is no longer a contradiction 😉.


Ingredients for Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand

Yogurt - Use natural yogurt made from whole milk to prepare creamy shrikhand.

To speed up the process, you can use Greek yogurt. It's already pretty thick, so it doesn't need to be chopped off.


If you use homemade yogurt, make sure it hasn't gone sour.


Sugar - Don't use store bought powdered sugar to sweeten the shrikhand. Cornstarch is added which can affect the overall taste.Pulverize regular sugar at home in a grinder or mortar and then use it. Depending on how sweet you like it, add more or less sugar.


If you're looking for a healthy substitute, use coconut blossom sugar, pureed dates, palm jaggery, or artificial sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit.


Flavoring - While this Kesar Elaichi-flavored (literally "saffron cardamom") Shrikhand is popular among Indians, the flavor combinations are endless.


FAQs

Can I make vegan Shrikhand?

Yes. You can use plain yogurt, coconut, or any other non-dairy yogurt instead of plain yogurt to make it vegan


How do you make Shrikhand with Greek yogurt?

To make it with Greek yogurt, simply substitute thickened yogurt for Greek yogurt. You don't have to strain the whey from the Greek yogurt because it's already dense and thick.


What can you do with the leftover whey?

Don't throw away the whey you get after you strain the yogurt. The strained water is quite nutritious and can be used in sauces, rice and lentil dishes, for example, or to prepare the dough for roti/paratha.


It adds a nice tangy flavor to recipes. It's also great for your houseplants. Sprinkle it over the plants for their healthy growth.


Is this Shrikhand recipe scalable?

You can easily double or triple this recipe depending on how many people you want to make it for. It's a simple and easy dessert for large gatherings that is ready very quickly and can be prepared ahead of time.


Variations

Although traditional Shrikhand tastes best flavored with cardamom and saffron, you can try some variations.


Listed below are some of my favorite flavors:

  • Fruity - Use seasonal fruits like mango, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, persimmon etc to flavor the Shrikhand. You can either puree or finely chop the fruits. Mango Shrikhand also known as Amrakhand is my favorite fruity variety.

  • Rose - Add rose syrup to make a rose flavored version.

  • Tiramisu - For all you fragrant lovers, this one is truly unique. Add some coffee liqueur along with instant coffee powder to Chakka and you have Tiramisu Shrikhand ready.

  • Dates - Soak seedless dates in some water in the microwave until they are soft. Now puree them smooth and add the date puree to the chakka. And you've prepared sugar-free, naturally sweetened Shrikhand.

  • Chocolate - Melted chocolate, mixed with chopped curd, makes a nice chocolate Shrikhand.

Serving Suggestions

Prepare your Shrikhand a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.


Shrikhand Poori is a classic and popular combination, but you can also serve it alone as a dessert.


Since it is a light dessert, we also like to enjoy it after our daily meals.


Storage suggestions

It's really great to prepare Shrikhand in advance and store it in the refrigerator to make it a little firmer. It tastes great when served chilled. It will keep for about a week in a clean and dry airtight container.


Use a clean and dry spoon each time to take out Shrikhand


It's also freezer friendly! You can freeze it in a freezer-safe, airtight container for about a month or two. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and enjoy. It may change texture a bit as it thaws, so stir it well before eating.


Ingredients

  • 15-20 saffron threads (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons warm milk (needed only if saffron is used)

  • 500 g natural yogurt

  • 60 g sugar (do not use store-bought powdered sugar. Grind regular sugar in a spice or a coffee mill to make powdered sugar).

  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

  • 2 tbsp almond and pistachio slivers (for garnish)

Instructions

Prepare thickened yogurt (chakka)

Hold a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and line it with muslin cloth, paper towels, or cheesecloth. There should be a small gap between the bottom of the bowl and the bottom of the strainer to allow the liquid to collect.


Pour the yogurt into the strainer and cover the yogurt with the cloth hanging over the side.

Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 5-6 hours or overnight to drain.


The excess liquid will drip into the bowl and you will have a thick creamy yogurt called Chakka.


If you are using Greek yogurt, you can skip this step.

Prepare Saffron-infused milk.

Soak Saffron in 2 tablespoons of warm milk for 3-4 hours.

Using saffron to flavor the Shrikhand is optional. Skip this step if you are not using it.

Prepare Shrikhand

Put the thickened yogurt in a mixing bowl.Add powdered sugar, ground cardamom and saffron soaked in milk.

Use a whisk to whisk the yogurt mixture until it is fluffy. Chill the Shrikhand for 2-3 hours so that the flavors blend well.

Transfer the chilled Shrikhand into the serving bowls and garnish it with chopped nuts and serve.


Serve Shrikhand with Poori or by itself as a dessert.


Tips

  • Use a silicone spatula to collect and transfer all the Shrikhand from the bowl.

  • To speed up the process, you can use Greek yogurt. It's already pretty thick, so there's no need to take it off. Just mix it with the flavors and your Shrikhand is ready.

  • Add more or less sugar depending on how sweet you like it.

  • You can easily increase or decrease the recipe amount as you like.

  • Use the collected whey in your next Indian meal for making roti, sauces, rice dishes, lentils, etc. It is very rich in nutrients and provides a nice tangy flavor.





I look forward to hearing from you...

...if you like my blog, my recipes inspire you and your curiosity for Indian cuisine has been piqued.


Feel free to give me feedback if you would like to share your cooking accomplishments or have a suggestion for improvement. I appreciate any kind feedback. Whether via the comment function, email, Facebook or Instagram (best tagged with #heutemalindisch and @heutemalindisch, then your cooking success can also inspire others).

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