Typically Indian, the province of Maharashtra could term the Shrikhand as their signature dish.
It is primarily served as a palate cleanser within their "Thali"; a round metal tray with small round dishes filled with an assortment of vegetables, rice, poppadoms, pickles etc. The Shrikhand could well be the comparable to a sorbet between courses. Perhaps to cool off amidst spicy food.
As with everything there are always variations. The Shrikhand which is always yogurt based can be flavoured with a range of cardamom, almonds, vanilla essence, rose water etc.However the authentic ones must have a yellow hue in it with the addition of the wonderful saffron stems.
The Gujarati version is called Amarkhand and has fresh mango pulp added instead.
The sweetness in a Shrikhand is very personal and depends on your own taste buds. Similar to sweetening your cup of tea!. And so this recipe may need sugar adjustments accordingly.
For myself this simple dessert is best left uncomplicated andshould be as sweet as a dessert normally is.
1 ½ kg of thick yogurt also known as Muth-tha. Greek yogurt is an easy substitute.
Alternately, hang 2 1/2 kg of yogurt in a muslin cloth or a cheese cloth and allow it to drip for 1 hour or more to get best results. This will turn the yogurt into the right consistency for this delicious dish. The longer you wait the thicker and heavier it will become as the water content will continue to drip away.
Leaving this in a colander over a pan will be easy to clean up.
In a bowl take the ready muth-tha, a good pinch of salt and add 1 kg of powdered sugar or very fine caster sugar. Gently fold it all in with a spatula. Do not use a beater.
Add to this ½ tsp of roasted and crushed saffron.
Allow to mellow in the fridge, turning it from time to time.Ensure all the saffron colour has been absorbed and the sugar has melted.
Serve it spread in a flat dish sprinkled with chopped pistachios.
Optionally semi freeze it or churn it in an ice cream machine and scoop it like a semi-freddo, topped with pistachios.
Leaving the muslin with the yogurt to hang in a colander placed over a pan will
ease the clean-up.
The richness of the dessert will depend on the creaminess of the yogurt base. Look for the signs for a higher M.F. or milk fat on the container; Greek yogurt generally shows 10%.
Do not use icing sugar. Icing sugar has other additives which can taste chalky.
Be generous with the saffron. The idea of roasting the saffron is to be able to crush it with the back of the spoon. If the box of saffron is stored in the refrigerator, it will be dry.making it crisp enough to crush easily.
Pistachios are an integral part of the taste and texture. It looks particularly striking as well.
For more Parsi Food recipes and its origin click for my cookbook
The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.
Photo credit Sheriar Hirjikaka