Whenever I reach for Keiko Mecheri Gourmandises, I anticipate the moment when its beautiful saffron laced rose begins to unfold. That aspect of the composition has such a delectable character that I cannot but think of other ways to enjoy it. Indeed, a perfect way to savor the lush, honeyed roses paired with the medicinal, leathery saffron is when they are embroidered upon the creamy canvass of yogurt. The ambrosial quality of shrikhand, an Indian dessert popular in Gujarat and Maharashtra, is addictive. …
The process is fairly simple, although some advanced planning might be required. First, you need to make the yogurt mousse itself, which shall serve as a backdrop for the flavorings you are about to add. Drain plain yogurt overnight in a sieve layered with cheesecloth by refrigerating it. I avoid low-fat yogurt, but if you must use it, be prepared to add more sugar. Wash golden raisins and plump them in warm rose water to cover.
Powder sugar in a coffee grinder with saffron and cardamom seeds. The aroma released during this process is reason enough to undertake making shrikhand. Lightly whip the drained yogurt until it is light and airy and then fold in the sugar mixture. Add 1 tablespoon rosewater and more powdered sugar, if needed. Watching saffron release its vibrant yellow-orange hue into the white of yogurt is my favourite part. Whip for another minute and refrigerate for an hour before serving, garnishing with drained raisins and pistachios.
In Gujarat and Maharashtra, states in the west of India, shrikhand is a frequently encountered specialty, served either as it is in individual clay cups or with sliced fruit. The tart floralcy of pineapple is a wonderful accompaniment to the lactonic acidity of yogurt; however, strawberries, apricots, or raspberries would be great as well. In Amrakhand, shrikhand is mixed with mango pulp. A sprinkle of shredded coconut is also a beautiful garnish.
Shrikhand (Saffron and Rose Yogurt Mousse) Recipe
4 cups plain yogurt (full-fat, if possible)
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon saffron
¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 tablespoon foodgrade rose water + enough to cover raisins
3-4 tablespoon golden raisins
3-4 tablespoons shredded pistachios (not salted)
or see above for other suggestions
Although I received plenty of guidance on how to make shrikhand in India, in specifying quantities for the recipe above, I relied on the wonderful 1,000 Indian Recipes cookbook by Neelam Batra. I have yet to encounter a single recipe from her tome that is less than stellar.