The 11-odd pounds of peaches we picked the other day actually decided to ripen at once, that too on day 3. There were only so many ripe peaches and glasses of peach milkshakes a family of three could possibly devour. Initially I thought of jam. But that was too predictable. And we don’t consume a lot of jam anyways. I didn’t want a cake or cobbler too. Been there, done that.
It was time to be innovative. Maybe it was the color or the texture of ripe peach flesh, but I was reminded of mangoes. And wherever ripe mangoes can be used, I decided peaches can be too. That brings me to today’s blog post – shrikhand. Let’s forget the peaches for a while and talk about this creamy Indian dessert.
Shrikhand is simply sweetened hung yogurt (or curd, as we normally call it in India). It is usually flavored with saffron, rose-water or cardamom powder. Or you can go bold with pureed fruit (usually mangoes). Shrikhand is to Indians what flavored yogurt is to the West. It is traditionally popular in our Western states, but I am sure everyone in India has had shrikhand one time or the other.
A cheat’s way of making shrikhand would be to use Greek yogurt from the store – just add sugar, flavorings and fruit, whisk well and call it done. But I wanted to try making hung curd the traditional way. All it takes is a clean muslin cloth or cotton kitchen towel, yogurt, a strainer and time. The yogurt is bundled up in the cloth, hung up to strain the whey and kept undisturbed for 5-6 hours (or overnight) to end up with a creamy and thick product. It is hung in a cool part of the kitchen to prevent it from getting sour. If you are short on space or if you are in the middle of summer like us, use a contraption as shown below and shove it in the refrigerator.
After 6 hours, you will end up with this.
The end product is so beautiful. Whisk in powdered sugar, a little cardamom powder or saffron infused milk and you get shrikhand. Chill it well and serve after dinner; it doesn’t get better than that.
Now that we have the basics down, it’s time to make it your own. Drizzle some honey on your shrikhand, top with chopped nuts and/or fruits or fold in some fruit puree. And yes, I used peaches! But just a little amount. The star is the sweetened yogurt, the peaches are there to just add a hint of flavor. Hence the very pale color. You can add more if you want.
Shrikhand is very easy to make as the actual hands-on time and effort needed is minimal.
SHRIKHAND (CARDAMOM & PEACH FLAVORED)
You will need:
- Yogurt – 3 cups (this will yield around 2 cups of hung yogurt)
- Powdered sugar – 1/2 – 3/4 cup (as per taste)
- Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
- Honey or chopped nuts – for topping, optional
- Ripe peach puree – 1/4 cup per cup of hung yogurt
- Tie the yogurt in a clean muslin, cheesecloth or cotton kitchen towel. Hang it up over the sink or place it on a strainer and allow whey to drain into a bowl below.
- After 6 hours (or overnight), take the hung yogurt in a bowl. Whisk in the powdered sugar and cardamom powder. Start with 1/2 cup sugar, taste and add as much sugar as needed.
- To make fruit shrikhand, fold in the fruit puree at the end. Add more sugar if the fruit is slightly tart. (Add more puree for deeper color and flavor.)
- Spoon into serving bowls or glasses. Top with a drizzle of honey, chopped nuts or fruits. Serve chilled.
- Use plain Greek yogurt instead of making hung yogurt.
Creamy and thick shrikhand is just what you need for a delicious summer dessert.
Have you made hung yogurt? Do you like yogurt based desserts? Do share.
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
- A Blossoming Life
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- By Stephanie Lynn