Today I will be sharing with you all a yummy dish made from strained yogurt called " Shrikhand" . Yogurt is tied in a fine cotton cloth and hung or left under pressure to drain. Though it a simple recipe, it takes some time to drain the moisture from the yogurt. Water drains off and you are left with the strained yogurt or Chakka. This process takes about 3-4 hours. Strained yogurt or "Chakka" is then sweetened with sugar and flavored with Cardamom, Badam (Almonds), Pista (Pistachios) and Saffron. Poori - Shrikhand is a popular combo belonging to the Maharashtrian cuisine. It is commonly prepared during the festival of Gudi Padwa.
Before , I stare the recipe , I would like to share more information about GUDI PADWA.
Gudi Padwa is celebrated on the first day of "chaitra" month officially marking the beginning of the new year according to the lunisolar hindu calender. Actually Gudi padwa is the marathi name for "Chaitra Shukla Prathipada".In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, this festival is called UGADI . On this day the celebrations begin before sunrise. After taking an early morning oil bath, people worship Lord Brahma . It is believed that Lord Brahma created the universe on this day. When the worship of Lord Brahma is complete, the Gudi is hoisted .
|Image source: Wikipedia|
I grew up in Mumbai and have had a huge Maharashtrian influence in my life. During my childhood days, our immediate neighbors were Maharashtrians and I would spend more than half of my time in their house. It was like a second home to me. I would wake up , brush my teeth and run to their house.. eat my breakfast and lunch there and only come back home in the evening.. I was so pampered by my aunt:) That's when the love for Maharashtrian cusine started. During my college time, my best friend Preeti was again a Maharashtrian .. I would love spending time at her place and her mom was an AWESOME cook too:)...I know I am getting nostalgic but can't help it.. those were some golden days..amazing memories..Lucky me, I have a Maharashtrian neighbor / friend who also happens to be an amazing cook. I was chatting with her a few days back about the delicacies generally made during Gudi Padwa and decided to plan the Gudi padwa meal based on her inputs.. Thanks Rushali so much for that:)
Now lets get back to the main point ..yea the recipe for Shrikhand. As I mentioned in the beginning, its a very simple recipe but time consuming due to the entire process of removing the moisture from the yogurt.
- Thick Yogurt : 4 cups (I have used homemade yogurt made from whole milk. See notes on how to make home made yogurt)
- Sugar : 1/2 cup
- Cardamom seeds / Elaichi : 1/2 tsp
- Almonds / Badam slivers : 3 tsp +little for garnishing
- Pistachios / Pista : 3 tsp + little for garnishing
- Saffron : 1 pinch
- Warm Milk : 2 tbsp
Note: All measurements are based on the US measuring cup and spoon sizes where 1 cup = 235 ml
- Arrange a colander on top of a vessel. Line this colander with a muslin cloth or a fine cotton cloth. Pour the yogurt on the cloth. You can either squeeze this cloth, tie it and then hang for the water to drain or keep a heavy object on top of the cloth so that water drains away due to the pressure from the heavy object. Keep it aside for 3-4 hours.
- After 3-4 hours , most of the water would have separated and you will have a thick dense mass called CHAKKA. Take this in a bowl.
|Check out the water separated from the yogurt.|
- Using a dry grinder, powder the sugar along with the cardamom seeds. Keep it aside.
- Also make a coarse powder of almonds and pistachios. Keep it aside.
- Also soak the saffron in some warm milk.
- Add the powdered sugar + cardamom to the strained yogurt. Also add the coarse powder of almonds and pistachios. Lastly add the saffron soaked in milk.
- Whisk it lightly until everything is well blended.
- Garnish with almond slivers, pistachio bits and saffron strands. Serve chilled with hot fluffy Pooris .
NOTE: I have used thick homemade yogurt in this recipe. I heated 4 cups of whole milk (taken out of the refrigerator) in the microwave for about 9 minutes. Remove and let the milk cool until its lukewarm to touch. Then add 1 tsp of yogurt culture to it and mix. Set it in a warm place for the yogurt to set. If you are staying in a warm place, you can set it as is. But if you staying in cooler regions like me, then you will need to create a warm place . I usually preheat the oven to the minimum temperature (170 F in my case). Once preheated, turn it off and keep the milk (to which the culture has been added) in the oven. This helps to create a warm environment for the yogurt to set.
HAPPY GUDI PADWA and a very HAPPY UGADI!!!