Recipe – Classic Kesar Shrikhand


 

Shrikhand is a traditional dessert made from full fat hung yogurt known in Maharashtra as Malai Chakka. These days chakka is easily available at halwais and dairies so people don’t spend hours straining the water from the yogurt. In many cities I have seen the use of Greek Yogurt too which is okay in case you’re in a rush or don’t  have access to Chakka. I, on the other hand, prefer to make it the traditional way.

It is one of the sweets offered in Prasadam to the Gods and a must preparation for all auspicious and festive occasions. These days we find a lot of variations to the classic Shrikhand with addition of fruits etc but while I was growing up only Aamrakhand or mango flavored Shrikhand was the other variation. Alphonso mangoes were used to make this flavorful sweet. I like Aamrakhand but I absolutely love the classic Kesar Shrikhand.

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For me Shrikhand brings memories of a lost love, a city that’s become meaningless for me now and yet there is that pull which I can’t let go of. It also reminds me of someone very special I’ve lost. Kalindi maushi did my elder son’s Annaparashan with the delicious Shrikhand she used to make among other things. It was specially made for Adi and the  boy literally put his whole face in the pot after that first lick. He still loves it to the heart. I cherish the time we all spent with her. Sometimes we need to keep both the love and the loss alive for the strength it gives.

I have grown up eating Shrikhand and made it several times. Never liked the store bought ones. They are too sweet for my taste. We don’t get chakka (Hung curd) in Delhi so it is always a labor of love to prepare the sweet. The best full fat yogurt ( usually home cultured), hours of hanging it in a muslin cloth till the last drop of water leaves it or if in a hurry then layers n layers of newspapers topped by layers of muslin cloth (changed in between) with yogurt on top so that all the water gets absorbed quickly. I use this method v rarely though. Don’t like shortcuts. The thick creamy hung curd is rubbed through the sieve ( a puran yantra was used in aaji’s home), whipped and then into the silky smoothness, boora cheeni and saffron (warmed, crushed and diluted in milk) is mixed into it. The sugar is just right so the slight tartness of yogurt remains. That’s essential for a good shrikhand. Usually I don’t prefer to add nuts ( pista, charoli etc) but I indulged today and added some. Had this sinful creamy shrikhand with crisp pooris and dubkiwale aloo. The best way to eat it is by licking it off with a finger. That’s the only way I know and love.  I will post the potato curry recipe soon.

Hot crisp Poori and smooth chilled Shrikhand are a perfect match just like Poori and Aamras. Another of my favorites.

To make the Srikhand you’ll need :

Ingredients : 

Malai Chakka – 1 kg ( homemade hung curd proportion – 1 kg full fat yogurt gives approximately 250 gram hung curd)

Boora cheeni or Powdered Sugar – 700 -750 grams

Salt – 1 pinch

Finely grated Nutneg – 1/4th tsp ( optional as I did’t use it)

Milk – 1/4 cup

Saffron strands ( warmed, bruised and soaked in milk ) – a few ( 8-10)

Pistachio and Charoli ( chironji)  ( soaked and finely chopped) – 1 tsp

Green cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp ( if using nutmeg then avoid this)

Method : 

If using store bought chakka or Greek yogurt just it in a muslin cloth for an hour or so to remove all traces of water.

If making Hung Curd at home then put the curd in a muslin or cheese cloth, gather its edges and tie into a knot. ( I use old cotton dupatta or saree cloth too) Hang from the knot end over a large container so that the water drips into it. Let it remain for at least 6-7 hours. I sometimes put the cloth on a sieve and place the container in fridge overnight so that the curd doesn’t get sour. Another way is to place layers of old newspapers topped with double layered muslin cloth and placing the yogurt on the cloth. In a few hours the newpapers will absorb all the liquid. You may change them ones in between.

Once you have hung curd with zero traces of water take it out in a large bowl and gently fold and stir Boora chini into it along with saffron milk, nutmeg or cardamom powder. Once everything is incorporated well cover and keep it for half an hour. Remember not to whisk or stir it briskly or it will tend to become watery and runny. You need to be patient and kind. The sugar will release some water in this time.

Now gently rub this mixture through the sieve so that all the ingredients mix into a homogenized smooth mixture. Spoon the Shrikhand into a serving bowl and garnish with a little saffron milk and chopped nuts if using.

 

The sign of a good Shrikhand is that it should hold a place on a plate when served and not need a bowl.

You can freeze this Shrikhand in airtight containers for a few days but usually it is licked off sooner that you can imagine.

If you make it from my recipe do tag me and share your experience.

 

 

Life is Short. Eat Dessert First – An Early Thanksgiving Post


I love this quote by Jacques Torres and I love desserts. I find cooking therapeutic. A sublime blissful experience that provides nourishment and satiation not just to the body but also to the mind. A great relaxant and stimulant at the same time. There is something very life affirming about feeding yourself or someone else a good meal and no meal is complete without a dessert. Be it an apple pie or an apple kalakand :D.

I am not a food blogger or a food photographer but I am a lover and cooking is like love-making. No fear, no guilt, no shortcuts. It is about improvisation, exploration, impulsiveness and discovery. When I am in the kitchen I feel like a high priestess doing her rituals or dispensing happiness. Each creation is a love potion. Something that can satiate at many levels. The memory of an amazing meal like an amazing sex stays with you and has you craving for it days after. It makes you forget everything.

Cooking like writing is a stress buster for me. I met a friend one day long time ago and she said,” never be too far away from chocolate if you want to de-stress.” I love dark chocolates and readily incorporated the advice in my life. I also began experimenting with desserts beyond the usual Indian mithais learned and perfected with great attention and care. There were times I would yearn for something  and the growing state of arousal and powerful sense of urgency  would make me rush to the nearest mithai shop.

Sangeeta Khanna is a friend and a top level food Indiblogger based in Delhi. I have yet to see someone so passionate about food, nutrition and healthy living. Her blogs are a feast for eye and mind and her recipes simple, healthy and easy to make. What I love about her writing is the honest down to earth approach and encouragement to use local, indigenous ingredients. Something not everybody does and that too with so much research and knowledge. She is very open to queries and suggestions too. There is something for everyone on her three blogs.

So, one day I was dealing with a lot of emotional and mental stress and sulking and killing time on FB when I across the yumilicious photographs of  Sugar free healthy Apple Kalakand. In an instant I felt the urge to create something as exotic as this came over me and I hopped to Sangeeta’s Blog healthfood desivideshi to learn the recipe. I wasn’t surprised that it was a quick to make guilt free dessert and I could magically create in 20 minutes flat. I went and got the luscious golden apples and made my first batch of Apple Kalakand. The result was unbelievable. I have yet to try the one with fresh figs. Another fruit I love.

Here is the recipe link of her blog and the Photograph of my Apple Kalakand.

Apple Kalakand for Diwali – Sangeeta Khanna 


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I used green cardamom and cinnamon as flavors in the two batches of Apple kalakand I made and both tasted heavenly. As a foodie I can tell you it was one of the best things I have had in recent times and then I got hooked to her blog and found more gems in the treasure box.

I couldn’t wait to try the 3 minute wonder – Red Carrot Halwa. I love gajar ka halwa and make with both with red and black carrots every winter. It is a traditional recipe perfected with time and a true labor of love as it takes a lot of time. I do not use khoya or condensed milk ( no short cuts you see) and make it with full cream milk. It is a slow process in which slowly the milk thickens into khoya like granules. The taste is out of the world of course. Here is my recipe – Traditional Gajar Halwa  . I love these nutritious recipes for Indian desserts. Halwas, pinnies, laddoos ( click for my recipes) which are perfect for winters and make a lot of variations of these. They can be made and stored in fridge or in airtight boxes  but what happens when you have a craving suddenly? You rush to Sangeeta’s blog and voilà! you find a  fat free, sugar free healthy version of your favorite gajar halwa and that too ready to eat in 3 minutes flat. Life of a food lover is all about such blessings. Although she says the halwa tastes exactly like the traditional one I was skeptical and wanted to judge for myself.

I just finished the bowl full of it and trust me sometimes we are in mood for long love-making  but other times we are all about quickies. This was one hell of a orgasmic experience that gave me a deliriously heady effect. All those weight watchers, diabetics, health freaks go for this right away. Indulge like never before. Leave out sugar if you are not supposed to eat it , leave out ghee if you are conscious eater but I can afford both so like Sangeeta I added a heaped teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon of ghee to it. 😀

Here is the recipe link and the photograph of my creation.

One carrot – One bowl – Three minutes – by Sangeeta Khanna 

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You can make this halwa in 3 minutes or so with Sweet potato, bottle gourd , pumpkin, carrots, beetroot or anything exotic you want to experiment with. Add dates instead of sugar, add nuts, add anything that goes well and suits your mood , don’t forget to add a little love  and gratitude for those are the secret ingredient in all these recipes.

Here are the links to all the three blogs she manages

Healthfood desivideshi ( healthy, nutritious recipes, personalized diet plans, nutrition tips and much more)

 Banaras Ka Khana ( for those who love the old world charm and the good old recipes handed down from generations to generations)

Ayurveda on my plate  (trust her for some tried and tested remedies)

Do join her FB Blog pages to stay updated.

I had wanted to feature her on my blog since long time to show my gratitude and love for the work she is doing in this field and for who she is, a loving, generous, compassionate friend.

Please leave a link on her blog if you try any of her or mine recipes and give her a feedback.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Eat well. Stay Healthy.