Craving something sweet? Shrikand is a Gujarati dessert that’s easy to make and seriously delicious – tangy, sweet and creamy with a delicate fragrance of elaichi (cardamom) and zafran (saffron). It’s usually eaten with puffy fried puris – the crisp hot puri is a delicious counterpoint to the luscious shrikand.
Shrikand is a hung curd dessert – you wrap up yoghurt in a cheesecloth and let most of the whey drain out of it. I use homemade yoghurt but a creamy Greek-style yoghurt would also work. If you’re in Pakistan, you can buy yoghurt that’s set in big flat clay pots at your local milk shop but I prefer home-made yoghurt (instructions for homemade yoghurt are at the end of the post).
Shrikand is one of those more-ish desserts that’s always a crowd pleaser. The recipe is very easy but it does need some planning; the actual steps are all very quick but you have to wait in-between the steps. I usually make homemade yoghurt the day before and the wrap it up to drain before I head to bed. The yoghurt needs to drain for at least 5 hours but it’s better if you drain the yoghurt overnight and make the shrikand the next day. Once the whey is drained, you literally need a few spare minutes to whip up a dessert that tastes decadent and indulgent.
Ingredients for Shrikand
Caster Sugar to taste
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
A generous pinch of Saffron
1/2 tbsp milk
muslin or cheesecloth
How to make Shrikand
1. Line a fine sieve with the muslin or cheesecloth. Place the sieve over a deep bowl so that the bottom of the sieve has sufficient space for the whey to drain into. If your sieve touches the bottom of the bowl, your yoghurt will sit in the whey and not drain properly.
2. Put the yoghurt in the cloth and wrap up the yoghurt, squeezing out any excess whey immediately. Leave the wrapped yoghurt in the sieve over the bowl for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight in the fridge. I put another bowl on top to weigh down the yoghurt and help it drain.
3. When the yoghurt is drained and you are ready to make the shrikand, heat half a tablespoon of milk in a small bowl and add a generous pinch of saffron. Let this steep for a few minutes.
4. Unwrap your drained yoghurt – it should be firm and creamy. You can use the watery whey at the bottom of the bowl in daal or soup though to be honest I’ve never tried it.
5. Place the yoghurt, cardamom powder, saffron steeped milk with saffron strands and caster sugar in a bowl and beat together. how much caster sugar you will need depends on how sour your yoghurt is and how sweet you like your shrikand. I tend to start with 3 tablespoons and then add more until I feel it tastes right.
6. Garnish with some saffron strands or cardamom powder. Some people like to add chopped nuts too but we don’t because of allergies. You can also play with flavourings using mango pulp or rosewater instead of saffron and cardamom. Enjoy with hot crisp puris or on its own with a spoon.
How to make homemade yoghurt
1 kilo raw milk (or pasteurised milk that isn’t homogenised)
1 tbsp live yoghurt (you can get this from the milk shop in Pakistan or buy a small pot of live yoghurt if you’re abroad)
1 pinch sugar ( too much sugar with make your yogurt watery)
- Heat the milk to a gentle simmer in a stainless steel saucepan. I let the milk gently simmer. slowly reducing the milk by a quarter because I feel our local milk is too watery but this is your call. In any case make sure you simmer the raw milk (a simmer is 95 C and to kill bacteria the milk must be 72 C for at least 30 seconds) for at least a few minutes to kill any bacteria.
- Switch off the heat and let the milk cool till it’s lukewarm. Make sure it’s not to hot as otherwise the yoghurt won’t set.
- Spread your tablespoon of yoghurt along the bottom of a small glass bowl. Add a pinch of sugar and then your lukewarm milk.
- Leave in a warm place to set. In Karachi I just leave it on the countertop with a net to protect it from insects. If you live in a cold climate you may want to heat your oven to 75 C and then switch it off but leave the light on about 45 mins before you put the yoghurt in to set. Leave the light on when you put the bowl in there for your yoghurt to set. The time required varies depending on how hot the ambient temperature is and how big your bowl is but it should take anywhere between 3 and 5 hours. Your yoghurt will get more tart and more solid the longer you leave it. I like to refrigerate it when it’s just set in the middle so that it retains a creaminess and doesn’t get too sour.