Any Marathi manoos worth his salt loves Shrikhand, that special milk dessert that is eaten for special occasions. This milk dessert, creamy and dreamy with its delicate saffron colour, hints of cardamom and nutmeg is sweet with just that touch of sourness to give it a unique taste. And most people will talk lovingly of the way their granny’s shrikhand used to taste since most mothers these days have resorted to the easy way out of buying one of the millions of ready made Shrikhand available in the market. Amul‘s Shrikhand is very popular but if you want the closest to what your granny made, go for the Chitale Shrikhand.
Shrikhand is made out of hung curd so the whole process is quite laborious. To give you an idea
- 4 hours for the curd to set
- 2 hours for the water/whey to drain
- 2 hours for the sugar to dissolve
- 1 hour for the mixture to be sieved
- 5 minutes for it to be eaten up
So you can imagine why your mother didn’t make it at home! I often used to take the easy way out by buying the ready made Shrikhand from the ever ready Baniya downstairs and then adding my own saffron and powdered cardamom to give it that made at home feel.
Of course the children caught on soon enough especially when they could make out the difference between the one actually made at home and the other one just tweaked at home but when they realised the labour involved in making it, they quite accepted the Shrikhand from the Baniya.
But in case you do want to make it at home, here’s how.
You will need
- 2 litres of pasteurised milk – preferably not from a tetrapak.
- 1 tbspn of curd
- 500 g sugar
- 1/2 tspn powdered cardamom
- a pinch of grated nutmeg
- 3-4 strands of saffron – more if you like it really dark orange.
What you will have to do is set the 2 litres of milk into curd in the regular way. ( Coat a bowl with the curd so that is is spread evenly. Pour in the warmed milk and cover and allow the curd to set)
After the curd is set, pour into a thin, muslin cloth and hang onto a kitchen knob or so that the whey drains out.
Transfer the drained curd into a pot and add the sugar. Stir well, cover and allow the sugar to dissolve.
After the sugar has dissolved either blend with a hand blender ( not in a mixer or food processor as the Shrikhand becomes very runny) or if you really want to do it the traditional way, strain the mixture through a muslin cloth which is spread taut over a bowl. You can do this with a spoon if you want to avoid getting your hands dirty but honestly if you do it by hand, it goes down faster saving you almost 20 minutes.
When the mixture is creamy and well blended add the cardamom, saffron and grated nutmeg. Serve chilled with hot puri.
When I was growing up, Shrikhand was modernised by adding mango pulp or pieces of mango (Amrakhand) while some hostesses added chopped grape/strawberry or any other fruit to make it more exotic. People even added bits of pistachio nuts.
Of course you could try all those variations but give me good old Shrikhand the way my granny made it any day!
Incidentally if you asked my granny how to make it, she start off by saying
First you hang the curd and then………………