Indian Saffron and Rose Yogurt Mousse (Shrikhand)

Saffron_2

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

Ingredients:
Serves 4

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

Garnish:
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.

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26 Comments

  • Elle: Neelam Batra’s cookbook is indeed fantastic. I’ve enjoyed shrikhand many times, but never actually thought to make it myself. However, after reading your description of the saffron blending into they white yoghurt and imagining what a heavenly smell the cardamom and saffron must produce in a coffee grinder I am going to have to try this recipe. Thanks! July 7, 2006 at 7:58am Reply

  • Marina: Oh my…that’s all that I can manage to say as I am busy salivating. :-) July 7, 2006 at 9:14am Reply

  • Ina: V., where do you find the cheesecloth? This sounds delicious. Will definitely make some soon. Thanks for the recipe! July 7, 2006 at 11:49am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elle, the best part is that it is very easy. It really does not take much effort at all, although the incredible results would seem as if it did! July 7, 2006 at 11:49am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, I will not tempt you saying that I had it for breakfast this morning. :) July 7, 2006 at 11:51am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ina, you can find it at Whole Foods. That is where I got mine. Or the section in supermarkets where plastic wrap and such are sold. You can also layer sieve with coffee filters.

    Another idea I have explored, but this time in a much more Eastern European variant. Whip the drained yogurt, add vanilla extract, sugar and plumped dark raisins. July 7, 2006 at 11:54am Reply

  • patchamour: Thank you for the wonderful recipe. We have relatives from India and so enjoy this cuisine especially. My husband loves keer (sp?), so I’m sure he’ll enjoy this as much as I will. Patch July 7, 2006 at 2:06pm Reply

  • mireille: what a wonderful interface of scent and taste … thank you for the recipe! xoxo July 7, 2006 at 1:35pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mireille, thank you. It is one of my favourite summer desserts. Or anytime for that matter. July 7, 2006 at 5:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patchamour, I also love kheer and make it often–with orange blossom water, with rose water, various sweet spices. I would love to try it with jasmine essence, but I have not been able to locate any foodgrade jasmine oil. July 7, 2006 at 5:52pm Reply

  • Anya: I have all these ingredients on hand, so I must make some of this previously-unknown-to-me delight this weekend. Next: must smell the perfume. ;-) Perhaps wear the perfume while eating the shrikhand!

    Victoria, a good quality jasmine absolute would work. It is often used in the food industry, and I, and other perfumers often work with chefs developing recipes including it. July 7, 2006 at 7:26pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, please let me know what you think after you try it!

    I would personally be wary of using jasmine absolute in food, unless what I found is labeled as GRAS (generally recognized as safe). Solvents used for extracting the oil might remain in the finished product, and it is simply not safe to consume it. However, I agree that the food industry uses various absolutes, such as jasmine and osmanthus. I would love to get some food grade osmanthus to experiment. Osmanthus absolute and green tea cake (with apricot topping, perhaps) sounds great. July 7, 2006 at 7:50pm Reply

  • patchamour: Dear Victoria,

    Would you be willing to share your recipe for kheer when you have time? The directions I was given are so extremely complicated; I’m sure there must be a less labor-intensive way to make it.

    Patchamour July 7, 2006 at 8:44pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, hexane is one of the issues, but not the only one. For one thing, not everyone has access to GC/MSs and trustworthy essential oil suppliers. Even cheap essential oils like lavender get adulterated, not to mention highly expensive ones like jasmine and rose.

    Which is why I wanted to emphasize for those who do not have an opportunity to get their oils independently assessed (I also do not have such means) that unless one can get GRAS level essential oils, they should not be used in cooking. July 7, 2006 at 11:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patchamour, I shall try transferring my recipes from my other computer into this one next week. I have a great recipe for kheer that does not take as much effort, but it tastes great. July 7, 2006 at 11:04pm Reply

  • Anya: Dear V, jasmine concrete is made with hexane. It is one of the most volatile substances on earth. The concrete typically has less than 6ppm, and after the absolute is produced by ethanolic extraction, well, further “poof.” Since I always have independent GC/MSs on the absolutes, I know I am using a safe product, especially since the jasmine is further processed in the culinary endeavor, vaporizing off – more “poof”. Hexane is used in the production of many cooking oils, and it actually found in a much higher concentration there!

    Yum! Jasmine dulce de leche! July 7, 2006 at 8:41pm Reply

  • patchamour: Victoria, how kind of you! Mr. Patchamour thanks you especially! July 8, 2006 at 12:03pm Reply

  • Laura: V! I’m going to make this soon—and I’m going to draw it and put it on my blog, too! You’ve always been one of my muses, but today you’ve really done it! July 8, 2006 at 2:36pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patchamour, it is my pleasure to share! I am now browsing through dozens of kheer recipes I have collected. I am getting hungry. July 8, 2006 at 3:17pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, oh, I cannot wait! Being called your muse is a great honour.

    A very nice touch would be to layer the saffron yogurt and a raisin-pistachio mixture in a tall glass. Did I also mention how easy it is to make? :) July 8, 2006 at 3:20pm Reply

  • Anya: OK, I made it. Heavenly, especially with the ripe pineapple I harvested from my garden this morning. Wasn’t sure how to “shred” pistachios, so I just chopped them. Used Greek yoghurt, which is yummy and full fat, and next time I’m going to use some incredible neroli hydrosol I have. July 9, 2006 at 1:34pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, neroli might be a nice touch too. Glad that you enjoyed it. Although I always make it by draining yogurt, now that you mention Greek yogurt, I can see how both can be used interchangeably.

    To shred pistachios, they should be soaked in warm water, skinned and then sliced with a sharp knife. Since they will be soft, they will effortless fall apart into lovely pale green flakes. July 9, 2006 at 9:19pm Reply

  • patchamour: Victoria,
    Just got the ingredients for the shrikhand together and made some today. It’s wonderful, especially in the heat. Very cooling. Thanks again for the recipe. July 13, 2006 at 3:57pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patchamour, oh, great! I am very happy to hear that it came out well. I just love the combination of flavours in this dessert. I could eat it every day and not get tired of it. July 13, 2006 at 4:07pm Reply

  • koneko: hello dear V!
    this is sounds like a wonderful recipe, thank you for sharing! i have some rose water in my kitchen that should really be put to use too!
    hope you are well!
    M July 15, 2006 at 8:58pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear M, hope that all is well with you! I love rose water, and whenever I have a chance to use it, I never miss the opportunity to do so. July 16, 2006 at 5:37pm Reply

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