Happy Holi to all my friends who celebrate! The last day is getting longer and sign of spring are nearby — all good reasons to celebrate. For me, that means turning to my favorite spring recipes to kick-start the season. To celebrate Holi, I wanted to test out a recipe that does everything for me when it comes to the foods I love. This handmade recipe requires no baking (just like my favorite success recipe, this one mango ice cream cake), do it first, and only need five ingredients. You have read correctly. Basically, this simple dish has all the easy steps and packed desserts full of flavor!
Wait, what is Shrikhand?
Shrikhand is an Indian dessert originating from Gujarati and Maharashtrian cuisine. It is made with hung curd, which is yogurt that has had the whey removed. Traditional versions are made with cardamom and saffron, but I’ve seen different ways with rose, fruit, spices, and nuts. I’ve even seen little chocolate making rings on the internet! Although I didn’t eat it often growing up, I have eaten it many times at gatherings and love its simplicity and taste. My version may be slightly different from others because I have put my layer in a parfait. But each makes their own tweaks and flavor adjustments, so feel free to experiment and customize to your own.
It’s all about yogurt
I grew up in a house where two large cartons of yogurt were always on our weekly grocery list. It is commonly used to make boondi, Kadhior my personal favorite, yogurt rice, and even served separately as a side dish for dinner. No matter what we prepare, not a day goes by that we don’t eat yogurt. This also means I’m used to having lots of leftover yogurt around. Therefore, I love to be creative and try new ways to use it.
First things first: You MUST use full-fat yogurt here. It is not negotiable. If you are using plain yogurt, I recommend steeping longer for thicker results. If you’re using Greek yogurt, once it’s thickened, I brew it overnight to make it richer and richer. I really crave after that thick and whipped texture that can only be achieved if you’ve tried to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. (And I can’t be the only one who loves their yogurt that way.) You can even use a dairy-free alternative with the same method, although I haven’t tried it myself.
How to filter yogurt
I put a cheesecloth over a hand strainer. This makes it easy to place the filter on top of the large bowl. Then I scooped the yogurt into the strainer and covered the edges of the cheesecloth. I don’t dose my yogurt down, but you can certainly place a heavy plate or bowl on top of the yogurt to help push the liquid out. Hetal from Milk and Cardamom has a picture of setting here.
How to flavor your bread
Sweetener: I prefer using powdered sugar in this recipe, as I find it easier to dissolve into the yogurt, although you can also use granulated sugar. You can also use honey or maple syrup if you’d like, although I find that sometimes it thins the yogurt a bit. Would you mind? Do not worry! Let’s continue with one of these sweeteners. The different versions of cold cuts I’ve tried over the years have varying degrees of sweetness. I’ve had some that are intensely sweet and others that are just sweet enough. I like to add a little sugar because I don’t want it to just taste like yogurt. But taste and adjust to your liking!
Spice: I could write a love letter to cardamom. The sweet floral scent is the epitome of nostalgia for me. In this recipe, it adds a pleasantly warm flavor that’s still subtle. That star? Saffron. Yes, it’s an expensive spice, but a little goes a long way. I have this little jar and find great taste. And yes, if you really want to get rid of it, you can. To start things off, I used some rose leaf and cookies. But you can also use fresh fruit, pistachios, chestnuts, or whatever you like. Follow your happiness.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes! You’ll need to plan ahead before straining the yogurt. But once that’s done, all you have to do is use a spoon to mix everything together in the bowl. To preserve, cover with cling film and refrigerate. I recommend eating within a few days. That is, of course, if left over.