Thick sweetened curd flavoured with Saffron and Cardamom is a popular dessert offered to the Gods on many festive occasions in India. ‘Shrikhand’, as the dessert is traditionally known, is served in dollops with deep-fried circles of crispy dough or ‘Pooris’. As children, we often snuck in spoonfuls of Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand straight from the fridge until we were caught by a vigilant adult. Although Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand is easily available at local dairies, we still find pleasure in stirring up our own batch of the sweet, just the way the women in our family have always done.
We’ve also made a Rose Flavoured Shrikhand using the thick sweetened curds.
For an easier and quicker dessert, try our Instant Mango Flavoured (Amrakhand) as well.
To make this dessert unique, you can serve it in our easy-to-make almond tart shells.
Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand Recipe
(Makes about 2 cups of Shrikhand)
- 2 cups (500g) full-fat Yogurt
- 6-7 tablespoons Icing Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
- 3 tablespoons Milk
- A generous pinch of Saffron Strands
- 1 teaspoon Nutmeg (Jaiphal) powder
- 8-9 Cardamom (Elaichi) Pods
To make the Strained Yogurt:
Place a large piece of thin cloth (muslin or a handkerchief) over the mouth of a wide bowl. Carefully pour the full-fat yogurt into the bowl, directly on top of the thin cloth. Gather the edges of the cloth together, wrapping the cloth around the curd and gently squeeze to release the whey (liquid) from the curd. Tie the ends of the cloth to a tap or hook and allow the whey to drip out of the curd for at least three hours.
To make the Shrikhand:
In a small bowl, combine the milk and saffron. Heat the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm the milk. The saffron infuses better in the warm milk. Keep the bowl on the kitchen counter for use later.
Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and place them in a mortar and pestle. Add in a tablespoon of icing sugar and grind the seeds to a coarse powder.
After three hours, empty the strained curd or ‘chakka’ into a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to beat the chakka for a few minutes. This helps to get rid of any lumps in the chakka.
Add the rest of the icing sugar, nutmeg powder and cardamom powder to the chakka. Beat well to combine all the ingredients, then add in the saffron-infused milk and continue to stir.
Once the shrikhand is smooth, check for sweetness and add in some more icing sugar if required. Chill the shrikhand in the refrigerator for at least an hour. The Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand can even be filled into our easy-to-make almond tart shells for an exotic dessert.
The curd wrapped in cloth may be left to strain of its whey overnight. This results in a dry, firm ‘chakka’. We prefer it to have a soft and smooth texture and have therefore strained the curd for just three hours instead.
Homemade Shrikhand may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. It’s always best to refrigerate it because the curd component of the dessert might turn sour if the dish is left on the kitchen counter in warm weather.