Happy Holi to all my friends who celebrate! The days are finally longer and signs of spring are around the corner—all a sure cause for celebration. For me, that means turning to my favorite springtime recipes to kick off the season. In light of Holi celebrations, I wanted to experiment with a recipe that ticks a lot of boxes for me when it comes to dishes I love. This shrikhand recipe is no-bake (just like my favorite hit recipe, this mango icebox cake), make-ahead, and takes only five ingredients. Yes, you read that right. Essentially, this simple treat has all the makings of an easy and flavor-packed dessert!
Wait, What Is Shrikhand?
Shrikhand is an Indian dessert with roots in Gujarati and Maharashtrian cuisine. It’s made of hung curd, which is strained yogurt with the whey removed. Traditional versions are made with cardamom and saffron, but I’ve seen different takes with rose, fruits, spices, and nuts. I’ve even seen chocolate shrikhand making the rounds on the internet! While I didn’t grow up eating it regularly, I’ve had it many times during gatherings and love its simplicity and flavor. My version might be a little different from others as I’ve layered mine into a parfait. But every person makes their own tweaks and flavor adjustments, so feel free to experiment and customize to your heart’s content.
It’s All About the Yogurt
I grew up in a house where two big tubs of yogurt were always on our weekly grocery list. It was often used to make boondi, kadhi, or my personal favorite, yogurt rice, and even served on its own as a side dish to dinner. Whatever the prep, not a day went by that we weren’t eating yogurt. This also means that I’m used to having lots of leftover yogurt around. As a result, I love getting creative and trying new ways to use it.
First things first: You MUST use full-fat yogurt here. It’s a non-negotiable. If you’re using a plain yogurt, I recommend straining for longer for a thicker result. If you’re using Greek yogurt, while it’s already thick, I strain it overnight to make it even more luscious and creamy. I really lust after the thick and whipped texture that can only be achieved if you’ve strained as much of the liquid out as possible. (And I can’t be the only one who loves their yogurt that way.) You might even be able to get away with using a dairy-free alternative with the same method, though I haven’t tried it myself.
How to Strain the Yogurt
I lay a cheesecloth over a handheld strainer. This makes it easier to set the strainer on top of a large bowl. I then spoon the yogurt into the strainer and cover with the edges of the cheesecloth. I didn’t weight my yogurt down, but you can certainly stack a heavy plate or bowl on top of the yogurt to help press out the liquid. Hetal from Milk and Cardamom has a good visual of the set-up here.
How to Flavor Your Shrikhand
The Sweetener: I prefer using powdered sugar in this recipe, as I find it dissolves easier into the yogurt, though you can use granulated sugar as well. You could also use honey or maple syrup if you wanted, though I find that it sometimes thins the strained yogurt out a bit. Don’t mind it? Don’t worry! Go right ahead with either of these sweeteners. The different versions of shrikhand I’ve tried over the yeas have varied in sweetness levels. I’ve had some that are intensely sweet and others that are barely sweetened. I do like a little bit more sugar in this because I don’t want it to just taste like yogurt. But taste as you go and adjust as you like!
The Spices: I could write a love letter to cardamom. The floral and sweet flavor is the epitome of nostalgia for me. In this recipe, it adds a nice warmth to the flavor while still being subtle. The other star? Saffron. Yes it’s an expensive spice, but a little goes a long way. I have this small jar and find the flavor to be incredible. And yes, if you really want to leave it out, you can. To top everything off, I used some rose petals and biscuits. But you could also use fresh fruits, pistachios, granola, or whatever you prefer. Follow your bliss.
Can I Make This Recipe Ahead of Time?
Yes! You’ll need to plan ahead when it comes to straining the yogurt. But once that’s done, all you have to do is whip everything together in a bowl with a spatula. To store, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. I recommend eating within a few days. That is, of course, if there’s any left over.
- 32 oz plain full fat greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp milk of choice
- big of pinch of saffron
- powdered sugar (I used about 1/2 cup, but add more or less to your taste)
- 10 cardamom pods, crushed
- to assemble: biscuits, rose petals, fruit, nuts
- Strain the yogurt overnight. Set a cheesecloth over a handheld strainer and add the yogurt. Adjust the strainer to sit over a bowl and allow the yogurt to strain overnight to remove extra liquid.
- Assemble. Add the thickened yogurt to a bowl.
- Warm 2 tbsp of milk in a small bowl in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Add the saffron, crushing it between your fingers and into the milk. Allow the saffron to bloom in the milk until it is a deep yellow color.
- Add the saffron milk to the yogurt and stir to combine.
- Add the cardamom and sugar to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust sugar and spices as desired.
- To assemble, layer biscuits and yogurt. Top with desired toppings Enjoy!
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